There are plenty of reasons to hire a freelancer – flexible resourcing, filling skill gaps, managing budget. One of the biggest is that they can start right now. There’s no lengthy recruitment process, as there can be for permanent employees. Whatever skill set your business is looking for – whether you need a superstar developer to get your next release over the line on time or an experienced consultant to manage a major project – there is a freelancer out there ready to jump straight into the role.    

Make sure you’re getting the full value of this benefit – and give yourself the best chance of hiring a freelancer who’s the perfect fit for you – by creating a simple and streamlined selection process. In this article we’ll share four steps to finding your perfect match in the shortest possible time frame. 

Hiring freelancers: Why efficiency is vital

Imagine you’re a freelancer. Freelancers are self-employed: If they don’t work, they don’t get paid. The nature of freelancing means they can’t afford to wait too long before signing their next contract with a client. And the most experienced and qualified freelancers are in high demand – the best ones will be getting regular proposals for new projects. 

All this means that the best freelancers won’t wait around if the recruitment process drags on for too long. A slow selection process means you risk losing your perfect candidate to another, quicker, client. Once you have made first contact with the freelancer, selection needs to be streamlined: the ideal freelance selection process should last less than a week, from the first contact to the signature of the quote.

“As a freelancer I try to be as available as possible to give the recruiter all the information they need to make a choice,” says UX/UI designer Marie Balsan, a freelancer on Malt. I’ve had recruiters who needed more time, more than two weeks, and unfortunately, I took other propositions. You can’t block your time for them if you’re not sure that you’ll be the one they’ll choose.”

It’s also a question of time management, always a huge consideration for freelancers who work to hourly or daily rates. Elisa Feral, another UX/UI designer on Malt, explains: “The shorter the process, the easier it is for us to organize ourselves. We can’t accept all projects, and if the process is too long, we will accept others in the meantime.”

Four steps to quickly select and hire the right freelancer

None of this means you should skimp on your freelancer selection process. It simply means ensuring you have a clearly outlined plan before starting, so it can be completed within a short timeframe. Follow these steps to get the best person in the shortest time.

1. Define your need

It’s important to be clear on the basics. If you’re not sure exactly what you want to achieve in your business by recruiting this freelancer, you risk blowing out the selection time as both you and they seek to better understand their role in your project. Make sure you’re able to clearly explain and share the project deadlines, deliverables and expectations of the assignment from the beginning.

As digital project manager Mustapha Ghazali, a freelancer on Malt, says, “The only way to have a short selection process is to carefully define your goals for exactly the profile you’re looking for. Answer the questions why, what and how: Why do I need to hire a freelancer now? What do I need to achieve with this hire? How will I get the right person on board?”

2. Search and shortlist

Search is easy on Malt – simply search for the skills you require. You’ll find a range of candidates, with full profiles detailing their qualifications, expertise and experience. You instantly get full visibility on their daily rates and availability. Plus, you can see previous projects they have worked on, and ratings and reviews received by past clients. Reading them will help you assess their expertise and reliability, and whether their style will fit in with your team. 

Create a shortlist of candidates that fit your needs: skills, experience and potential fit, making sure their rate is within your budget. 

For an even more streamlined search, consider Malt Plus – a powerful solution that combines advanced AI and the expertise of our recruitment experts to find and hire the best freelancer for you. 

Making contact with the freelancers on your shortlist via Malt is as easy as sending a project proposal along with a message. Malt recognizes freelancers who respond rapidly – the average response time to project proposals is three hours. Start with a short message to introduce yourself and your project, and if they’re interested, don’t waste any time: the next step is to arrange a video interview.

3. Interview and test

During the interview, aim to evaluate the freelancer’s attention to detail, self-motivation and time management skills. Be clear about deadlines and deliverables, and seek assurance that they can complete the project on time – it’s possible that they’ll be working with other clients while taking on your project. Share details of what you are aiming to achieve with the project you are hiring them for, and make sure they “get it”. What’s their approach to the project and how would they handle any unforeseen bumps in the road? 

Involve relevant managers and operational staff to answer the freelancer’s specific questions, so they’ll be able to visualize the workload and the true nature of the project. They’ll need this information to create an accurate quote for you.

Depending on the size, scope and importance of your project, if you have a few candidates who all seem perfect for the project, consider asking them all to do the same (paid) trial task. The results will give you the additional insight you need to make your selection. Prepare the task in advance of your search so that it doesn’t hold up the process, and don’t go overboard, or you may drive experienced professionals away. It’s important to find the right balance between a thorough screening and a quick, efficient process.

Elisa Feral recounts her experience with one large company: “The process was interminable. There were several interviews, several tests – we had the impression that the client didn’t trust us. This created distance and mistrust – trust is very important in the collaboration with a freelancer.”

4. You’re ready to hire!

Congratulations, you’ve found your perfect match. Accept their quote via Malt and you’re away. To get things off on the right foot, make sure you’re well prepared to welcome them onto the project – start by reading our Complete Guide to Onboarding Freelancers.

Spotlight on Malt Plus

Malt Plus combines the power of advanced artificial intelligence with the knowledge of our freelance recruitment experts to help you source the top freelance talent for your projects every time.

Malt Plus allows both clients and freelancers to speed up key processes around selection, with 95% of our clients obtaining relevant and available freelance applications within 24 hours, without having to spend time searching for them, and at no extra cost. On average, this leads to the start of the assignment within 6 days of the first search.

Read more about Malt Plus