Freelancing: the new trend
For SMBs already facing financial and space constraints, freelancers are a great asset. They are typically cheaper, require less paperwork and have a shorter induction period.
It is therefore unsurprising that hiring freelancers is an increasingly common practice, with the freelance market growing all around the world. Elance, the online freelance network site, counts countries such as India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and China among the 10 fastest-growing freelancer countries in the world.
With a host of freelancers to choose from, identifying the best worker is no small feat. Here are some tips:
Scout online marketplaces
The online marketplace is one of the crucial freelancer hubs today, with sites such as Elance offering an ready platform to start searching.
SMBs can scrutinise a wide variety of personnel and choose from the talent available locally, or avail of high-quality temporary workers who are willing to telecommute.
Use intra-organisation channels
SMBs can also look inwards, advertise positions and solicit references from their employees via referrals. Word of mouth is an equally strong channel, which can be leveraged for recruitment of freelancers.
Assign small projects as tests
Sometimes, SMBs filter the mediocre from the exemplary by assigning freelancers a portion of an ongoing project to work on, independently. This is a good way to assess their performance and the quality of work done to ensure those who finally make the cut are up for the job.
Given how recruitment criteria for freelancers differ from those used to hire permanent staff, recruiters representing SMBs may have to organise face-to-face meetings and conference calls to gauge their competencies.
Conduct personality and portfolio checks
When recruiting freelancers, it is important to check their communication level, clarity of thought, approach to work and understanding of the subject matter you need their services for. If the freelancers have worked in the area advertised by the SMBs, then it is not unusual for recruiters to request samples of similar work done previously.
Freelancers can be ‘full-time freelancers’ or ‘temp workers’. They may prefer flexible hours of work as consultants or dedicate all their time to one organisation. Thus, SMBs need to determine the number of man-hours required for the project and check the freelancers’ availability before engaging them.
Pool network databases
Any business event commences with an exchange of business cards, which provides tremendous potential. One of the quickest ways to grow your database of freelancers is to meet them at such events and obtain their contact details.
A good contact management solution also makes it possible to save and share these contacts with others within an organisation, so that everyone has a bigger talent pool to choose from as well.
A sizeable shift seems to be occurring across the world in terms of employer preference for hiring freelancer help. Work smart by looking in the right places for freelancers, and ensuring that the candidate has a solid portfolio and a work schedule that matches your needs.