Hiring for any project always has its challenges, finding exactly the right freelancers on the days you need them for the rate you can afford can sometimes be very tricky. All that alongside other commitments, you need to find freelancers that match your criteria quickly, often these are new people that you’ve never worked with before.
On my latest project, out of the small 11 person crew, most of the people I had worked with before, however, we had a gap in the sound, production and art department.
Where did I turn? Well, my own startup (why create something if you’re not going to use yourself), Rightlance.
First off, I created a project to manage the crew, I then created the roles I needed to hire for and sent out some external links on social media, within a few days I had received over 150 applicants. Rightlance categorises and recommends the best; those 150 had been narrowed down to 25 and all I had to do was have a quick conversation after looking at what they had to offer and I knew the right people to hire.
How did I know what I was looking for in the freelancers I hired? For me, it comes down to two core traits, technical ability and character.
This is a fairly easy one to assess — you should look at a freelancers portfolio, skills and credits/experience to gauge their level of technical ability. It is important to be a little bit of a detective and try to asses exactly what they did on the project. A few messages or a quick phone call to them will help you understand their level of expertise, ask a few questions and see what they come back to you with.
Another important aspect of technical ability is their process. Freelancers who are competent in their work will often have a fairly good process of working and be confident to speak out about it. Now it doesn’t have to be exactly the same as your process or even a process that you’re used to, but it needs to show that they are taking a considered, practical approach to the work they are doing.
This is one that’s a little more tricky — even though it doesn’t have to be. Their character is more intricate, as you can’t fully judge someone’s character until you see how they react over a number of different situations and environments. However, there are indicators that can give clues to who a freelancer is and what they are like to work with.
- Interpersonal Skills. Based on the Sociological theory of Symbolic Interactionism, you can begin to look at the details of interpersonal interaction to assess what motivates someone to act, behave or speak a certain way, which can give you a clue to their background, ideologies and behaviour. Be on the lookout for small things; how do they greet you? How do they sign off emails? Are they open and engaging or drawn back and closed off? When they answer the phone, what’s the first thing they say? Do they ask you how you are? Do they offer more to the project than what you’re potentially hiring them to do? Are they confident or shy? There’s not really a right or wrong answer to any of these questions, but thinking about them will help you assess their character enough to make a hiring decision.
- Presentation. This appears in the form of their website, social media and in the copy they write about themselves. Is their website well designed, does it have all the important information? How do they talk about themselves — do they sound arrogant or humble? It’s always interesting to compare and contrast a few of these. Also, have a look at the way freelancers you currently work with present themselves, you can learn quite a bit by what they do.
That’s it really — technical ability & character, it’s all I look for when hiring freelancers. It’s amazing the amount of information you can gather in a short space of time by watching out for these few factors.