Hiring freelancers via sites like oDesk and Elance may save your company a lot of money, aggravation, and time. They’re great locations to locate freelancers who do anything from copywriting and marketing to website design and development — and even virtual administrative help. Whether you need a little assistance or a lot of work, one of these websites is likely to have someone who can help you.
Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to go about the recruiting process, you may wind up unwittingly scraping the bottom of the barrel and handing over good money to someone who either doesn’t deliver the goods or, worse, just can’t supply what you’ve asked for.
Every freelancing portal site is built up somewhat differently, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, there are a few underlying characteristics that apply to recruiting on any freelance worker site – so delve in, take notes, and begin growing your virtual worker roster intelligently!
Failure to thoroughly vet applicants
When utilising one of these sites, this is without a doubt the worst hiring blunder you can do. Both oDesk and Elance have tens of thousands of registered freelancers. Unfortunately, there isn’t much prequalification on the sites. There are a variety of exams (most of which are optional) that freelancers may take, but in general, all that is necessary to become a listed freelance professional is a payment account and some very basic online skills.
As a result, the burden of screening job applications lies squarely on your shoulders. The first thing you should look at is the language quality of each applicant’s employment proposal. Because these are transnational platforms, many of the registered freelancers just do not have the grammar abilities in either American or British English to aid you properly.
Then, go back over your comments and check if any of them seem manufactured. A lot of online freelancing workers employ the “buckshot” strategy of applying for projects, which involves blasting off hundreds of prefabricated replies and hoping for a negligible return on investment. However, you want service providers that adjust their services to your demands – which implies they should also tailor their bids.
It’s also critical to glance through your prospects’ resumes. Both of these sites enable freelancers to create profiles that include job histories, portfolios of prior work, reviews from former customers, and other information. Good feedback ratings and excellent samples are two things you should search for. Whether you value expertise or qualification, examine the provider’s profile to determine if they have it before making conclusions about his or her abilities.
Finally, evaluate if you’re working with a single person or a bigger group. Many agency-type organisations operate on these sites and will farm out your tasks to their subordinates, thus subletting the job they were contracted to accomplish for you. While the individual with whom you are communicating may pass your “sniff test,” the person performing the task may not.
Keeping Track of Payments
Elance provides an escrow method to protect your funds. No, oDesk does not. However, you should always consider your own best interests. One of your primary goals should be to negotiate a satisfactory payment arrangement. To begin with, never pay for anything in full up advance! Use a milestone system or an escrow programme to guarantee that your money never leaves your possession until you get anything in return. Some contractors may need an advance payment, but it should never be more than one-half of the overall project cost.
Furthermore, it is critical to keep track of your invoices and payments as if they were done on paper. Using Elance and oDesk to retain all of your data for you (basically in cloud storage) may seem to save you time, but these services seldom interact with tax software and may be “buggy” at times. Maintain your own financial records to protect yourself.
Having a Job Description That Is Too Vague
Your job description is the single most essential factor in attracting qualified contractors to bid on your projects. To pique the attention of high-quality service providers, your descriptions must be as thorough as possible.
Instead of just writing “I need a website developed,” explain the number of pages you need, the length of each page, and whether the listing is for content production, graphic design, coding, or all of the above. Also, offer the contractor a reasonable completion date and, if feasible, present samples of what you want the completed product to look like. The more information you can supply, the better your chances of finding the ideal freelancer for your requirements.
Do not publish the job if you do not yet have all of the information of what you need. Contractors will have cold feet if they engage someone who repeatedly changes the scale of the project – a phenomenon known popularly as “scope creep.”
Using the Same Contractor for Too Long
You could encounter a contractor who meets all of your requirements and with whom you can picture yourself developing a long-term connection. That’s fantastic. But don’t get too comfortable Because there are plenty of fish in the water.
The internet freelancing market is unquestionably a buyer’s market. There are more freelancers than jobs available, thus they are vying for your work. Set up test projects with new providers that are identical to ones you’re already running with your go-to man or gal. You are not required to make the transfer, but by testing the waters, you may discover that someone can do it better or cheaper (or both)!
Dropping the Ball in Communications
Communication is the essential to corporate success, just as it is in the real world. You can’t just hand over your freelancer and expect everything to go well. As a result, it’s critical to establish a two-way communication channel that includes frequent interaction, both coming and departing. This will assist you in keeping your efforts from deviating too far from what you had envisioned when you initially began.
Similarly, it’s generally better to define project milestones such that deliverables are given over in pieces. This enables you to assess the work in bite-sized bits, give input, and make modifications to keep the project on pace.
If you have a task or job function that can be completed online, employing a freelancer will likely save you time and money compared to hiring locally. Outsourcing gives you access to experienced personnel at lower costs than you’d find at local agencies – particularly if specific skills are in great demand in your region.
However, you must exercise caution when employing someone to work for you – whether online or offline. Employing a freelancer requires the same abilities as hiring an employee for your brick-and-mortar store. If things get out of hand, don’t be afraid to pull the plug and locate another service provider before your hopeless project costs you more time and money than it’s worth.