Choosing the Best Freelancers for Your Team

As every seasoned manager and CEO knows that having the best mix of employees is what paves the way to success in the long run. No matter how good an idea you have, if you do not have the right employees to see it to completion then it is no good.

Many organizations have gone on to hire freelancers. Freelancers enable more diversity and make organizations be more flexible and work 24/7 by combining members from different time-zones. However, hiring freelancers is not without its own challenges. The number one problem of making remote teams comprised of freelancers is that it is very difficult to ensure that the whole team works seamlessly together in the “same” direction, which is making sure that all freelancers are working towards a common goal. In a traditional office setting this is very easy where all team members are in once place and communication is easy but with freelancers, the problem of setting communication channels is quite a challenge. There is also the problem of screening freelancers and developing a way that they would “gel” in with the existing organizational culture. It is very easy to judge freelancers on their technical skills thanks to online portfolios and client reviews but very difficult to get a glance into their personalities because not all past clients respond effectively to email queries.

In hiring freelancers the main advantage a company gains is the flexibility. Also, going the freelancer route gives you more room for trial and error when building the most efficient team. You can hire a freelancer for a specific project and if it works out well you can continue with them or if you do not find them to a be suitable fit then you simply pay for work performed till then and move on to find a better candidate. But how do you decide who to keep and who not to? This is just traditional hiring and the number one criterion here is that you should the traits that make an employee a great one.

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The qualities to look for in a freelancer

How much are they charging?

There are two types of clients, one for who budget is prime, and other who are willing to get quality and are willing to pay good money. So the old adage you get what you pay for holds very true, especially if you are hunting for freelancers on online bidding marketplaces like Upwork.com.  People who usually put in low bids are not a bargain you have hunted but rather someone who is less skilled compared to their counterparts who are charging a lot more.

In short going for the cheapest resource in most cases will result in time and money being wasted. So what you should do is first prepare a budget by researching trends on how much your particular service is available for. And once you have successfully done your research and decided on a budget you should also set a variance, that is how much over and above will you be willing to pay if you potentially find a freelancer that looks like a good fit for the job?

Are they team players?

As any CEO knows that running a successful organization day in day out is a team effort. The better the team, the better will be the results at year end and in the long-term. Freelancing is by its very nature a task-based job. So when incorporating freelancers into an existing team of full-time resources you will have to gauge that they can work as part of an existing team?

For example, you might be thinking of outsourcing app development but keeping the marketing function in-house. That means your marketing people will have to work very closely with the app developers especially in the prototype stage of the app.

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To get an idea of a freelancer's team cohesiveness look at their portfolio to see “breadth” of their projects. The larger the projects and more complex the more communication will be involved. Also to really put the nail in the coffin it would be best to conduct video interviews or one-on-one interviews to get a good handle on their interpersonal skills.

This guest post is courtesy of Rachael Everly.


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