Simply posting a job online doesn’t guarantee results. This is particularly true when hiring freelancers. Sure, you may get a dozen or so applicants, but quantity doesn’t always equal quality. If your goal is to attract stellar people when you hire online, you must be more strategic in how you position your company and job posting. While my advice focuses on the oDesk platform, much applies to any job posting. Here are four tips to help you find — and hire — the best fit for your position in an online setting.
Would you work for your own company?
Before you can expect to find good freelancers, you need to take an objective look in the mirror. If you’re hiring on oDesk, what does your company profile say about you as a client? Having worked for dozens of clients on oDesk, I can tell you the following information is important to freelancers when they decide whether or not to apply for a job. If your company overlooks even one of these, it may lead to a lower quality pool of candidates.
- oDesk Client Feedback Score – Your score out of 5 stars is of course important, but freelancers also consider the number of reviews.
- Number of Jobs Posted – This is useful information that indicates your experience with hiring on oDesk.
- Total Spent on oDesk – Are you serious about hiring freelancers or not? If you’ve spent $28 and posted 10 jobs, quality freelancers will probably not spend time applying for your job.
- The Basics – Have you taken the time to update your company name, logo, and website so freelancers can learn more about you? If not, don’t expect a great response.
If you’re not hiring on the oDesk platform, how you present your company still matters. Does your business have an online presence? If your business doesn’t, do you? Experienced freelancers will evaluate you as much as you will them.
Does your job posting sound interesting or frightening?
I suggest you put on your best marketing hat when writing your job postings. Be specific in your needs, and don’t be afraid to make the job sound enticing. Freelancers are often open to creative work arrangements, so alluding to some type of hourly rate plus bonus could be a great way to make your job stand out from the rest. This brings up a very important point. Your job posting is truly in competition with thousands of other opportunities; on the oDesk platform alone, there are more than 77,600 job posting as I write this. Good freelancers are in high demand, so it’s important you do everything possible to create interest, drive a sense of urgency, and avoid sounding – well, cheap or worse.
Don’t sit and wait – be proactive!
My theory on online recruiting is this: start by inviting people who appear to be top freelancers in their respective fields. This can be easier to spot on a site like oDesk; as I point out in my training series, it is important to know how to use oDesk filters to drill down to a manageable candidate pool. But a quick Google search can often give you an idea of their online activity through their own websites or social networks. After doing so, I suggest you invite at least 20 or 30 people to interview for your position. If you invite 25 people, I would expect at least five to accept your invitation to interview. You can then supplement this list with any other people who stumble upon your posting and apply. However, in my experience, I almost always hire someone I invited because I know they meet certain basic criteria thanks to oDesk’s filtering tools for clients.
Stay committed & don’t get frustrated
If after doing all of this you still don’t have the perfect contractor, keep in mind that good freelancers are often already busy people. The best and brightest naturally attract clients, so it’s important to be aggressive and keep the recruiting funnel moving forward. Like anything else, the process of recruiting strong freelancers takes continuous refinement and adjustment to meet your organization’s needs.