How can you expect to successfully find a freelancer for your project team if you don’t know how to write a great project spec that motivates quality contractors to apply? You need to sell the job to them if you expect “A” grade applicants.
Here are 5 steps you can follow that will create a job spec that ensures you’ll have a few great candidates arrive in your Inbox.
1. Set An Objective
It’s always best to set an objective so the contractor knows what’s expected straight off the bat. Phrases like ” I need a web site that…/ I need a graphic designer who can…/ I need 10 articles that…” are a good starting point.
If you set these expectations you are more likely to get freelancers with experience of achieving the outcomes you mention and you will attract quality suggestions based upon their experience.
2. Give A Specific Job Description
Unless you set the sights of the contractor on the specifics of the task and the desired final outcome rather than just a vague, ill-defined finishing point somewhere in the future, you may attract a lot of freelancers but not necessarily well-qualified for the task at hand. This tends to waste everybody’s time and means you have to sift through many applications.
3. Contextualise The Job
Including reference points and showing examples of web sites where the work will end up lets the contractors know that it is a serious job, gives them an idea of the type of content that you have commissioned before and contextualises everything for them.
4. Give Specific Examples & References
Further contextualization of the job can be provided by giving examples of similar work you like; you can even provide specific screen captures as examples. The more detailed you can make the brief the better the outcome will generally be. Many employers who blame the freelancer for not providing a satisfactory level of work should look at themselves and ask if they communicated what they needed in the brief and went through a good hiring process to get a good fit of freelancer.
5. Use The Self Selection Method
The Self Selection method basically promotes using questions in the job spec to separate the “A” players from those who have come along for the ride.
Those candidates who don’t answer the questions immediately de-select themselves from the hiring process because they have demonstrated that they are not good with following written instructions; the answers you get to the questions can give you good insight into the character of the freelancer and whether they may be a good fit for you.
There is more about the Self Selection method in another blog post.
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There are times that you would know if he is the right person for the job once you get to interview the person. It often happens that you get to see the real person behind those nicely written cover letters/resumes once you get to know what’s on their minds.
Two thumbs up for numbers 3 and 4 (“,) These are very helpful to contractors. When they are given sample works, they get a clear understanding of what’s required of them. Mistakes could be avoided. Much effort and time are saved.
I like the idea of self selection. Most of my peers in the HR field use this method but just never had a name for it. I had one colleague who took it to heart so much that self selection didn’t just involve having questions in the job spec. She was adamant that applicants selected themselves out of the position if they could not manage to come up with a good/ properly written application letter.
Giving work samples also helps the applicant to decide whether to push the application or not, based on their self-assessment. This way, you also help them to understand their main responsibilities and will have an idea if they really want to give this a go.
This works best for ‘visual’ type of people and if the job description has something to do with taking care of layout and design tasks.