Rise is the first forward-looking career platform to help people make moves fearlessly. Powered by technology, our modern work ecosystem brings together future-focused jobs, on-demand benefits, and a supportive community. We use high-skilled, work-from-anywhere roles to accelerate a woman’s career. Companies seeking to fill internal skills gaps, staff part-time leadership roles, or complete time-sensitive projects can use the platform as a new avenue for recruitment. Learn more at joinrise.co.
Does your growing business need an independent consultant? From simple data entry to large-scale projects requiring highly-specialized skills, the right freelancer, or independent consultant – as many prefer to be referred, can help you reach your goals, all without the commitment and cost of hiring a full-time employee. With more and more Americans turning to remote work-from-home jobs, it’s time for companies to examine their hiring procedures and policies. Not only can hiring independent consultants allow you to hire beyond your traditional geographical profile, it can also help you diversify your candidate pipeline. For instance, remote or freelance work gives women the flexibility to be a part of their children’s lives, while also maintaining a consistent presence at work.
If you’ve never worked with an independent consultant before, you may feel confused or intimidated by the prospect of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding a whole new breed of workers. Ready to outsource but not sure where to start? Here are 6 basic steps to help you find great independent consultant candidates and expert tips on making the right hire for your business.
6 Basic Steps
Step 1: Determine The Scope Of Work
Firstly, determine the scope of work. A scope of work summarizes the goals, responsibilities, and timelines for the independent consultant position you want to fill. Create a scope of work by clearly defining and writing down the job that has to be done and its deliverables, including the required milestones, timing considerations, and other job details. A well-defined scope of work will make it easier to hire independent consultants with the skills and experience to get the job done. Be sure to factor these in as you determine your scope of work:
- The remote work-from-home jobs or projects that need to be completed
- The timeline of the job or project
- The activities or duties that the independent consultant will perform
- Goals or milestones the independent consultant should meet
- Specific deliverables the independent consultant will complete
As you’re outsourcing, it’s important to have the right mindset. “Don’t look for someone who can do everything perfectly all the time. Find someone who can do one or 2 things really well most of the time,” suggests John Jonas, Outsourcing Guru and Founder of OnlineJobs.ph and Replacemyself.com. “If you want someone to take over your tasks, find someone who’s at least 80% as good as you. If you can’t find that person, find someone who is willing to learn and take the time to teach them. Without the right mindset, no platform or recruitment process is going to work. You need to be ready to delegate.”
“Without the right mindset no platform or recruitment process is going to work.”John Jonas, Founder of OnlineJobs.ph and Replacemyself.com
Step 2: Decide How Much You Want To Pay
Secondly, set a budget. Make sure you have allocated enough funds to pay your contractors fairly for their work. If you’re not sure how much to pay, spend some time researching the average rate for the type of work you’re looking to have done. Not only do you need to consider what your budget is when hiring an independent consultant, but you also need to know how and when you will pay them. Depending on your reasons for outsourcing work, you have a few options:
- Pay by the hour: Straightforward and easy to understand
- Pay per project: Better for one-off projects than for longer-term remote work-from-home jobs
- Commission-based payment: Good for businesses that are trying to preserve cash
Step 3: Find The Best Hiring Platform
There are a ton of websites out there connecting freelancers or independent consultants to remote work-from-home jobs or projects. This isn’t surprising, considering how large the freelance market is. Choose the platform that best fits your hiring needs. Here at Rise, we are dedicated to connecting high-quality female talent to companies seeking to fill internal skills gaps, staff part-time leadership roles, or complete time-sensitive projects to. As the first forward-looking career platform for women, Rise brings together future-focused remote-work-from-home jobs, on-demand benefits, and a supportive community.
In addition to online websites and hiring platforms, consider tapping into your network: “Every freelancer I’ve worked with came by referral or was from a community I was a part of” says Arielle Shnaidman, Founder of Arielle Shnaidman LLC. “If the person came from a community I was a part of but I didn’t know them well, I would start with a small project/task and monitor their progress.” Jenn Uhen, Founder of The Pledgettes, has similar advice: “Be open to meeting new people and provide the value of making connections and it will come around to benefit your business!”
“Every freelancer I’ve worked with came by referral or was from a community I was a part of.”Arielle Shnaidman, Founder of Arielle Shnaidman LLC
Step 4: Post A Job Description
Once you’ve determined your scope of work, decided on your budget, and selected a hiring platform, it’s time to draft an effective job description that summarizes your project needs. Accurately describe the scope of work, necessary experience, and other important hiring factors like pay. Effective job descriptions have the following elements:
- Descriptive job title: The job title is the first thing a potential applicant will see, so make it clear, concise, and descriptive of the position
- Scope of work: Include enough detail about the position for candidates to understand what they’ll be doing as part of the job
- Budget and fee expectations: Let highly qualified independent consultants know they’ll be compensated for their experience
- Required education, skills, and experience: This will help you greatly narrow your pool of applicants
- Job/project timeline: Get ahead of timing issues by including time constraints in the job description and let independent consultants know if the job could become more long-term
Step 5: Select The Best Candidate(s)
Once you post your job description on a hiring platform, candidates should begin applying. Review information provided to identify qualified candidates. Compare and contrast the candidates and identify the top independent consultants based on several factors, including work experience and skills. You can use this information to interview candidates or hire someone right away. If you hold interviews, determine whether you’ll conduct them via phone or video, choose an interview style, and prepare questions and a test project.
“When looking for freelancers, don’t just look for your friends, but cast a wide net to find people who agree with your goals, are extremely competent in entirely different aspects of the business, trust you and have your trust, and have methods of amicably resolving any differences that may arise,” advises Rajiv Tandon, Educator and Serial Entrepreneur.
Screen applicants for these characteristics:
- Skills and experience: An independent consultant’s prior work experience can provide extensive insight into their specialized knowledge and relevant skill sets
- Previous work products: Many hiring platforms enable applicants to submit examples of their work
- Motivation and alignment with future goals: You want an independent consultant who understands the relevance of the tasks they are performing and sees the bigger picture
- Education: Evaluate whether the applicant’s education is relevant to the scope of work, but remember that the other factors you’re looking for may not be degree-specific
“It is critical that when hiring, you find someone who works the same way you do.”Lori Kirstein, Founder of Goodbye, Good Girl
“It is critical that when hiring, you find someone who works the same way you do,” suggests Lori Kirstein, Founder of Goodbye, Good Girl. “For example: find someone who works with dedication; someone who is not necessarily perfect but always striving to be as on-point as possible; someone in your same time zone; someone who takes responsibility for her efforts; someone who has a sense of humor; someone who is responsive to your needs as a way of being a part of the success. Things like that.”
Consider giving the candidates a short practice project or task before making your decision. “For instance, if you are building a website, ask your freelancer to build one page. This step is a huge help in assessing many other things that a portfolio won’t necessarily demonstrate but are nonetheless important, such as whether the freelancer will deliver on time, show up to meetings on time, communicate professionally, their level of motivation with your project etc.” says Srini Venkataramani, Product Manager at Samsung Next.
One thing to note is that many freelancers tend to take on multiple jobs at the same time. According to Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder of Femgineer.com, you should “get a sense of how many clients they take on – you don’t want to be someone’s 5th or 10th priority.”
“Get a sense of how many clients they take on – you don’t want to be someone’s 5th or 10th priority.”Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder of Femgineer.com
Step 6: Extend A Formal Offer And Sign A Contract
Once you choose the right independent consultant for your needs, extend a formal offer. The offer should be written and must accurately describe the job or project, including the agreed upon price and method of payment. Before allowing the independent consultant to begin work on your project, make sure both parties sign a formal contract. This document will protect both your business’ legal interests and the independent consultant.
Terms to include in a contract:
- Project scope
- Deadlines and project timeline
- Confidentiality, NDA, and privacy terms
- Payment terms and timeframes
- Cancellation terms