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6 tips to find and retain freelance tech workers

Sarah K. White | Jan. 20, 2017
Once you find reliable freelancers, you won't want to stop there. Follow these five tips to help build and retain a stable of freelance workers.

Stay flexible

Although freelancers appreciate steady, regular work, their schedules can be unpredictable -- and unlike your full-time employees, the chance is higher that they will have to turn down a project. Therefore, Kall says that anytime you have a project, especially if it's last minute, you need to consider a freelancer's changing workload.

"Freelancers are always busy filling their pipeline with project work, so their availability is constantly shifting. Freelancers often switch back to full time employment and stop freelance work altogether. Those shifting resources make it difficult to know the moment to moment availability of our talent pool. Adding someone with the right talent and interest to the pool isn't enough, we've got to maintain awareness of their shifting availability," says Kall.

They often request three-month availability updates from freelancers and also allow freelancers to update their own availability as needed. It's not perfect, but he says it gives a better picture of who is likely to take on a project at that moment. And as backup, Kall ensures that they have more than one freelancer on tap with similar skills, so that if someone is unavailable, someone else with the right skills can jump in.

Don't get comfortable

Once you've established a solid base of freelancers, try not to get too comfortable. "Since people's circumstances change, we must continually evaluate people to add them to our talent pool," says Kall. It's not uncommon for freelancers' work status to change, or there's a chance they signed on for a short-term contract with another client, preventing them from working with you.

Whatever the case, unlike filling an open position for a full-time employee, you shouldn't stop your search for more freelance talent -- you want to overstaff your freelance base. And you might have to get creative in your search -- for example, Kall's company continually attracts new talent by hosting meet ups for local UX designers to get together. It's a great way to provide networking opportunities for freelancers, while also getting a chance to meet future talent.

"In the corporate world, we would hire employees after a tiered but quick process of resume and portfolio review, phone interview, then an all-day interview with a lot of team members. But when building freelancers into the pool it is doing some of those same things, and but also getting to know the freelancer better over time, testing them on small jobs, and then knowing much deeper the value they can deliver before adding them to the pool," he says.

 

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