How to hire and manage a freelancer for your project

This article is contributed by Barry Huddleston.

Where to look for a freelancer

Finding a good freelancer can be harder than managing the project itself. Some times it’s hard to tell if the freelancer is telling the truth about the experience he or she has. Unless you have a team of programmers and website developers that you know well  or even play golf with then you will need to find one online.freelancer

Hiring through freelancing websites

This is the way that most people prefer to use in getting freelancers. All you need to do is register as a contractor on a freelancing website, post a project and the freelancers will apply for it.

Although this method seems easy, it has many pitfalls. The first is that you can never be sure of the quality of the freelancer you hire. Some people will use fake samples of work done before and false identities to get work. This makes it hard for contractors to achieve quality.

The second pitfall is that there are freelancing networks that are not genuine. You will deposit your money there for projects and end up with low quality or even no work and no money back. To avoid these mishaps, always look for the networks that are strict about freelancer registration. This will help you achieve good quality results on your projects. Below are some added tips to help you find the best candidate for your project.

  • Give a trial or test project to see if the freelancer is all that they claim to be.
  • Ask a friend or another blogger for a referral.
  • A lot of these platforms allow the users to post reviews about the freelancer. It’s good to look through these reviews and see if the freelancer has done some projects like the one you are submitting.
  • oDesk has a skill aptitude test that can be taken and you can see the score of the freelancer you are looking to hire.
  • Communication is key. You can take a little while to find some one for your project. So start some communication with the person you believe is most capable for your project. Ask them questions about the project.  If they seem to give good answers and come up with solutions, they may be a good candidate for the job.
  • The majority of these freelancers live overseas. So it will take a little longer to get the project going. It may take 2-4 days before you even decide to hire the person. then it takes some time to do the project so patience is key.
  • Good English skills.

Hiring through online advertising agents such as Craigslist

This can be a good way to get people to bid on your project, but tends to be a little more risky. For example: I put a post on craigslist a few days ago. I got a few responses and a call from a few. There was one gentlemen that called and we talked for a while. I asked him to email me a resume and some links to some projects that he had done. He ended up calling me up a few days later and said he had almost completed the project. I told him that I never hired him and kindly explained why. Then about 30 min later he calls me up again. So although you can find some good help through Craigslist it’s not the best place to start.

How to explain a project to a freelancer for best results

Most contractors usually make the mistake of assuming there will be telepathy with the freelancer. They therefore leave some general details on the project when submitting it and expect the freelancer to read their mind. Ensure that you tell your freelancer exactly what you want done . Below are some excellent tips to get your project precisely defined. Another way to avoid wrongly done projects is checking the freelancer’s step by step progress. Communicating with them every 24 hrs and checking the progress will achieve best results for you.

  • Depending what you what done, give an outline (step by step) so the freelancer isn’t guessing on how to put it together. They don’t have your vision in their brain until it’s embedded into their thinking. This may take some time on your part and should be done way before you even hire some one. This will save you and the freelancer time.
  • oDesk allows you to check in on the work the free lancer has done. For instance today I got a screen shot of a plugin that I’m having developed. It’s reassuring when you can see actual proof of your project getting done. I don’t know if any of the other freelance platforms carry this option, but you sure could ask for samples of what is getting done.
  • While the work is being done and you get some screen shots or some kind of proof that they are working on the project, ask them to correct the mistakes as they go. You don’t want to pay a huge some of money and find it does not turn out like you want.
  • Be kind to them and compliment the freelancer. If there is a mistake, then ask them to change it but giving feedback that the rest of the work looks fine will reap results. This will give better cooperation if they make another mistake that you want fixed. A person will always deliver a better project when they enjoy doing it.

Keep networking with freelancers

After your project is done and you are happy with the outcome, keep that freelancer’s contact info. Get his or her e-mail address, Skype id, phone number and profile id of the website where you hired him or her. Then save it in a safe place. When it comes time for the next freelance project, it will be way easier to manage if you work with someone you have already worked with. Good luck on your project.

Author Bio: Barry Huddleston has other project advice on his website, antipushbutton.com.

Image Credit: Courtesy of TheSeafarer via Flickr

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2 thoughts on “How to hire and manage a freelancer for your project

  1. I cannot agree more with you on these tips, Barry. This is a good guide on how to manage and hire a freelancer for your project. I also social bookmark it on delicious. A quick tip when hiring a freelancer, don’t just stay focus on one area. It will miss you a great opportunity of hiring a competent freelancer for the job. As an employer you want to hire the best freelancer that you can get, all you need to do is to conduct your search through various channels.

  2. In addition to my post, don’t just stick on oDesk when hiring you can also look on other freelancing sites like Freelancer.com and Staff.com. You can even look on social media (Twitter, Linkedin, etc.). Another good thing to do when working with a freelancer is to give feedback on what is done so that the freelancer will effectively know if he/she is on the right track. There are also online tools that can help you manage freelancers effectively like Google Docs and Skype.

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