Elance Blog

Four Simple Steps To Finding Perfect Freelancers

Occasionally we invite Elance-oDesk clients to discuss issues of importance to our community. Here we share some wisdom from Tobias Schelle, a Danish entrepreneur who is the Founder/CEO of 24slides.com. Check out his blog post, as well as the first video in Tobias’ upcoming series of helpful video tips.


Almost everything can be done online these days.

Which is why it’s no surprise that online technology is influencing the way we do business, too. This includes everything from searching for talent to collaborating with and managing freelancers.

This video explores ways to streamline hiring. It’s the first in a series on how to maximize the benefits of working online, each designed to help you be more productive and conduct business seamlessly.

Your 4-step plan on finding the right freelancer.

Amid the multitudes of possible candidates on Elance-oDesk, how do you find the most suitable freelancer for the job?

It’s tempting to narrow your list to only qualified applicants, and then hire the person who submits the lowest bid. But if you want to get the most out of your online team, use this simple 4-step process as a guide. In the long run it will save you time, energy, and money.

Step 1: Screen and choose your top three candidates

Posting a job is easy and fairly straightforward. Pretty soon, you’ll have many candidates applying for you job. While this is great, it also poses a challenge: Finding the right one among the many capable applicants.

To start off, narrow your applicants to the top three based on their relevant skills and the ratings and reviews from previous Elance clients. From there you can click on the applicant’s name and view their profile and employment history.

Step 2: Now test your top three freelancers.

Why is this important? Simple. Because people can sometimes look great on paper or in theory, but fall short of expectation in actual application. If you evaluate applicants merely based on what’s written on their resumes, or gathered from previous client feedback, there’s less chance of selecting the perfect candidate for the job.

And because many freelancers can be really good at selling themselves, giving them a test task beforehand can help you drill down further. You can get a clearer picture of who really is the ideal match for your particular project.

Ideally the test task should be as close as possible to the demands of your job at hand. This can typically take somewhere between 20 minutes to an hour. You should pay them for the test project, to simulate a real working environment and to ensure that the freelancer gives 100% on the project.

Step 3: Evaluate the test portion and make a decision.

After giving the test project, you’re now able to more realistically and accurately evaluate the suitability of each applicant. You’ll now have a better idea of how each person will perform, in terms of communication, quality of the job, and meeting deadlines.

Step 4: One month test.

From your assessment, choose one or two applicants, depending on your need or certainty that you’ve found the right freelancer. If you’re still unsure which candidate fits best, you can offer each a one-month trial period. After a month of actual work, it will become clear which person is the most suitable candidate.

Simplify your life by hiring the right person, right away.

As you can see from this blog post and the accompanying video, given the wide variety of freelancers on Elance-oDesk, you needn’t settle for just any candidate. It’s simple to test several candidates before making your final decision. And with the online profiles accessible on Elance, finding the most suitable person for the job is streamlined.


Just one thing- In the first step itself you are guiding the clients to look at previous reviews & ratings, then how do you encourage them to work with new freelancers? I feel you are making it tougher for new freelancers to bag a job, clients reading your blogs will go for reviews rather than trying a new one.

I have a suggestion for step one. Rather than screening out candidates based on reviews and ratings - because not all of us will have those - why not screen out candidates based on their portfolio? Its quite frustrating when reviews/ratings are used to judge freelancers rather than looking at what they're capable of.

Hello Tobias,
Thanks for sharing your guidelines. I hope many clients will get right direction and will be benefited.

Sometimes clients don't know how should they choose the right freelancer and they get a wrong message about online work.

Thanks again.