Freelancers are often the best option for a business that needs certain skillsets from time to time, but not often enough to justify the cost of a permanent employee. If you are looking for a freelancer with a particular skillset, an online advertisement is often the easiest and most effective way to get what you need.
However, a poor advertisement can mean not getting the kind or quality of applicants that you want. Follow these tips to ensure your advertisement is fit for purpose.
Make Filtering Easy
Oftentimes an online advertisement can receive insanely high numbers of applications in a very short time. Sorting through all of these can be very time and effort intensive.
One way to immediately cull applications is to ignore those that have not read the advertisement carefully. This is easy to accomplish by setting up a filter.
Use a separate email account for your advertisement and at the end of your text, ask that applicants use a particular phrase in the subject line of their email. Set up a filter that send those emails to another folder and only look at the applications that have followed the instructions – you can safely ignore the others, as those who simply skim advertisements and apply without checking they have met the criteria are probably not those you want to work with.
Give Detailed Information
The last thing you want is applications from freelancers who do not have the skills you need or a deluge of questions asking for more information. For example, a writing job should include the topic area or you could get a bunch of applications with samples of medical articles when you want product descriptions for cuff links.
The more detailed and comprehensive your advertisement, the easier it is for unqualified freelancers to realize the job is not for them. However, it is important not to hamstring yourself by being overly picky. You may get better applicants by detailing what it is you want them to be able to accomplish rather than what qualifications or years of experience you wish them to have.
Asking for Samples
It is generally a standard practice to ask freelancers to show a sample or two of their previous work. However, you should be careful about asking for new work to be done in order to apply.
Many experienced and talented freelancers simply will not complete an unpaid sample, feeling their previous work and portfolio should be enough – after all, some unscrupulous people ask for ‘samples’ and then simply use the work without hiring anyone!
Setting Rates and Budgets
Some advertisements offer a budget or rate they are willing to pay, while others simply ask applicants to provide their rates. This is going to be a judgment call on your part, as either approach could turn off applicants. If you find you are not getting enough applications, it may be that you need to alter your approach.