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How to Hire Freelancers: Avoiding Common Engagement Mistakes

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As businesses seek flexibility and specialised expertise, the demand for freelance professionals continues to surge. Yet, amidst this trend, many organisations find themselves navigating unforeseen challenges. This is because employing freelancers for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you don't plan to avoid common pitfalls. 

From misaligned expectations and requirements to poor communication, overlooking cultural fit, unclear project scope and hiring the cheapest options, working with freelancers can cause unexpected challenges. 

In this article, we explore the common freelancer engagement mistakes and provide actionable insights on how to avoid them. In addition, we will outline how to evaluate experts to help you make a better choice. 


What Is a Freelancer?

A freelancer operates on a project-by-project basis, often serving as an independent contractor for short-term assignments. Unlike traditional employees, they have the freedom to juggle multiple tasks for various clients simultaneously unless bound by an exclusivity agreement. 

Freelancers span a multitude of industries, including graphic design, marketing, financial support, writing, photography, and software programming. Examples include independent journalists pitching stories to different publications or software developers creating custom applications for diverse clients. 

They are commonly associated with gig work and can either work full-time or supplement their primary employment with a side hustle. Typically, independent workers rely on formal contracts delineating project scope, timelines, and compensation structures, which may include flat rates, hourly fees, or project-based payments.


The Rise in Freelance Hiring 

The trend of freelance hiring is on a meteoric rise, with more companies than ever turning to independent contractors for various tasks. This surge isn't just confined to individuals seeking gig opportunities; there's also been a significant uptick in companies leveraging freelance platforms to hire talent.

The appeal for businesses is evident: independent contractors offer a cost-effective, flexible solution, minimising overhead costs and streamlining project expenses. With fewer onboarding requirements, engaging freelancers enables companies to access a skilled workforce capable of delivering results even during non-business hours.

For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), they are proving to be indispensable allies in achieving growth objectives. According to a LinkedIn survey, more than 70% of small businesses have engaged freelancers [1], with an overwhelming 81% expressing intent to hire them again. The impact is tangible, with more SMBs affirming that these independent professionals have significantly contributed to their success.

The global freelance landscape is equally expansive, with World Bank data revealing that nearly half of the global workforce comprises self-employed individuals [2]. This translates to an estimated 1.6 billion experts out of a total workforce of 3.4 billion worldwide. As freelancers continue to redefine traditional employment paradigms, their role as catalysts for innovation and growth becomes increasingly apparent.


Why Companies Hire Freelancers 

Businesses opt to collaborate with freelancers for a multitude of reasons. Let's consider some of them in greater detail.

Freelance Talents Are Readily Available

The freelance landscape is brimming with talent, with an increasing number of professionals embracing freelancing either as a supplementary income source or as their primary occupation. 

Despite inherent challenges like income variability and lack of traditional benefits, skilled individuals are readily accessible for project-based engagements. Statista reports that approximately 60 million individuals were freelanced in 2022 [3], a figure projected to swell to 86.5 million by 2027, representing over half of the total U.S. workforce. 

This abundance of talent offers companies an extensive pool of expertise across various domains, from full-stack developers and digital marketers to IT specialists.

Freelancers Are Often More Productive

Freelancers often exhibit heightened productivity levels due to their adept time management and multitasking abilities. Plus, since their earnings are tied directly to project completion, they are incentivised to maintain optimal performance.

Moreover, remote work setups, prevalent among independent talents, enhance productivity by eliminating office distractions and commute time. This, coupled with the absence of coworker interruptions and non-essential meetings, further amplifies focus and output. As a result, they thrive in their home environments, leveraging the flexibility and autonomy to maximise their output and deliver exceptional outcomes.

Hiring Freelancers Is Cost-Effective

Employing independent talents offers a cost-effective alternative for businesses. Unlike full-time employees, they operate alone and are not entitled to traditional packages such as health insurance or paid time off. Consequently, companies can significantly reduce overhead expenses associated with staff benefits.

When businesses hire freelancers online on a project basis, they only incur expenses for the services rendered, minimising financial outlays. This flexibility in payment structures makes them an attractive option for organisations seeking to optimise resource allocation. It's no surprise that an increasing number of enterprises are leveraging freelance talent to achieve cost savings while maintaining operational efficiency.

Access to the Best, Specialised Talent Globally 

Accessing the best talent globally is a cornerstone of leveraging freelance expertise. These specialised skills, integral to industries such as software development, often reside outside a firm's internal talent pool. In other words, companies may find it difficult, if not impossible, to hire talent for a particular tech project from the local skill pool. Hence, they have to turn to freelance experts who reside in other countries or regions.

By engaging these professionals, businesses transcend location barriers, enabling them to build an all-powered tech that cuts across tech stack and geographical boundaries. This strategic approach empowers companies to assemble dynamic teams capable of tackling complex challenges and driving innovation forward.


Avoiding Common Engagement Mistakes When Hiring Freelancers

Navigating the freelance landscape requires vigilance to sidestep potential pitfalls. Here, we explore common engagement mistakes and how to avoid them.

Going for the Cheapest Freelancers

Hiring the cheapest freelancer may seem appealing, particularly for small businesses seeking cost-cutting measures. However, opting for a low-cost option often leads to inferior outcomes and potential rework due to substandard quality. While budget constraints may limit options, it's essential to be cautious of those underselling their skills because those options may have less to offer.

Hence, prioritise value over affordability when selecting a freelancer, ensuring that your budget corresponds with industry standards for quality and timely delivery. Aside from that, establishing a budget that reflects the worth of the work will help promote fairness and yield superior results.

Ignoring Technical Skills

Not considering technical skills is another engagement pitfall when hiring freelancers, which can result in low-quality jobs as the person doesn't have the talent to work on your project. To sidestep this, evaluate hard skills. 

For example, if you want to hire full-stack developers, you should consider proficiency in front-end technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which is essential for crafting engaging user interfaces. Aside from that, back-end expertise in languages like Python, Java, or Node.js enables robust server-side development. Similarly, familiarity with databases like MySQL, MongoDB, or PostgreSQL is crucial for data management. 

Unclear Project Goals

Presenting a vague project concept is another thing to avoid. Unclear task goals or a lack of clarity regarding the target audience can lead to misunderstandings and different interpretations of the scope. Consequently, the freelancers might deliver a product that doesn't align with your expectations or, worse, fails to match the requirements of your desired audience. 

To mitigate this risk, ensure you have a well-defined project concept, including clear objectives and requirements, a detailed description of desired features and functions, and a complete understanding of your users and their needs.

Ignoring cultural fit

Even for temporary projects, independent workers must respect and align with the values of the company. When they don't align with the values and norms, conflicts often arise, hindering productivity and morale. 

Additionally, a mismatch can impact engagement and satisfaction, leading to decreased performance and motivation. To address this, firms should first define and understand their own culture, hire based on cultural alignment and train them further during the onboarding process.

Failure to Consider Time Zone Differences

Before engaging freelancers, it's essential to recognise potential time zone disparities. Unlike office-bound employees, independent contractors might operate in different time zones, affecting their availability during your regular work hours. For example, a company in the USA that chooses to hire freelancers in India will discover that there is a 12-hour time-zone difference. 

This can lead to communication bottlenecks; emails sent outside work hours will not be replied to immediately. Aside from that, there will be delayed responses and challenges in scheduling inclusive meetings. Addressing these issues requires strategic scheduling, embracing asynchronous communication methods, and fostering adaptability to facilitate seamless collaboration.

Ignoring Security Concerns

Overlooking security concerns can expose your business to data breaches and various cyberattacks, jeopardising brand reputation and customer trust. Additionally, it can lead to legal repercussions and financial losses. The ramifications of such negligence are headaches no business wants to endure. 

To mitigate these risks, make sure that the independent contractor prioritises safety. To this end, inquire about their security protocols, including data encryption, DDoS protection, and regular audits to enable you to protect your business and customer data from potential threats.

Not Utilising Communication and Collaboration Tools

In freelancer-employer relationships, effective communication and collaboration tools are essential for maintaining productivity, tracking progress, addressing issues promptly, and planning ahead. This is because spending hours on a project, only to find it needs a complete overhaul due to miscommunication, is frustrating for both parties.

Primarily, failing to set up virtual meetings before starting a project is a significant error. These meetings establish strategy, clarify expectations, and foster rapport and trust. Relying solely on email or text communication often results in vague instructions and numerous clarifications, hindering progress and extending project timelines. To avoid this mistake, prioritising open communication and initial meetings can save significant time and costs for all involved. 

Here are the six must-have collaboration tools: 



Key Features


A project management tool that replaces traditional organisation methods with a visual approach.

- Visual task organisation into categories like To Do, Doing, Done.

- Digital cards for detailing projects, including sub-projects and dialogues.

- Integration with Slack and Google Drive for enhanced coordination.


A comprehensive chat platform that extends beyond messaging to facilitate a broad range of collaborative activities.

- Text, file, and screen sharing capabilities.

- Office-like features such as status updates and detailed profiles.

- Allows synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Google Docs

A dynamic document editing and collaboration platform that enables multiple users to work on documents simultaneously.

- Multiple users edit and comment in real-time.

- Customisable document access levels (view, comment, edit).

- Eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails for document reviews.

Google Meet

A video conferencing tool that offers reliable audio and video communication for teams, making remote meetings more effective.

- High-quality video and audio calls.

- Features include participant muting and screen sharing.

- Can host meetings with up to 100 participants, suitable for large team gatherings.

Google Calendar

An intuitive scheduling tool that aids in efficient time management and event coordination among teams.

- Easy-to-use interface for scheduling and event planning.

- Customisable and shareable calendars for better coordination.

- Helps synchronise team schedules and deadlines.


A versatile task management platform that supports detailed project organisation and collaboration for teams working on complex projects.

- Organised task boards with unlimited custom fields for detailed project tracking.

- Includes Miro-style whiteboards and Notion-style docs for comprehensive project planning and discussion.

Including Unspecified Minor Details Beyond the Project Scope

It's essential to provide transparent and precise instructions, avoiding the temptation to tack on additional tasks without clear discussion or compensation. For specific projects, any extra tasks or revisions should undergo prior discussion and agreement before implementation. 

In other words, any additional work or significant changes should be appropriately negotiated and incorporated into the existing budget. Failing to do so erodes motivation and trust, undermining the freelancer-client relationship.


Getting It Right: How to Evaluate Freelancers’s Portfolio 

When assessing a freelancer’s portfolio, understanding what to evaluate is essential.



What to Check

Relevance to your project

One critical factor is the relevance of their previous work to your specific requirements. 

  • Assess whether their past projects align with your project’s goals, industry, and style. Start by thoroughly reviewing each sample in the portfolio for similarities in subject matter or themes. Consider their experience or industries to gauge their suitability.

  • Consider any unique challenges or complexities in your project and seek comparable elements in the freelancer’s portfolio. 

Quality of work

It involves evaluating their performance, reliability, communication skills, adherence to deadlines, and the overall output of their tasks. 

  • Scrutinise the samples in their portfolio, focusing on clarity, precision, and adherence to deadlines. Evaluate their research skills and industry knowledge relevant to your project.

  • Assess whether their work demonstrates creativity and originality. Look for fresh ideas and unique perspectives that showcase their ability to think innovatively.

Variety and depth of skills

A diverse skill set signals versatility and adaptability, traits highly valued in freelancers. 

  • The range of projects the independent contractor has undertaken spanning various industries or niches.

  • Proficiency in both creative and technical tasks, indicating their ability to handle diverse project requirements.

  • Look for evidence of tackling challenging projects, indicating a willingness to innovate and develop professionally.

  • Analyse their technical proficiency, especially if specialised skills are crucial for your project. For instance, a freelance software developer should showcase expertise in relevant coding languages or tools.

Consistency in style and execution

This underscores the independent remote contractor's ability to maintain coherence throughout their work.

  • Consistency in visual elements such as colour palettes, typography, and design aesthetics, indicating a strong grasp of visual branding.

  • Consistency in tone and messaging across projects, demonstrating adaptability while maintaining a cohesive brand voice.

  • Meeting deadlines consistently, reflecting reliability and professionalism in project delivery.

Reviewing client feedback and testimonials

Client feedback provides valuable insights into the professionalism of the prospect and satisfaction of previous clients.

  • The overall tone of client feedback, indicating satisfaction levels and the ability to meet expectations.

  • How the freelancer addresses negative feedback or criticism, showcasing their responsiveness and ability to improve.


How to Hire Freelancers: Step by Step

Follow these step-by-step guidelines to streamline your hiring process and find the ideal candidate efficiently.

1. Establish the Scope of Work 

Evaluate your project thoroughly to define the scope of work. You should create a comprehensive list outlining expectations and requirements and detail every aspect, from deliverables to timelines, ensuring clarity for both parties involved. This step reduces misunderstandings and increases the opportunity for you to find the right expert for your project.

2. Determine the Budget

Assess the total project cost and allocate a suitable portion for your new hire. Experienced freelancers typically charge higher rates due to business expenses and tax responsibilities. You should consider geographical location and expertise when budgeting and research industry standards and network insights to gauge appropriate compensation.

3. Write a Job Description

Craft a detailed job description reflecting project expectations, including start and end dates, anticipated deliverables, payment terms, and desired qualifications. Ensure clarity and specificity to attract suitable candidates. In addition, you should communicate project scope, responsibilities, and expectations clearly to streamline the hiring process and facilitate mutual understanding.

4. Search for Freelancers 

Initiate your search by tapping into your network for recommendations. You can even request referrals from trusted connections to ensure quality and engage employees for potential leads. Expand your search to online communities and freelancing platforms, leveraging their vast talent pools and review systems. Additionally, explore social media groups tailored to specific fields for further outreach and potential matches.

5. Evaluate Their Experience

After identifying potential candidates, assess their experience by reviewing samples of previous work and resumes. You can do phone or video interviews to delve deeper into their skills and capabilities. Depending on the project's complexity, consider skill tests or small task assignments, ensuring fair compensation for their time. 

6. Prepare an Agreement

Draft a comprehensive contract outlining project expectations and terms. In this agreement, you should clearly define submission procedures, payment terms, and project scope. 

Key elements to include are:

  • Names and contact information
  • Start and end dates
  • Payment amounts and methods
  • Deadlines and milestones
  • Ownership of work
  • Confidentiality clauses
  • Independent contractor terms
  • Termination and indemnity clauses

This contract serves as a legal framework, ensuring clarity and mutual understanding between you and the freelancer.


Deazy Provides a Better Option than Hiring Freelancers

While engaging freelancers is a flexible option for businesses, it comes with its own set of challenges. Missed deadlines and a lack of commitment are common issues that can disrupt project timelines and affect quality. These obstacles often stem from freelancers juggling multiple projects, leading to divided attention and inconsistent communication, significantly impacting the overall success of your projects. 

For these reasons, companies are exploring other options to find great talents.

At Deazy, we offer the right solution. We provide experienced nearshore software developers for your project. Our solutions cater to startups, agencies, and scale-ups, providing best-in-class software development services. Partnering with us means you get all the advantages of hiring freelancers and more. 

  • Managed team: Our deeply experienced delivery managers excel in managing remote global teams and oversee the project from beginning to end to ensure that the software meets your business requirements. This ensures that your project is completed on time with no missed deadlines. 
  • Nearshore vetted team: Besides rigorously vetting our remote developers for technical and soft skills, we ensure that they are in the same or similar time zone to avoid communication and collaboration issues.
  • Scalable engagement model: You benefit from scalable capacity across multiple technologies, empowering you to tackle complex builds and integrations with experts experienced in project outsourcing or team collaboration.

Are you ready to hire remote software developers? Discover the ideal team to support your project delivery needs with Deazy. 

Contact us today 



Hiring freelancers can be a strategic move for enterprises seeking flexibility and specialised skills unavailable locally. By avoiding common engagement mistakes such as unclear expectations, inadequate communication, and neglecting proper onboarding, companies can ensure successful cooperation with remote professionals. To this end, it's imperative to establish mutual expectations and provide the necessary resources for freelancers to thrive.

Additionally, investing in proper vetting processes and fostering a collaborative work environment can enhance productivity and satisfaction for both parties involved. However, if you are a fast-growing business that wants reliable talents for your project, engaging remote software developers from a managed team is the best option as it guarantees successful delivery. 


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I hire a freelancer effectively?

Ensure clarity in job descriptions, vet candidates thoroughly, establish clear communication channels, and set realistic expectations for project timelines and deliverables.

How do we hire freelancers?

Hiring freelancers involves several steps: first, define the project requirements clearly; then, post job listings on platforms relevant to the freelance community. Next, review the portfolios and qualifications of applicants, conduct interviews to assess their suitability, and finally, negotiate the terms of engagement.

Can I hire a freelancer?

Yes, individuals and businesses can hire independent contractors to fulfil various tasks and projects, ranging from creative work to technical expertise, on a temporary or project basis.

What is it called when you hire a freelancer?

It is commonly referred to as freelance hiring or contracting. It involves engaging an independent worker to complete specific tasks or projects for a set fee or hourly rate.