Many businesses today rely on a combination of in-house talent and freelancers or contract employees to fill resource gaps and provide additional support when needed. Contractors and freelancers can bring specialised skills to the table and jump in at a moment’s notice to kickstart or keep the ball rolling on important projects.

However, the success of any contracting or freelancing arrangement largely depends on choosing the right person for the job. So what should you look for in a temp worker? 

Referrals and recommendations

Firstly and perhaps most importantly, any contractor or freelancer worth their salt will have referrals from previous employers or clients. You can ask for referrals directly as part of the screening process or review their profile on LinkedIn, Upwork, Fiverr or elsewhere to check their reviews and recommendations. 

Ideally, your prospective contract employee or freelancer should have referrals from businesses in your industry or from other reputable clients.

Transferable skills

Whatever capacity you’re looking to hire a contractor in, look for someone who has relevant transferable skills and attributes. These include:

  • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively
  • Proactive
  • Eagerness to learn
  • Collaborative
  • Self-motivated
  • Attention to detail
  • Flexible
  • Responds well to direction

Even if you can’t find someone with the exact experience you’re looking for, a contractor or freelancer with these core skills will quickly be able to pick up the task at hand and excel at their duties.

RELATED: Checklist: Is contracting right for your business?

Repeat clients

While referrals and recommendations are important, the reality is they can be manufactured and don’t always tell the full story. High-quality freelancers or contractors will often have a number of repeat clients, which is a reliable indicator of competence. 

The exact number of repeat clients a contractor should have depends on the type of work they do and the industry they work in. As a general rule of thumb, look for contractors who have worked with clients or businesses long term or on multiple jobs.

Openness to feedback

Reliable contractors and freelancers actively invite feedback and are comfortable receiving constructive criticism. While they may be skilled at what they do, they should be able to work to a brief and accept suggestions for improvement. Being open to feedback also demonstrates that a contractor or freelancer can work well collaboratively.

RELATED: Contracting FAQs for employers

They stick to deadlines

Regardless of why you’re hiring a freelancer or contractor, they must be sensitive to time constraints and able to meet deadlines. Consider running a trial task with prospective individuals to confirm they can deliver on schedule. Be clear in your communication around due dates, how many hours or days per week you expect them to work on your project and how work should be delivered.

Are you looking for interim support for your business? Michael Page has pre-qualified, specialised contractors and freelancers ready to step in immediately. Contact us today to connect with the top contractors in your industry

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