As more and more talented professionals switch from a 9-to-5 job to working remotely, finding skilled, trustworthy freelancers will increasingly become a convoluted subject both for small businesses and large companies. This article will walk you through a straightforward process that will help you find the right person for the job and do that in the shortest time possible.

  1. Get to know something about the job itself

First things first, you shouldn’t hire blindly. While some may be tempted to think that knowing some basics about the job is a complete waste of time, it’s actually the other way around. Take a couple of hours to familiarize yourself with the job that needs to get done. This way, you’ll know exactly what skills you’re looking for in a freelancer, you’ll be able to ask candidates the right questions, and to have realistic expectations. Moreover, by clearly explaining what the job is all about, you’ll maximize your chances to find a reliable specialist who’s searching himself for a serious employer and will most likely stick around for a long time. At the end of the day, getting a feel for what you’re hiring for takes some extra time and effort, but it’s very rewarding when it comes about finding and hiring a good freelancer.

  1. Use a simple instruction to filter good freelancers from less-than-ideal ones

Get to a freelancing platform such as Toptal, Giggrabbers, or Upwork to post your job. Spell out a detailed description of what the freelancer needs to do and include a simple instruction at the middle of the text. The instruction can look something like start your application with your full name or start your application with the phrase ‘I love coffee.’ This shows that the candidate is reading the full job description and paying attention, not just firing off applications left and right. You want someone who actually read through the information and understood it. This is a very easy way to weed out people who are applying to your job posting without knowing what the project is about. Of course, make sure to keep the instruction as simple as possible; don’t make it a chore.

  1. Set up a paid test assignment

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The next step of your process is to select a handful of people who seem like a good fit and successfully followed the instruction from the previous step and test their skills. For this, you’ll need to allocate a small budget and think of the least amount of work that you can test a candidate’s skills with. Besides the skills, you can see the person’s ability to deliver on time as well as to communicate with you. One thing I need to mention here is that you shouldn’t ask people to do work for free. Always pay for these trial assignments.

  1. Hire two or three freelancers at once

Choose two or three people that did great with the paid test assignment and hire all of them for, let’s say, two weeks. Then, for the first week, give them similar tasks and see how they do. At the end of the two weeks, analyze the results and only take the best person.

  1. Keep the good freelancers around

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Now that you found a great freelancer, make sure that this person is happy to collaborate with you for a long period of time. You need to understand that freelancing, unlike a full-time job, attracts those who value flexibility. Therefore, these people aren’t really big on corporate parties, team buildings, or daily coffee available in the office kitchen. Instead, things like responsiveness and clear communication are highly appreciated by remote workers. When it comes to keeping in touch, answering to questions, offering feedback, and so on, make sure to communicate often and be very responsive. Paying the freelancer on time is another must. Otherwise, they’ll probably don’t want to work with you again. Another way to build trust and retention is through contracts. You should have all your freelancers sign contracts that outline expectations, responsibilities, and shared rights. It’s certainly in the best interest of both parties to create accountability.

Following these steps will help you to filter down freelance candidates and hire in the most efficient way. As a good freelancer can either make or break your business, you need to pay close attention to who you work with. Luckily, this process is quick, uncomplicated, and there are almost no costs involved. Wish you all the best in your freelancer finding and hiring journey!