Don’t make these mistakes when hiring freelancers. 14.01.2016 : 11:20am
The common pitfalls (that you’re too smart for!)
Because we know you avidly follow our blog (that’s just the type of business and employer you are), we know you’ve checked out one of our latest blogs “Why hiring freelancers is better for business”. And now as a result you’re even more set on freelancers helping to revolutionise your workforce. But (and there’s always a but), we would not be the dutiful people we are if we didn’t go through a few of the potential challenges you may face when hiring freelancers. There’s not many, and they can all be managed, but you need to be aware so you can make sure they don’t happen to you.
Communication breakdown (it’s always the same!)
With remote freelancers you obviously don’t get to see them everyday, in fact you might not get to see them face to face at all if they live elsewhere. And here lies the ability for communication to breakdown.
Our tips to make sure this doesn’t happen is to ensure you regularly keep them engaged and to keep the chatter up. Don’t just leave the talking to only business matters like briefs and invoicing chat - they’re still people and might have something to say on the weather at least. And there’s plenty of ways to do this, what with all this modern-age technology, so there’s no excuse for either of you to go AWOL. Skype calls, a few texts or emails, Slack, Google Chat, and of course some coffee catch-ups go a long way.
Lack of visibility
Freelancers by nature are off roaming. It may only be their living room on the other side of town as opposed to being on the other side of the world, but they don’t sit next to you on a day to day basis. And this is why some employers find it difficult - they simply cannot see or do not know what they are up to.
Flexible working arrangements are more and more common now regardless of being freelance or permanent, so embrace it and don’t feel like just because you can’t see what your freelancers are up to that they’re off working on their tan. Referring back to point number one, keep the comms up. There’s no reason why you still can’t have regular catch-ups or meetings to check on progress and you can also give them milestone dates so you know they are on track with your work. Using cloud software like Trello can also help both parties collaborate on work.
A good freelancer will be snapped up, with their time hogged by a range of clients. Damn them and their sweet, sweet skills! This can get super annoying when you have jobs you need doing and are relying on them. With a bit of forward planning you’ll be right.
Make sure you check in with your freelancers to see their availability both now and in the future (funnily enough we have a handy little tool for that) and try to plan and give them a heads up of when you might need them. That way they can work it into their schedules and everyone will be happy. And if you’re really reliant on them, you could always look at paying them a wee retainer so you know you’ve got their services for a certain amount of time each month.
*PS. Top marks if you spotted the Led Zeppelin reference*