Hiring Freelancers – A Complete Guide to Finding the Best People

Capable employees can be difficult to find – especially given the worker shortage that experts say has become the new norm. Almost 40% of small and mid-sized Canadian businesses say they’re having trouble hiring the types of workers they need. So it’s hardly surprising that many companies turn to outsourcing for short-term and intermittent projects. Hiring freelancers has many benefits to offer your business. But how do you find the best people?

Why You Should Hire More Freelancers

Growing companies need talented people. But permanent employees – even if you can find the right ones – come with a hefty price tag. Many smaller companies can’t afford the high cost of supporting a full-time staff.

Fortunately, freelancer workers not only offer the same expertise as regular employees, they can be engaged on an as-needed basis. Here are some of the many advantages of working with freelance professionals:

  • They help fill any gaps your business may be experiencing in terms of skill set, manpower, or workload.
  • Because most work remotely, there’s a vast pool of talented individuals to draw from.
  • Outsourced work often gets completed faster since freelancers have the freedom to focus on your project, and the flexibility to work unconventional hours.
  • By outsourcing, you gain more control over your budget and can scale up or down as required.
  • Working with freelancers frees up time that can be dedicated to other areas of your business.

Outsourcing temporary projects or support work ultimately gives you access to a wide range of people and skills without the full-time financial commitment.

How to Get Started Outsourcing

Before you start your freelancer search, you should take some time to identify areas of your business that would benefit from outsourcing. Freelance assignments might include:

  • Designing or maintaining your website,
  • Writing content or overseeing social media communications,
  • Managing marketing campaigns,
  • Performing bookkeeping or accounting duties,
  • Creating business presentations or scheduling meetings

You’ll also need to figure out the competencies required for specific tasks, and how much you’re willing to pay.

Once you’ve tracked down the best candidates for your project, you should interview them – just as you would a full-time hire. It’s also worth gauging a potential freelancer’s fit with a shorter, trial assignment before hiring them for longer engagements.

Where to Find Talented People

There are three main ways to find freelancers: you can probe your professional networks, ask for recommendations from people you know, or take advantage of the many online platforms geared toward connecting clients with talented outworkers.

Freelancer websites make it easy to find people with exactly the skill set you need. Most feature profiles that clearly outline freelancer resumes, rates, and reviews, and will let you post projects and solicit job bids. Some sites even facilitate freelancer contracts, monitor job progress, and oversee payment transfers.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular places to find freelancers online:

  1. Upwork, Toptal, and Freelancer.com – Whether you need an experienced writer, software designer, marketer, or project manager, you’ll find them – and more – on dedicated platforms like these.
  2. Canadian Virtual Gurus – Keen to support Canadian freelancers? This Alberta-based organization specializes in virtual assistants for any size business.
  3. Indeed.ca and Craigslist – Don’t overlook the potential of job search and classified ad sites for connecting with qualified freelancers.
  4. LinkedIn ProFinder – This unique section of LinkedIn’s platform has been specifically designed to help you find top local freelance personnel.
  5. Industry-Specific Sites – Sites that cater to remote workers (like FlexJobs, for example) or to industry specialists can yield valuable freelancer contacts.

Now that you’ve found the best people to work with, make sure it’s a win for everyone by using contracts that clearly outline the services and rates agreed to. You should also try to limit the amount of confidential information you share, and have freelancers sign a privacy agreement if and when it’s appropriate.