Here are some tips to eliminate some candidates on the spot:
- If the offer is sent only 5 minutes after you post a job. It usually means two things: they copy-pasted their text and probably didn’t even read your job description. And in general, I find difficult to trust people who play that “speed” game too obviously.
- Similar: if the offer is clearly copy-pasted. You can easily sense an advertisement tone from a mile these days. More and more I see job descriptions which end like “Please start your offer with words ‘Star Wars’ (just as an example) to prove that you have actually read this”. That means something — those copy-pasters need some kind of filter.
- If they are selling THEIR services, not solution to YOUR problem. If the offer says hundred words about how great and professional freelancer is but doesn’t say a word about your particular project, again it usually means that they didn’t bother reading it all. Or, worse, they don’t careabout your project — they just care about getting job/money.
- If you get a short answer and non-detailed quote. If you read something like “I can do this job for $500” (whatever the amount is), that means the person didn’t bother to prepare a detailed explanation of why it costs that much or what exactly will be done for this amount. Usually it means they try to save time on preparing the offer. Which often leads to saving time on doing the job as well. Professional candidates tend to send less offers but for jobs they particularly fit for.
Ok, so these are four disqualifiers to take on board. With these you can safely turn down 50% or more of the offers, but there are still a handful of candidates to choose from. Who tend to perform better and how to sense the best of the best?
- Proven track record and past projects. Usually freelance job boards show history of candidates, with ratings, feedback or sometimes even prices of work. Look for five-star reviews and happy clients before you. Now, keep in mind that there are new freelancers who don’t have ratings yet and they MIGHT be a good fit — but then ask them for some testimonials or work examples from outside the job board.
- Understandable language. You would think that for a web-developer perfect English is not really an important thing, right? Wrong. If you are a freelancer, you have to express your thoughts freely and communicate with a client without any barriers. So if you, as a client, sense that their offer lacks clarity of language in the offer, that could be a red flag during project itself. And I’m not talking about grammar, a few typos and missed commas here and there are actually OK, I mean that you have to understand the text easily and don’t have to spend extra time on “translating” it in your mind.
- Right questions and suggestions. If freelancers want to invest their time in your project, they would ask some questions — not only to clarify the task, but to understand the ultimate goal of your business. If you need a website, you actually don’t need a *website*, your goal is probably to sell more stuff, website is just means to do it. Next level — after asking the right questions, a professional would suggest an alternative way to achieve goals or maybe even would offer to withdraw some functionality as unnecessary, therefore saving your time/money.
- Talking about project first and only then about the money. It might sound silly, but money should be the outcome and the reward for the professional work, not the price for the time. So a reliable freelancer would first talk about the project and your goals and only then evaluate the final cost. And be prepared that the first quote might change quite significantly after more details come up.
So here are the tips on how to choose a freelancer from dozens of candidates. Now, second problem is related to actually working with them.