Preparing to hire a Freelancer? - Tips to avoid failure.

Updated: May 30, 2020

A lot of people hire freelancers for numerous reasons. It may be you don't have the budget or warranted work load to hire another employee or subcontract to another service contractor / business. What ever your reason is, here are some tips to make the process smoother and increase your chances of success.

Firstly your options:

You can hire a freelancer, like myself via direct contact - but if you do this, remember to check them out first and don't be afraid to ask questions. There are a lot of scammers out there too, so be warned. That's why I have an Australian Business Number (ABN). It means you know I am registered and meet the Australian Business guidelines.

Hire via a alternative site like Fiverr, Upwork, Wanted or Freelancer. I am on Freelancer and I am happy to work through freelancer as well as directly. But what you should know is that these freelancing services sites, will charge a fee, whether it be to post or a percentage of the accepted contract, to both you and the freelancer, and I know Upwork and Freelancer, unless hourly (not fixed) will require payment for the contract upfront upon hiring. But that said, you also have the security of Escrow Protection and you need to approve the freelancers work before they will be paid.

So secondly, what do you need to do.

So many times I have viewed freelancer ads, that have been thrown together and don't give enough information, like the sample below.

It's clear to see that this ad leaves way too much to the imagination and is not only going to put skilled writers off, but also lead to a heap of generic, possibly under qualified applications and hours of needless sorting and communications. So what information should you provide?

For this answer I will base it off this sample ad, adding my own 'information' to fill in the blanks.

Firstly it's a good idea to have a proper job description ready. It doesn't need to be complicated or extensive. As a base here are some good questions to ask yourself are:

  1. What is it, I need?

  2. Is this ongoing?

  3. If applicable, what is the content / blog content?

  4. Am I going to choose the blog topic or let the freelancer choose their own within the needed niche?

  5. What other skill sets should apply?

  6. Is there a certain writing tone I like?

  7. What legal obligations are there? (i.e. Copyright)

Taking all of that in, here is a less problematic way of composing the above ad.

Blogger and content writer wanted for Article / Blog Writing. Our field is engineering and each post will need to be well written in English, SEO friendly and approximately 500 words. This will be ongoing and the articles will need to be original and pass a copyright check. Please see (link to blog) for style and tone. Please provide samples of your work when applying. To make sure you have read this, in entirety please put 'Potato' at the top of your application.

Now, I know the last request in this ad may seem silly, but it's a good way of knowing who has read your job post and who can follow a simple instruction. Usually I automatically decline application that have not put the chosen word as instructed because they've just proven they cannot follow instruction or have a real interest in the job. People who have a real interest will read the whole job posting. You should change this word for every job post.

So what traits should you look for when deciding?

Well if you have already sorted the field by using the word tactic, you should begin to look for the following.

  1. Spelling and Grammar mistakes in their applications and how their application reads. Is the application 'broken English', lacking traditional English structure? Do they read, like they are genuinely interested, or are they appearing to be? If your gut tells you yes, they have Grammar and / or Spelling errors, you know that they do not meet that criteria - especially if requiring articles, content and posts.

  2. Did they rush the application? Is it written in 'short hand'. Although more of a neutral than complete negative, does this imply that the applicant may intend to rush things.

  3. Did they provide samples? If not, did they have a legitimate excuse for not doing so? Some newbie writers will offer to provide you with a free sample - especially if the work is ongoing, so don't dismiss them just yet.

  4. Do they fit to budget? Just remember in the freelance world, sometimes you get what you pay for, so before dismissing on budget alone, it pays to seek out their credentials and view their samples.

  5. Have they been honest? Unfortunately, some freelancers will lie and up sell their skills to get a job. Freelancing is highly competitive. So don't be afraid to question. If they say they've written for Vanity Fair, or another upmarket magazine but they are only charging $10 per 500 word post, their feedback is average and for other work non related to what you need, then there's a high probability they may have exaggerated. It comes down to the old saying; 'If it's sounds to good to be true, it usually is.'

  6. How do they present as a whole? Is there profile well written? What does their photo say about them? Are they well presented?

So in closing, when thinking of outsourcing, don't rush the details. It will save you time and money because you won't need to pay for the job twice or spend fruitless hours sorting applications, that lack the information you require. In my line of work, it's common to find contracts that are a re-do of another freelancer so hopefully my article has helped you avoid that! You will find a job template for posting a job in my free downloads, in the store drop down menu. Thanks for reading this far! I know it was a long one.