You’ve been tasked with a project in unfamiliar territory, and given a budget to bring in some hired guns: freelancers. But can you predict if the freelancer will be reliable? Can they adapt? Do they ‘get it’?
Here’s five key questions that make sure you hire the right freelancer for the job:
1. Test Timeliness
A flaw with some freelance hire’s I’ve worked with has been sending timely responses and updates. Further, you need to establish expectations as to what ‘timely’ means up front, and see if they can stick to it. A simple test?
Ask them to call at an odd time. Literally.
By requesting a conference call at, for example, 4:35p Tuesday, you’ve applied subtext that time is important and precise in nature to you, without giving away that it’s a test.
2. Give Them a Test Project
Why should hiring a freelancer be different from any other job interview? Set up a test project in proportion to the job itself with set deadlines, and an opportunity for the freelancer to think outside the box.
For example: if I’m hiring a videographer to record a series of interviews, I could ask them to tell me why they’re a good fit for the job by filming their answer in under 60 seconds and submitting it to me in 3 days.
3. Paint the Picture
Making sure you’re on the same page from the start is key – and a great way to get a sense of where they stand is to ask exactly how they would do it. Ask for specific details. Learn the range of options they can offer, what they would pick for your situation, and why. See if their vision matches yours.
4. Ask ‘What If…’
Invariably something will happen on any project, and effective problem solving is a standard any freelancer worth his or her salt can rally behind.
Ask them what happens if something runs late. If someone doesn’t show up. If they miss something. Their answers will reveal not only their ability to think on their feet, but their character.
5. See If They Listen
I’m not talking about repeating words verbatim: I’m talking about subtext. Do they ask you questions about your needs? Are they able to catch snags in your plan, point them out and suggest solutions ahead of time? Or are they only focused on giving you what you want to hear – not necessarily what you need.
Good questions represent great freelancers.