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As an entrepreneur, the key to growth is in finding affordable and creative ways to stay ahead of the competition and in securing the right talent to help you achieve your business goals. With the Internet at your disposal, using it to your advantage to secure top freelance talent can be an effective way to get more done, for less. If you’re looking for the most reliable source for contractors, in any area, Upwork.com is a must-try.
First… What is Upwork?
In a nutshell, Upwork is a website that lets you, as a company, connect with freelancers from all over the world. These remote employees can help you with nearly anything in running your business: from virtual assistance and design, to online marketing, social media management, web development, even accounting. Hands down, Upwork undoubtedly works, so the question now becomes… how you can find the best contractors on it?
#1 Maintain a stellar business reputation.
With outsourcing, it is important to note that hiring a contractor is a business transaction. Just as much as you want to vet them before hiring them, they want to be able to vet your company before accepting an offer to provide their services. Therefore, while these contractors are competing to get hired by the best employers, you are competing with other hiring companies to catch the eye of the best freelancers in the world.
In other words, you have to look attractive to your prospective contractors. Offer competitive rates, sound and look professional, communicate clearly, and be consistent. All of these factors will help you attract the right freelancers to get the job done.
#2 Do your due diligence.
Upwork offers many ways of evaluating a freelancer’s credentials. For example, when trying to determine whether a contractor is a good fit for a certain job of your specialized tasks, you can take a look at their work history and see what their past projects as well as former clients’ ratings of their completed work. For example, if you are looking for a writer with in-depth knowledge about a specific style guide, you can check out their work history to see if they have produced a similar style guide before.
You can also go over test scores, detailed skills, references, and client feedback. Keep in mind, when a new freelancer joins the site, they will not have this information. However, this does not mean they do not have a proven track record of experience. Always ask for portfolios, resumes, and client contact information that you can personally contact for references.
#3 Always take the time to interview.
There is a reason that job interviews are a standard part of office-based hiring. They give you a chance to really gauge how an applicant carries themselves. You can easily spot good and bad signs that can affect any future interaction you may have with the contractor.
For example, whether or not a freelancer calls in on time says a lot about their ability to submit work on time and how they prioritize their obligations to you in general. More importantly, you should be able to spot any fabrication or outright lying in terms of what they “claim” they can produce.
#4 Pay attention to their communication skills.
Communication is very important at work, especially in remote environments, and this does not only mean language proficiency. Sensible contractors proactively update you regarding their work progress and immediately notify you in emergency cases, for example. Good freelancers will also work out alternative options or schedules with you in case your preferred call time is not okay on their end.
Does this contractor respond right away? Do they communicate clearly? Are they respectful and polite in emails? All of these things tell you a lot about how professional a candidate is.
#5 Work with those who show genuine interest in your business.
Good freelancers will do what you ask them to, but the best ones will go beyond that. This matters especially when you are hiring for long-term contracts. You can tell that a contractor is genuinely interested in your business and in making it grow when they ask questions about your goals and not just about the task at hand.
The best contractors will also suggest alternative options and recommendations to help ensure the project is fulfilled to the best of their ability. This shows that they truly want to help you do business in the most efficient manner possible.
#6 Look for contractors who follow through.
Good candidates do more than just submit work on time and maintain communication between work assignment and completion. They also exert effort to follow-through, especially when the contract is a long-term one, by simply checking in to see if you find their work satisfactory.
This also gives you the opportunity to exchange feedback, which is always valued regardless of the length of your project. If you are hiring someone who has never worked for you, try to see if their past employers mention anything about follow through in their feedback. You can also gauge an applicant’s follow-through by offering test projects before engaging them in a longer term relationship.
#7 Keep turnaround short.
As mentioned earlier, hiring companies compete for the best freelancers the same way these contractors compete for jobs. Top-notch workers have a lot on their hands: deadlines with current bosses, interviews, and pending applications, just to name a few. If you slack around, your job post may be pushed to the end of their ever-growing list of to-do’s.
Therefore, make it a point to respond to your applicants in a timely manner. Answer emails or messages right away, especially those asking for clarifications about hours, pay, and other urgent job concerns. Simply put, you have to show your target contractors that you prioritize them to compel them to prioritize you too.
Here’s the Bottomline…
Upwork has transformed businesses in many ways with the efficiency of hiring remote employees, but hiring the right contractors remains a little challenging. However, with these tips in mind, you can easily find good freelancers who will help you not just with your tasks, but also be committed to working with you to grow your company.
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