Let’s face it – finding good people isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be rather challenging, even when hiring part-time freelancers via marketplaces such as oDesk (now called “Upwork”).

Before oDesk changed its name to Upwork, the team there asked me to provide a few tips for hiring online. We collaborated and came up with this nifty little video. (And by the way – no, the “Twilight” books on the shelf are NOT mine.)

Recap of Matt’s Hiring Tips

  1. Keep your job posting private:  You can always change it to “public” later. Keeping it private helps you avoid the inevitable two dozen random contractors you’d weed out anyway. Obviously keeping it private will create more work for you in the recruiting process, but I’ve found it to be well worth the investment of your time.
  2. Customize your job invitation’s greeting:  Upwork’s “canned” invitation email says, “Hello! I’d like to personally invite you to apply to my job. Please review the job post and apply if you’re available.” As a contractor, I raise an eyebrow when a prospect sends me an invite like this. You can’t even take the time to send me a personalized message? Did you even look at my Upwork profile? Simply stated, you need to customize this message. It’s your first impression with the contractor. Show the contractor you’re genuinely interested and indicate when you’d be available to chat. A small detail but an important one.
  3. Give preference to contractors who respond quickly: If you take 3 days to respond to my invitation, it’s likely things won’t work out between us. By “quickly”, I’m talking 5 to 10 minutes – especially if I send you a personalized invitation (see previous point). Contractors who really impress me will apply to the job and then send me a personalized message via Upwork messenger. This really separates the good from the best.

Feel free to share your tips in the comments section of this article.

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Matt Keener is the original "Executive in Sweatpants," having built a successful online consulting business (from home). His best-selling book offers tips for capitalizing on outsourcing and freelancing. Matt holds an MBA and has been featured by many recognizable brands, including Upwork (formerly oDesk), Elance, Insightly, the Dave Ramsey Show, and Entrepreneur.com.

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