Hiring freelance designers is becoming more and more common, and with good reason. With a freelance designer, you can get better results than with an in-house designer. It’s a bit more work upfront to hire the right person.
When you set out to hire, consider:
● The scope of the project
● Any important details that the designer wouldn’t know intuitively
● What kind of design you are looking for
● Your time frame and budget
As with all things in business, you will get dramatically different results with a $5,000 budget and three months than you will with a $250 budget and two weeks to complete the project.
Consider how much time and money your business really needs to put toward the project. Is this a long-term investment, or a quick project that will be revisited again and again?
Would you be better off in the long term hiring an expensive designer up front? Or are you just testing the waters with this project and need something now to see how it goes? These are important things to think about.
Whether you are looking for a timeless design that will last you several years or a short and sweet social media post for a weekend sale, these tips will help you hire with confidence.
Cast a Wide Net
You will doubtless encounter many designers that won’t work for your project. With that in mind, cast an even broader net rather than a narrower one. Asking questions that are pertinent to your business right off the bat will help you sift through tons of candidates.
Cutting to the chase quickly is a good way to save everyone time. Remember that they are probably applying for as many jobs as you are reviewing candidates! Everyone needs to find something that works sooner rather than later.
Refine the Niche of Your Project
With many options in mind, make sure you cast a wide net within the niche you really need to fill. Are you looking for modern design? Something with a vintage vibe? So colorful it’s almost psychedelic? You’ve got options!
Use your time wisely by knowing what you are looking for up front and looking at designers who work in that style or niche.
Beyond the look of the project, you will want to refine the type of business project it is. If it’s social media posts or infographics, try to stick with candidates that have a strong portfolio in that area.
Open Communication Right Away
Once you’ve got candidates who have the right skills lined up, you need to get started finding out what kind of communicator they are. Some experts advise only working with candidates who communicated daily during the interview process.
They feel that it’s likely to get more difficult to communicate once work starts, so prepare well by working with people who put their best foot forward at the start.
Review Old Work
See if your designer’s work has stood the test of time with old clients. If you are looking at someone who consistently makes designs that are changed over time, that may be a sign that they are not for you.
Remember to ask how long the design was in use, and if it served its purpose. Ad material, for example, is consistently used in a shorter time frame than evergreen illustrations. It’s all relative to the purpose of the content.
Ask for References
This is likely to work with more experienced designers. People who are just starting out freelancing may not have many references. But someone who’s been at it a while will have a large collection of them.
Good reference questions are the difference between a so-so hire and a lasting relationship. Try to find out more than just if the person is timely and professional. Ask about challenges they overcame, or ask to hear a defining story about them during past work.
As you dig deeper into questions about what kind of person you are working with rather than how they appear on paper, you will find out who is a great fit and who is just okay.
Interview Thoroughly Anyway
Using a freelancer is no reason to neglect an interview. Both parties need to meet and greet as well as get a chance to ask important questions. Remember that you want to pique their interest in the project. Show great leadership skills during the interview and try to inspire a bit.
Freelancers tend to be passionate about their work. If your leadership style and idea of inspiration doesn’t get them excited about your project, you’ll know they’re probably not the designer for you.
Working with someone who is inspired is a very special experience.
Remember that working in design requires a large amount of professional creativity. A designer who becomes interested in your project is more likely to come up with great questions and share their personality.
Start Small and Build
Ask your freelancers if they would be interested in a small tester project. Make sure it’s relevant to your overall project, or you won’t get relevant results. If people are less interested in small projects for you, that may tell you what you need to know about them.
Be Clear on the Scope and Schedule
Right off the Bat Design can take forever if you let it. And finishing a cohesive design on time is heavily dependent on understanding the scope of the project. People can get started down all kinds of rabbit holes if the scope is unclear.
Let your designer know about what your deliverables are right away. Give them time to ask any questions, and if you can, give examples of comparable projects. Visuals help clarify things for people in this field, and they also give an example of what kind of detail you are looking for.
Remember that scope can be wide open right off the bat. Avoid vague directions. A good designer will be able to work with all kinds of requirements, especially if they went to school. Making good use of everyone’s time means knowing what direction to work in.