When you need to hire skilled freelancers for the first time it can feel like a baby taking its first steps.   

The choices are so overwhelming that you make many mistakes before even finding a single right fit.

You start thinking that you are the problem or that freelancers are generally unreliable people. 

Sourcing out talent with the top freelancing skills is not easy. But you can minimize the damage by following several simple rules about hiring high performers who can help your company grow and pick up excellent client reviews.   


3 Critical Problems with Hiring Freelancers

When it comes to hiring skilled freelancers, managers face three crucial problems:

  • Have no clue about freelancer rates per skill. Check rates for a specific skill on freelance platforms, and compare rates with the set of skills, experience, and client feedback. Add communication as the fifth metric to rates, skills, experience, and client reviews, and you will get a perspective on how much a project costs. 
  • Don’t trust freelancers’ reliability. Reliability is bidirectional. Be reliable yourself and set clear expectations about what reliability means for your project.   
  • Struggle with identifying talent with relevant expertise. Ask many freelancers the same questions in your call for job proposals. With this approach, you get basic training in the technical skills you may miss or don’t understand enough.  

If you know how to solve rates, reliability, and skills, you are 90% finished with the hiring procedure. 

Getting to hire skilled freelancers doesn’t end up with signing a contract on a freelance platform.

It is how you approach the full freelancer experience that is the dealbreaker.   

Watch the video to learn more about creating a perfect freelancer experience:

How to Hire and Retain the Perfect Freelancers

Once you create a systemic workflow for hiring skilled freelancers, you can re-apply it for every new hire with success. 

Here is what you need:

1. Role clarity.  

Role clarity is most important for hiring skilled freelancers.

Decide exactly what you want. Who are the right people with the right skills? 

Avoid abstract job descriptions with vague criteria. Be specific with a precise description – specify skills, maximum hourly rate or project price, and reaction time. (The last one is crucial when you communicate with a person living abroad in a different time zone).

2. Tweak your hiring marketing strategy.

Take your time to refine what you want.

Advertise your business as an attractive workplace of the future and bring out the benefits of working for your company so that the right freelancers with aligned values and culture find you.   

3. Define how hired freelancers become valuable team members. 

For example: What needs to happen for the freelancer to become a successful team member in three months?

Use best practices and company quality standards, which means you, yourself, need to be strict about the quality you deliver to clients before you ask the same from your team.   

4. Focus on how your business solves problems for clients.

Solving problems for clients is the main thing that keeps a business alive. Then you create teams with clear job roles that work on solving problems.

When you harmonize business, team, and individual freelancer purpose, making money is a side effect of such a strategy.  

Remember: Solving problems for clients is the skeleton of your business. 

Listen to the Virtual Frontier Podcast to learn more:

5. Ask for commitment and reliability.

Define what reliability means for you and ask commitment to your principles of reliability. For example:  “I need you to be available for a chat twice a week. Or: “I need you to develop a contingency strategy for situations you cannnot show up.”

6. Coordinate roles with KPI measurements. 

Use KPIs to measure everything. Create Key Performance Indicators for goals and activities you need feedback on.

For example, measure client satisfaction with the question: How well did we do last month on a scale from 1 to 10? 

The hired freelancer needs to be able to think ahead to contribute to the KPIs. Continue giving feedback considering the measurable results.

7. Create onboarding workflows.

You need two employee onboarding workflows:

  • General workflow on organization level for project management, email, and communication apps 
  • Role workflow to describe what the freelancer needs to do in terms of tasks, goals, and KPIs

8. Use appreciative leadership.

Be a role model for appreciation. Appreciate concrete behaviors, not only the person, to help the freelancer understand where they did well.

Being appreciative is a business culture challenge. Businesses are about solving problems and if you focus on problems you don’t notice what’s going well.

Don’t let problems overwhelm you. This is the so-called “attitude of gratitude” and an important leadership skill you need to have on your repertoire.

9. Collect feedback.

Be transparent in communication. Collect feedback in a structured way with concrete questions. For example, use a bot that collects weekly feedback on the team performance.

10. Encourage a culture of knowledge sharing.

  • Organize your freelance virtual team with structured communication in an asynchronous channel.
  • Decide which information should be shared and to whom.
  • Stop oversharing.
  • Decrease information overload to avoid digital exhaustion.

Are you ready to create a 100% virtual nomad company that feels like working with adult, determined, and self-reliant people?

Hire skilled freelancers aligned with your values.

build your freelance team


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