Five traits to look for when hiring a freelancer

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The gig economy has lured some of the most talented personnel into embarking on a freelance career. Several websites today connect quality freelancers to potential clients. Zeroing in on the perfect fit for your project however can prove daunting, especially when your query attracts hundreds of proposals and you’ve never worn an HR hat.

While several companies use a bidding system to make the process easier, judging whether the bid correlates with the quality of the freelancer can still prove difficult. A good way to work around this would be to organize a contest for those who want to work on your project or to venture into a pilot project with a few of the more promising ones. To hire quality freelancers for your business, keep an eye out for these five traits:

1. Attention to detail

Most freelancers put their best foot forward during an interaction with a potential client. The quality of the freelancer’s profile and proposal could be an effective indicator of his/her attitude towards work. Formatting issues, grammatical errors and disconnected thoughts could indicate a personality who is careless and inattentive to details.

2. Steady work history

Some freelancers may be proficient at their work but lack the skills to present their thoughts effectively. While good communication skills would be an absolute requirement for a marketing or communications project, it may not be that one non-negotiable trait on a technical project. In such cases, looking through the freelancer’s portfolio will give you an idea about his/her suitability for the project at hand. The brands they’ve been associated with either as freelancers or on a full-time job, the testimonials they’ve received and the quality of work they’ve delivered on previous jobs can sometimes speak louder than profiles that make tall claims.

3. Willingness to learn

Seek ways to interact with the freelancer before you bring him on board. Working on a pilot project for instance can help you pick up clues about their attitude to feedback. While some freelancers definitely have subject matter expertise and are possibly more qualified than you, humility and willingness to learn are great assets. Every project is unique and a freelancer who comes with a know-it-all attitude could prove resistant to your requirements and recommendations.

4. Flexibility

Experienced freelancers usually make it a point to get a complete brief from the client before they begin work. While it is good to agree upon the deliverables beforehand, new demands or unexpected changes can often crop up during the course of a project. It is therefore advisable to find quality freelancers who have the bandwidth to absorb such challenges.

5. Independent workers

Quality freelancers require minimal hand holding on the job. They know what is expected of them and work proactively towards meeting deadlines. They require minimal oversight from your end. They are also quick to absorb the culture of your company and can establish good working relationships with your POCs.

Have you worked with a freelancer who has had these traits? What was the experience like? Add your thoughts here.

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