Consultants and freelancers are professionals that can be hired to assist with a one-time task or ongoing work. There are many benefits to hiring a consultant, as discussed here.
Finding the right kind of provider for the task at hand is the first step to ensuring the best end result. Once the decision has been made to hire a consultant or freelancer, the next step is to find a qualified provider who meets your needs.
Word of mouth truly is the best form of advertising for many consultants and freelancers. Ask around and seek out recommendations from professional colleagues during your search. If your company has ever used a freelancer or consultant before and was pleased with the results, check back to see if that person is able and willing to help with the latest task.
Another great resource is professional organizations, colleges and universities, volunteer groups and government agencies which use consultants on a regular basis. They may be able to recommend a qualified candidate who fits your specific needs.
Finally, taking out a newspaper ad or placing an ad on services such as LinkedIn, also may be of assistance in finding a qualified candidate.
Once you have found a candidate or several candidates for the job, provide a written scope of work to be performed and ask each candidate to provide a written proposal. Proposals should include an outline explaining how the provider intends to complete the work, their qualifications for completing the task, costs associated with the work and a projected estimation for completion.
Keeping a list of qualified consultants and freelancers is a good idea for future reference. If you have found a quality provider, keep contact information for that person handy for future needs. Many consultants and freelancers are happy to provide repeat services to clients with whom they’ve previously worked.
Choose a short list of candidates to interview based on the submitted proposals. During the interview process, focus on the providers technical expertise, their knowledge of the task at hand and their proposed fee. Some consultants and freelancers are willing to negotiate the terms of their proposals if the job is right for them or if there is the possibility of repeat business with the same client.
Lastly, ask for professional references for any candidate being considered. Specifically seek out references who have worked on similar projects with the candidate.
Once you have selected a candidate for the job, as a common courtesy, send notification to candidates who were not chosen to inform them of the decision. Be sure to thank them for their time and proposal, because you never know when they may be able to help you in the future.
Following these guidelines is a surefire way to find a qualified consultant or freelancer with whom you can build a relationship.
Have tips for finding a consultant or freelancer? Feel free to share them with us.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for 25 years.