10 Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Remote Freelancer [CHECKLIST]

April 2021

In the last 12 months, our agency has worked with more than 50 freelancers. Fifty. And we found almost all of them unsuitable for the job. 

Going through dozens of freelancer test projects and assignments to find someone who can meet our expectations was time-consuming, costly, and exhausting. We want to save you that hassle, so based on our experience, we made this quick checklist for anyone who wants to hire a remote freelancer or become one.

1. Responsiveness

Since our agency works entirely remotely, communication and responsiveness are key in keeping the projects on track. When a freelancer should be available but suddenly doesn’t respond to our emails, chat messages, calls, texts... (type any channel here), we usually call it quits on such cooperation. 

Everyone is entitled to take a break from work now and then (and we encourage you to do this often!). But we would appreciate at least a few days’ notice when a person knows they won’t be available to take on new project work.

2. Effective written communication

In an asynchronous remote work setting, most communication is via written media. That’s why the ability to convey a message quickly is essential. We document all project tasks on Asana and attach screenshots and images where necessary to eliminate needless meetings and improve the communication flow. 

We are happy to discuss details on video calls if needed, but we’re trying to keep them to a minimum, as a rule, to remove distraction. To ensure high-impact work, our freelancers need to be efficient communicators who don’t struggle with getting their point across. 

3. High-quality standards

The fact that a freelancer works in the comfort of their own home should have no bearing on the delivered work quality. We can’t and won’t accept anything below the assumed company standard, and we require every person on our team to consistently provide excellent service.

Here’s the deal - we don’t micromanage, and we’re not interested in hovering over a freelancer’s shoulder, checking up on his or her every move. In return, all freelancers working with us should work independently, without too much hand-holding and supervision. If they don’t understand the brief, we expect them to be proactive and get in touch with the person who assigned the task to get more details before going on with their work. 

4. Fast turnarounds

At 6Minded, every freelancer has a small but significant part to play in a larger project. We appreciate as fast a turnaround as possible so that the next person can start working on the following stage of the project. If a person cannot deliver their batch of work quickly enough, we expect them to let us know about it as soon as possible so that we can look for a replacement. 

Being freelancers ourselves, we genuinely understand how crucial it is to set achievable deadlines and meet them. And we expect people we work with to do the same. In return, we apply the same rule to payments — when we get invoiced for someone’s work, we immediately settle the bill.

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5. Excellent organizational skills

If a freelancer works with multiple clients at a time, making sure they can handle all work before agreeing to a project is essential. 

What’s our suggestion? Here are a few tips that we find useful when organizing our own work:

  • Arranging inbox into folders,
  • Making a list of priorities (and sticking to it!),
  • Ensuring enough safety margin for each client,
  • Building assertiveness to give up on certain projects or suggest a more realistic deadline.

6. Accountability

When a person works as a freelancer, temporary issues with the internet provider or an unexpected visit from a mother in law are no valid excuses for not meeting a deadline. If our freelancer falls ill and has a deadline coming in two days, they must let us know in advance that they won’t be able to complete the assigned task on time. 

An email or a text message is enough as long as we know that something happened. This way, we have time to develop a backup plan. Our clients pay us for getting things done, but it isn’t the end of the world when an unexpected happens. We just need to be aware of the issue so that we can find a workaround. 

7. Good manners

Just because freelancers don’t meet face to face, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t behave in a respectful way towards their team and our clients. Especially as we communicate online, frustration, annoyance, and foul language are not acceptable and must give way to politeness and civility. 

8. Respect for the client

It’s easy to get impatient when dealing with some clients who don’t know what they want. But while in real life, the customer may not always be right, a freelancer must know how to communicate that. 

Being honest and being blunt are two different things. Freelancers must learn how to tell between the two; otherwise, they’re going to get themselves into big trouble. If you work with us, the moment you offend or disrespect a client, we will have to part ways. Insults are a sign of helplessness and incompetence. And we don’t want anything to do with them.

9. Respect for oneself

Remember that respect is mutual. So we won’t accept an insolent or behaviour of a customer towards anybody on our team. 

If any person working with us feels that a customer treats them badly, we want to know about it. Should this happen, a freelancer should report it to us immediately, and we will look into the matter to be resolved. Even if it means letting go of a client.

10. Good grasp of project management and collaboration tools

Project management, social media updates, customer calls, and UX designs; in 2021, a freelancer has a dedicated tool for everything. At 6Minded, we use plenty of online tools. Read about what apps we use for delivering projects.

Internally, we seldom use emails. And it’s the same in other agencies, too. Creative and software freelancers have no choice but to get familiar with the above tools to work faster and more efficiently. Fortunately, all of these applications are pretty straightforward to use. 

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