By Alice Berg

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, hiring their first employees can be a challenging undertaking, especially given the resources and technicalities involved. However, the good news is that freelance work currently offers a viable option. Working with freelancers gives entrepreneurs and startups a chance to test the waters before delving into the working waters of full-time hires.

In most cases, when entrepreneurs are starting out, it makes business sense to hire a freelancer to complete tasks, instead of depending on full-time employees. The strategy is not only cheaper, but also demands less on-boarding and less paperwork. In any case, you do not have to purchase the whole cow to get milk.

Startups often lack the resources needed to hire full-time employees due to such costs as payroll taxes, vacation time, and healthcare benefits. Another reason that makes freelancers so attractive is the fact that they are available. While it could take up to months to locate and hire full-time employees, freelancers are often immediately available for hire. Working with the best freelance websites also gives you the invaluable experience and an opportunity to learn from hiring mistakes, which could be costly when working with full-time employees. Freelancers also bring with them a wealth of expertise in an area that may take years to train.

It is important to reiterate, however, that confidentiality and quality issues demand that you pay careful attention to the process of hiring a freelancer. This article takes you through the four main steps to follow when looking to hire qualified and competent freelancers.

1. Create a thorough job description.

There are thousands of professionals providing freelance services, and if you have no idea how to pick the right one, you will not get quality work. When reflecting on which freelance worker to hire, consider personal qualities as well as technical expertise.

However, this cannot be realized without a clear and concise human resources document. This is a document outlining the position(s) that need filling, including the roles and responsibilities of the freelance professionals. For instance, when looking for a designer position, consider at least two years’ experience in contemporary fashion design. Also, indicate any other qualifications you may need from the freelancer.

2. Work with a good human resources advisor.

For entrepreneurs looking to hire a freelancer nbut lacking human resource experience or the budget for a human resources manager, it may be a good idea to reach out to an HR professional within your network to offer guidance. In the event that you confident of your hiring abilities, the research online for articles on hiring freelancers before starting the hiring process.

3. Search for freelancers to hire.

All the preparation in the world will be of no use if you have no idea what, where and how to look for the best remote workers. There are many different strategies you could use to survey the diverse and rich talent pool so as to find the right freelancer. One possible approach is asking within your network for recommendations of qualified and reliable talent. Other alternatives include:

  • Working with a freelance agency
  • Using social sites like LinkedIn
  • And using the best sites to hire freelancers like Freelancer, Guru or Upwork

By checking out job boards and freelance platforms, you will be able to locate thousands of freelancers. Feel free to browse the job profiles of individual profiles of freelancers and contact those who meet your expectations. Alternatively, you could post your job, based on the description, and wait for customers to bid on it. The best option is to use a combination of these strategies to identify the professional with the desired set of skills.

4. Interview, inform and proceed with the paperwork.

When looking to hire freelancers, once you have identified several candidates with the skills and attributes that you prefer, it is time to begin some serious interviews. To make sure that you cover all the essential points in your interview, prepare ahead. Explain to the interviewees your position as a company, and where you are headed. Test the interviewees spontaneously to see whether their portfolios and resumes can be justified.

Based on the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, pick one applicant and ask them to sign a non-disclosure agreement. And, perhaps the best advice, engage a professional if you still have no idea how to hire freelancers.

Photo credit: Human resources illustration from Biscotto87/Shutterstock