Hiring a contractor or freelancer: tips for success

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Month-by-month, we see an increasing number of talented digital people move over to the world of freelancing or contracting. But with so many businesses only set up for permanent employment models, what factors do they need to consider before taking on a contractor or freelancer?

1. Write a detailed brief

Before you start a project, I think it’s really important to lay out what you want your contractor to get done. Get specific about what you want to achieve by the end of the project. Whether you’re hiring your own freelancer/contractor or going through a specialist recruitment agency, being able to clearly communicate what you want is key.

2. Portfolio, portfolio, portfolio

At the danger of sounding like David Brent, they might talk the talk, but do they walk the walk? Hiring a freelancer without some proof they can do the job would be a massive risk. I would make a freelancer’s ability to showcase their talents the most important factor when narrowing your search. An experienced professional would put their best foot forward and present the most relevant examples (without you needing to ask). That said, if you feel you need to see a little more, don’t be afraid to ask.

3. You get what you pay for

It’s always tempting to go for the cheapest option – particularly when budgets are tight. But when this means the difference between a project being completed successfully or poorly, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. My advice? Choose the very best option you can afford.

4. Don’t forget about cultural fit

Just because a member of staff is only going to be with you for a few months, it’s still really important to make sure they fit in with the rest of your team. An ill-fitting hire (no matter how talented they are) can be a real drain on everyone else in the business – nobody wants an obnoxious desk buddy. And in my experience, projects so often extend – you may just need that contractor for longer than you think.

5. Agree a clear path forward

Once you’ve figured out who to hire, the next step is to reiterate your expectations. A lot of these may have been covered off in your brief, but by being super organised and giving your new hire a crystal clear framework for delivery, success is likely.  Get your timelines and deliverables on the table on day one.

If you’re considering hiring a digital contractor and freelancer for the first time and you don’t have the internal resource available to take care of the above, you can contact our team at Digital Gurus who will be able to help you.

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