It’s usually pretty easy to spot someone who isn’t a good match for your business or project, but separating the good freelancers from the great—and ultimately selecting the best one for your project—takes careful consideration.
The interview stands as the single most important stage when considering an independent contractor. Their proposal should explain the basics: a brief introduction, how their experience fits your project, and an overview of how they’ll approach the work. But it’s the interview that brings that introduction to the next level. It’s a chance for both of you to speak candidly and see how well you’re able to communicate; you can learn as much from what someone says as how they say it.
From the project to the freelancer’s experience to their work habits, here are nine questions you may want to consider asking during your next interview.
If you have a tight timeline, you need to know right away whether the freelancer has a conflict. Most freelancers often manage multiple projects; this doesn’t mean they aren’t the right fit for your project, but it does mean that they need to be able to balance your project against the needs of their other clients.
If you’ve written a good job post, and if they’ve responded with a thoughtful proposal, these core skills may have already been identified.
An experienced professional should be able to share samples of their work or tell you about projects they’ve worked on. Use your best judgement about this based on how they’ve represented themselves: Some types of work aren’t always public or easily shared, for example, and someone with years of experience may not have a big portfolio if they’ve recently made the move to self employment.
Different people thrive in different situations. What elements of this recent project helped them excel, and what can you do to replicate them?
Many freelancers, like those who work on the Upwork platform, have testimonials and client feedback they can share with you.
Not all freelancers are available on a full-time basis, and if this hasn’t already been discussed, it’s important for you to know their availability. Many people have successful freelance businesses in addition to other employment, and you should feel comfortable that your expectations will still be met.
This question is less about specific tasks and more about how they approach and prioritize the work.
Everyone has a different approach to getting work done, particularly when you aren’t working face-to-face. Are your priorities in sync?
This is a standard way to close an interview, giving the contractor the opportunity to ask any questions you haven’t covered.
One last tip: Try to conduct your interviews via video conference, using a tool like Google Hangouts. While these nine questions can help move the conversation beyond surface details, seeing each other face-to-face will make it easier to connect with the candidate and see what it might be like to work with them.