Yes, you are missing something.
Clients nearly always "connect with" freelancers prior to hiring them. Clients have all the opportunity they could possibly want to interview freelancers prior to hiring them. Whether the client posts an open job posting that lets anybody apply to it, or even if a client sets up a private job posting and only invites specific freelancers to apply to the job.
It is technically possible to post jobs and hire freelancers immediately without any interview period or without asking any questions or having any discussion. But that is relatively rare.
Posting a job is NOT the same as hiring a freelancer.
Inviting a freelancer to apply to a job is NOT the same as hiring a freelancer.
Feel free to post any type of job posting you want, whether vague or specific, whether preliminary or finalized, without worrying that doing so requires you to hire anybody.
Posting a job simply provides freelancers and clients an opportunity to talk. It doesn't commit anybody to anything.
@David F wrote:
Am I missing something? How do I contact a freelancer to ask a question or two prior to hiring? Thank you.
You can post a job (private job) and invite your desired freelancer(s) to apply to your job post, so you can start the conversation before going to the final hiring process.