More and more businesses are working with freelancers at home and around the world—relationships that happen entirely online. Communication takes a different skillset when you aren’t working face-to-face, and a big part of that is learning how to vet freelancers and conduct a remote interview.
We’re used to relating to people in person: Facial expressions, body language, tone of voice. So how do you connect with someone when you take one or more of those signals away?
A remote interview isn’t actually the first step in engaging a freelancer. By the time you connect in real time you’ll likely have connected by email, chat, and maybe watched a video or reviewed their portfolio of past work. These initial introductions are, not surprisingly, a critical part of finding the right freelancer for your project.
It all starts with an awesome job post, which should be:
A great job post helps attract great freelancers; it shows you’re serious and thoughtful about what your project needs, which is something in-demand freelancers look for. It also gives freelancers a better understanding of what you’re looking for, so they can provide a more detailed and competitive proposal.
Need help writing a job post for your project? Check out Upwork’s Hiring Guides for some of the most popular skills >>
Before you start the vetting process, know which factors are most important to you for this project. For example:
These details are part of your criteria for selecting top proposals and identifying the freelancer who’s the best match. Consider including them in your job posts so freelancers can identify whether they’ll be a good fit or not.
As proposals start coming in, you should set a short screening process that will help you quickly identify freelancers who will be a potentially good fit.
This might include:
Pro tip: Some clients include a quick screening question or request in their job post as an initial filter; freelancers who don’t respond as part of their proposal don’t make the shortlist.
Pro tip: Many freelancers bring a wealth of experience that isn’t reflected in their work history on Upwork. Upwork profiles included a section for employment history, but previous experience may also be summarized in their overview or reflected in portfolio samples.
Freelancers can showcase some of their best work in their Portfolio. These samples may include information that explains:
Remember: Some skills are easier to convey through portfolios than others. Graphic design and writing samples can be relatively straightforward, while work done on a mobile app is harder to capture.
Consider your skill and project requirements, then narrow the list to your top picks. You want a few freelancers on your shortlist, but ideally no more than four or five. Create an awesome job post that attracts freelancers with the skills you need for your project >>
The interview is an opportunity to move beyond the resume and learn more about the freelancer behind the profile, their approach to your project, the experience they bring to the table, and the logistics of working together.
Start your prep with nine interview questions to find the perfect freelancer online >>
Should you do a face-to-face interview via video or opt for a voice-only chat? That may depend on your preferences as well as technical considerations. Both services are available through Upwork Messages. Voice calls let you focus on what’s being said as well as tone of voice; video calls add many of the cues we watch for when we meet in person.
If you schedule a video interview, take steps to help make sure you conduct it like a pro, such as:
During your conversation, consider how well you both communicate. For example: