When you post a job ad on Elance or oDesk to hire freelancers, chances are you will get scores, if not hundreds of replies. You will be forced to wade through the application forms of many unqualified and unsuitable people in order to find the few A players who have replied. Not only that, there are in fact teams of people employed in India and other developing economies whose full time job is to cut and paste the standard template application form into your request, in order to spam Elance with job applications. These are not serious applicants for your small business, and will waste a lot of your time if you don’t take precautions.
Using the self selection method, you have the ability to weed out most of these time wasters by simply glancing at their application form. At the bottom of the job application, you place three unique questions. These can be completely random questions such as, what did you have for breakfast, or what is your favourite movie? The questions can, alternatively, be related to the job you are advertising.
When you receive the job application forms back as you find freelancers, you simply go through them and immediately eliminate all those who have not answered the questions. The people who have not responded to these questions have not taken the time to read your job ad correctly, and have de selected themselves from the process. If they are not even going to read the job ad closely, what chance is there that they would perform the work you asked of them with any attention to detail?
Some of the online tools like Elance and oDesk allow you, as part of the job process, to give three separate questions to hire freelancers. If provision for this is not made, simply add your own three questions at the bottom of the job application form. Those people who have cut and pasted their answers, like the teams already mentioned from India and so on, will not answer the questions, and you have just saved yourself a large amount of time by not reading their application forms.
A useful question to ask if the job is of a substantial size, is to say, given your experience in this area, what things have I missed in my brief which may be of help? They may reply that a different piece of software would be more beneficial, or a design change would make your particular website more effective. This will quickly point up the people who are going to add value to your project.
A good way to start your hiring process and job ad is to write, this job is an easy job for those who know what they are doing. By putting this sentence in, you will get more competitive rates, because it stops people saying, this is a complicated job and I will have to charge a higher hourly rate. Also, it is a good idea to add that once someone has performed well on the initial task, there is more ongoing and regular work available. This will encourage the applicant to perform at their best in the hope that they will get more work from you. It will also ensure that they offer you a competitive price as they want to keep onside with you.
Once you have found three possible contractors, offer them a small job to see how well and how quickly they can complete a task for you.
Use this self selection method to find the right person and hire freelancers for the job far more quickly and easily.
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