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12 Tips for Effectively Managing Your Creative Freelancers


Whether you need skills that your in-house team doesn’t have, want to give your clients something fresh, or need an extra pair of hands to manage the workload, having a reliable freelance team can mean the difference between delivering great work quickly and hiding under a desk whenever the CEO rolls by.

Here's 12 tips to help you manage your freelancers with as little stress as possible!

  • Identify a pool of freelancers ahead of time. Don’t wait until a project gets the green-light to start your search. Be prepared by scouting for creative freelancers who are a potential match for your organization and clients ahead of time. We recently launched Talent Pool to make it easier for our clients to stay organized and ditch the cumbersome freelancer spreadsheet.
  • Trust your gut, don’t overlook résumé red flags. If anything stands out on a candidate's résumé (either good or bad), question it during the interview. It’s better to address unknowns before you hire someone, even if it’s for a short period of time. Don’t hesitate to contact references and past employers.
  • Know the talent’s expectations. Creative freelancers often enjoy the freedom to work whenever and however they wish. Either way make sure these preferences get addressed ahead of time. Decide whether you are going to need them for a specific timeframe or if the end is TBD. If they have another in commitment on the horizon, you’ll want to know that. This is your opportunity to be clear about your needs and expectations during the interview process.
  • Interview the talent, not just the agent. You might be working with more than one recruiter or creative agency, but it’s vital to connect with the people who will actually be doing the work—not just the agent. If you’re hiring for a specific project, ask open-ended questions about how he or she would handle a similar assignment.
  • Better yet, get a second opinion. When hiring for a specialized role it often pays to get a second opinion from an expert. In 2012 Vitamin T rolled out an Independent Assessment program, which helps us determine if a candidate’s skills match up with a certain role.
  • Create a solid reporting structure. Your freelancers should know how to contact you and you should set clear reporting guidelines and expectations for how they should complete work. If you allow freelancers to work from home or outside the office, you’ll want to first talk about any potential issues that could come up.
  • Set a clear policy. Create a company policy to ensure your freelancers understand expectations and boundaries. For example, if travel expenses aren’t in your budget, clarify that freelancers aren’t expected to travel for the company.
  • Set strong definitions for the scope of the project. Brief freelancers on projects just as you would your in-house staff. It’s important to define the project clearly and explain the scope of work. Answer initial questions and discuss any loose ends before work begins. If an outside resource isn't entirely clear on their assignments, it going to create headaches for everyone.
  • Check in regularly. Set specific times for check-ins and updates, but if something isn’t going the way you expected, reach out immediately. Nothing is more frustrating to creative employees than having to redo work because they were unclear about your expectations.
  • But let them breathe! Most freelancers relish creative freedom, so try to give them as much space as they require. That doesn’t mean giving them total creative license. Strike a balance between the project requirements and the freedom for your creative freelancers to get work done.
  • Make them part of the team. Your freelancers should always feel welcome and part of the team—even if their roles are temporary. That means making them feel like they’re more than “just contractors." invite them to meetings on their projects and make sure to introduce them to their coworkers like you would any new hire.
  • Be clear about the close of the project. Once the job is over, make sure your freelancers know that they’re no longer needed or—if you think they’d make a great fit in on your team—make them an offer. Either way, make sure there’s absolutely zero ambiguity.

Need help finding great talent? We specialize in digital creatives, personally meeting each one of our candidates face-to-face and conducting hands-on assessments and full portfolio reviews to ensure our talent’s skills are best in class. Fill out our request talent form and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP!

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