How to Recruit and Effectively Work with Freelance Employees

There are many reasons companies turn to freelancers to assist with work. In today’s workforce, a significant portion of employees are freelancers or remote contractors. Some companies have even chosen to forego physical premises altogether and have a fully-remote staff. However, working with remote and freelance employees comes with a different rulebook than working with standard full-time employees, and it is important for staffing agencies and their client companies to understand how to best work with these different types of employees in order to reduce the risk of legal issues and increase the likelihood of an effective, long-term working relationship.

Secure staffing insurance solutions (particularly employment practices liability insurance for those tricky employment-related issues) and learn how to hire a freelancer and make the arrangement work. 

Going Online 

Pretty much all recruitment these days is done online, and recruiting freelancers is no different. Look for professionals online by utilizing: 

  • Freelancing platforms – You can find many talented writing, design and other creative freelancers online. Dedicated platforms allow you to explore freelancers’ profiles and post your projects. They also have rating systems to evaluate professionals based on reviews from previous gigs.
  • Portfolio sites – Portfolio sites provide a glimpse into people’s best work. Post a job, explore profiles and reach out to those interested in freelancing.
  • Social platforms – Platforms like Reddit can be used to describe your project or find people offering their services. Sites like Meetup help discover groups created for freelancers. You could also directly post a job for freelancers on job boards or ad sites, like Craigslist and Indeed.

Evaluating Freelancers

Look for freelancers’ reviews from clients. Find out if any issues have come up. If they have consistently low ratings, consider other freelancers.

Explore the projects they have worked on before. If you are looking for a certain level of expertise or specific skills, choose freelancers who have worked on projects similar to yours.

Consider asking them to work on part of the larger project you’re hiring for, or an independent task. Pilot assignments are very useful!

A face-to-face with freelancers may not always be possible, but try to arrange an online meeting via phone or video. Explain the project in detail and let them ask questions. They should try to understand your requirements and suggest what they need to better complete the project.

Managing Freelancers

With larger-scale or ongoing projects, it’s crucial to know how to manage freelancers properly.

Freelancers commonly have multiple clients so deadlines must be discussed and set to receive work on time. Break large projects up into milestones – manageable sections for which freelancers get a portion of their overall payment. Milestones keep progress on track and help freelancers feel more secure. 

Requirements should be communicated up front, and as clearly as possible. Freelancers should be told how a task fits into a larger project or strategy to they can tailor their work to align with the overall business strategy. Remember: freelancers are not in the office and are not privy to all of the in-person conversations that go on there. They can only know what their employer tells them.

Classifying Freelancers 

Freelancers aren’t bound to one particular employer and work on their own terms with little oversight. To protect the business it’s important to keep this arrangement intact and understand potential issue sources.

 What can ignite legal issues? Here are some of the most common causes

  • Telling freelancers how many hours to work or during which time frame.  
  • Assigning critical tasks. A freelancer’s work should not be an integral part of production processes.
  • You could occasionally check in with your freelancer to receive an update but, avoid asking them to follow specific work methods or report regularly to you.
  • You could either pay by the hour or by output. Paying a flat amount periodically may legally turn your freelancers into employees.
  • Freelancers shouldn’t be economically dependent on you. Don’t give a freelancer so much work that they’re unable to get other clients.

Show Appreciation

With the satisfaction of a freelancer’s work, companies should keep them on their radar. In the future, businesses may want to hire them for another project or even offer them employment. Demonstrate respect for the work done and enhance employer brand by: 

  • Leaving positive reviews on their profiles.
  • Thanking them publicly on social media.
  • Referring them to a partner or affiliated business.
  • Inviting them to celebrate the end of a project they were part of.

About World Wide Specialty Programs

For the last 50 years, World Wide Specialty Programs has dedicated itself to providing the optimal products and solutions for the staffing industry. As the only insurance firm to be an ASA commercial liability partner, we are committed to that partnership and committed to using our knowledge of the industry to provide staffing firms with the best possible coverage. For more information about Staffing Professional Liability Insurance or any other coverage, we have available to protect your staffing business, give us a call at (800) 245-9653 to speak with one of our representatives.