With the freelancing landscape as wide open as it's ever been, and with a huge wealth of opportunities attracting both contractors and companies alike, making yourself stand out is critical. Yet what can sometimes be forgotten is that the competition isn't just on the freelancing side, as much as they're all working hard to stand out from the pack and ask the right questions.
Indeed, with startups and more practiced companies turning to freelancers more and more, it's just as competitive on the client side as it is the freelancing side. If you want to attract the talent and keep them interested in your awesome new business idea, then it's as much about what you're offering in your pitch as they are in theirs.
Don't be daunted though – just keep a few solid facts in mind, and you'll be coming out swinging every time.
Be a gentle judge of jargon
While it may seem obvious, it's easy to get stuck in the comfort zone of our own company jargon. We bandy about all kinds of acronyms, terminology and industry bywords without even realizing. And of course, if you're looking to attract top talent in your blog posting, you'd expect they'd love that lingo, right?
Not always. Jargon can be surprisingly alienating, and for all the professional bluster you might think it bestows, you'd be surprised at how many talented freelancers you're turning away from the door before you've begun. You know those times you have to ask your latest contracted writer to dial down the flowery prose you suspect might have snuck in from their side project writing a novel? That conversation goes both ways – freelancers wrinkle their noses at job listings laden with undecipherable corporate-speak.
Of course, you needn't entirely shy away from the terms you know define your business either. The right balance will be yours before you know it, if you keep this advice in mind.
Clearly communicate your expectations
The time your freelancer has to spend fishing for information on the finer points of your job listing is a time they can spend instead approaching someone who's laid it all bare in the first place. It can feel like you're belaboring the point when your freelancer should know all this already, but take a moment in their shoes – every company they work with has its own culture, and every contract they make has its own rules of engagement. Fail to make these plain from your side in your post, and you may well be both wasting time back and forth on a project refining the points you'd hoped were obvious.
Instead, use your job posting to make clear what you're hoping to accomplish with your project, how soon you intend to have it turned around, what you look for in a candidate, what you're willing to pay and when, and all those juicy details. By all means remain concise, because a rambling essay is just as
likely to turn your prospective job applicants away – but definitely take the time to do more than say “five freelancers needed urgently, contact us for more info”.
Treat professionals professionally
Freelancers set themselves up as their own business entities, building killer portfolios that define their niches, showcase their accomplishments and underline their strengths and targeted growth areas. Many of them have spent years honing their craft, and many of the newer ones on the block have made that transition based on more traditional roles at companies that have taught them all they need to know.
Unless you're expressly looking to hire newly graduated freelancers or give a shot to the newbies who are just entering the field for the first time, you're wise to trust that their credentials speak for themselves. Take the time to welcome freelancers' portfolios and speak to them about their experiences, but try not to frame it as if it's a proving ground in which you're making them jump through endless hoops of trial projects and demanding samples of past works.
Instead, use your job posting almost as an invitation to get in touch and show you what your prospective freelancer can do. Believe us when we say they seldom need much encouragement to show off their past triumphs and proudest pieces, and any freelancer worth their fees will have a glowing portfolio to show you that more than speaks for itself.
Say what you do differently
At every turn these days, it's all about how we can show what we're doing that nobody else is – and why that makes us the business, the freelancer or the employer of choice. Your job posting is no different, and while it's not advertising as such, it should be approached with the same methods you'd use in any new product or service launch. Scan the market, see what the others are doing, identify what you're doing differently and push it.
Remember, if you're reading samey-sounding pitches from freelancers, they're likely reading samey-sounding job postings as they hunt for gigs. It's always a two-way street, and if you take it upon yourself to highlight why your company or project is so different from the rest, you stand to entice the cream of the crop.
Establishing rapport, staying open and trusting that you're attracting professionals is a great way to approach writing that perfect job post. Whatever platform you're looking to put it onto, you can achieve fast responses from experienced freelancers by clearly communicating the goals of why you're hiring, avoiding complex buzzwords and go-nowhere terminology while you do it, and ultimately weaving some wordplay in there that shows off why you're just a great business to work within the first place. Whether you're casting a wide net or seeking niche professionals with select experience, your job post can either be the first barrier to entry, or the open hand awaiting a shake and a deal that'll take you on the next step of your ambitions.