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What do you look for when hiring a freelancer?

How do you find the perfect freelancer? When hiring what is important to you? Do you consider past experience, subject matter expertise, reviews, etc?


Recently, Upwork interviewed Holly Cardew, founder and CEO of Pixc on what she felt is important when hiring a freelancer on Upwork.



Share your thoughts and feedback below.


Interesting point of views, especially the lady who looks for an entrepreneurial mindset.


I have to admit that JSS is one of my filters. It is not really a deal breaker is someone has a, say 85% JSS, since sometimes at looking at their profile you manage to find out what happened. One or two sh***y feedbacks may happen, and the text feedback may sometimes reveal that the client was a PITA more than anything else.


However, sometimes the profile and the low JSS are consistent, and in this case, the JSS is a very valid indicator.


Then, it's the cover letter, a deal breaker or a deal maker.


Finally the profile. Check for stolen content. One stolen piece and the applicant is out.

"Where darkness shines like dazzling light"   —William Ashbless

I hire quite a few freelancers for my clients and this is what I scorecard:





If indicated in the job type, a strong portfolio is a huge benefit to the freelancer.  I hire many writers and graphics people and, more than a few times, a strong portfolio is what has put them into the role.


Demonstrated Experience


Typically, if a freelancer has the expertise we need, it's evident in either the jobs they've already had on the platform, within their portfolio, or both.  




We don't ever pay anything but profile rate and we're not averse to paying top dollar for high quality work. However, we do include the rate in the scorecarding to get an idea of the range between freelancers.  Again, lowest rate rarely makes a dent in the decision making.




A lower JSS doesn't disqualify a freelancer immediately.  I have found that I only begin seeing degradation in quality at about 80% so anything above that keeps the freelancer in play.  However, feedback is important. If a freelancer has one or two poor feedback entries, that's not usually a problem.  If, however, there is a pattern of low feedback, particularly pertaining to timelines or quality, that's a problem.


We tend to take a pretty holistic approach.  Those four categories drive our hires, but personality plays a big role. Since the majority of our jobs are long-term, it's important that there is a good fit with the team. 


As a translation client my first priority is always their language expertise - they *must* be native speakers of the language they are translating into. I don't want native English speakers who studied Language X at university and spent 2 years in Country X as an English teacher or whatever. You'd be surprised (or maybe not) how many of those people are around...


Assuming that the person really is a native speaker of the language I'm looking for, I'm a bit of a "gut feel" client. I'm open to hiring freelancers new to Upwork (with or without Rising Talent), and people with a less-than-perfect JSS - although, like Rene, if their JSS is lower than around 85% I always need to take a look at their reviews to try to see why. So I don't require excellent JSS. But I do "trust my gut" to determine if they seem trustworthy and enthusiastic.


What I do require is an excellent profile and good cover letter. I want to be able to see how the freelancer presents themselves, what they say their key skills are, and how they think they can help me with the job I have on offer. The profile in particular should be really high quality - this is something they should have taken time to craft and perfect. I give them a bit more slack on the cover letter because I understand they might be rushing to get it in before the flood of spammy applications, but I still expect it to be good quality. The cover letter also needs to be tailored to my job - if its boilerplate and just rehashing their profile, they'll slide down the list.


Like the last person in the video, I also prefer if the freelancer's *primary* skill is translation. If they're a web developer who also offers translation because they can speak another language than English, I'm not going to be as interested in them. Just being fluent in another language doesn't mean you can master it to write natural-sounding translation, just like being fluent in English doesn't mean you can write English web articles etc. Qualifications or experience as a  translator is also a plus.