The gig economy is thriving. Businesses and individuals alike are discovering the benefits and flexibility that come from working and hiring outside of the traditional 9-to-5 office structure. However, for businesses especially, hiring a freelancer comes with some apprehension.
How do you know if you can trust this person to create quality work? Especially when you haven’t even met them, much less put them through your vigorous interview process.
Here are 6 ways to tell if you’ve hired a high-quality freelancer:
1) Read Their Reviews
94% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase, so if you find a seemingly reliable freelancer, it’s worth your time to explore their portfolio and see what other clients have to say. Here are some tips for what to look for when reading a freelancer’s reviews:
- Look for details about the customer’s experience. You’ll want to try to understand what it was like to work with the individual before you bring them on to your project.
- Look for a mix of positive and negative. Everyone has pros and cons. If someone only has positive traits, this could be a red flag that their reviews are not 100% honest.
- Keep your eyes peeled for details about if the freelancer lived up to what they promised.
2) Check Their Portfolio
A portfolio is a key opportunity for you to get a glimpse at an individual’s quality of work before hiring them. That said, it can be difficult to know exactly what to look for when reviewing their writing samples. Keep the following things in mind and ask yourself these questions when reviewing a freelancer’s portfolio:
- Context is key. Look for descriptions about the work that was delivered.
- Why did they approach the work in that way? What was the strategy behind it?
- Results speak for themselves. Are there details about the project’s outcome and whether it was successful?
- Do they have a variety of clients, exercising different tones of voice and knowledge on several topics?
Your answers and overall thoughts should determine whether or not a freelancer is a good fit for your expectations and projects.
3) Quality of Communication
You probably don’t want to hire a writer whose correspondence with you is riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors. Even if it’s through informal channels like email, this is a red flag. For someone that you may never meet in person, digital interactions are first impressions you shouldn’t ignore.
Also, be mindful of how promptly they respond to your messages. Open and swift communication is vital for a successful partnership with any freelancer.
4) Quality of Clients
High-quality clients lend legitimacy to the freelancer’s services, and seeing several examples that showcase their versatility is a good sign. Another great sign is if there are several projects done for the same client over a period of time. This means that the work continues to be of high enough quality to keep the client happy and ensures that the freelancer is reliable.
5) They Ask Good Questions
On-boarding a freelancer to your project means a fair amount of planning on your part. You’ll typically need a creative brief, editorial guidelines, brand voice, and examples to reference. If you’ve hired a high-quality freelancer, they’ll ask good questions like how often you’d like status updates; what the goals of the project are; and what a successful outcome would be.
A freelancer that remains silent from start to finish may produce a a good submission, but a high-quality freelancer keeps you in the loop and alleviates your concerns during the process.
6) Transparent Pricing
As a client, the worst thing that can happen is a project’s scope wreaking havoc on your budget. If the freelancer works with a fixed pricing model, they should be clear about what exactly they will provide. For example, how many rounds of edits a graphic designer will provide and what exactly will be delivered at the end of the project. Some freelancers also charge by the hour, in which case you’ll want to make sure they keep detailed time sheets for your review or an estimation of how many hours it typically takes them to complete an assignment.
Adding the skills of a freelancer to your workload allows you to expand the knowledge base of your organization without having to hire a full-time employee. These tips will make you feel confident that you’ve hired a high-quality individual and reduce the apprehension you might feel about this new structure of getting things done.