Nancy was asked by Recruiter.com for tips on hiring the best freelancers.
First, determine whether the freelancer thinks of themselves as an independent business owner, a temporary employee, or something else.
From a legal perspective in many states (such as in New York), a true freelancer is probably an independent business owner and has taken steps to distinguish themselves as one. They have a website, business cards, a tax identification number that is not their social security number, and processes for estimating the costs of the work, how the work will be done, where it will be done, and when.
If they don’t have these things, there is a good chance that you are hiring an employee.
You need to be certain you are complying with all laws, rules, and regulations from the Internal Revenue Service, as well as the Departments of Labor (DOL) and workers’ compensation agencies in each state where you are hiring freelancers or where they are working. The penalties for getting this wrong can personally bankrupt you, not just your small business.
Second, do a thorough screening.
A true freelancer will function like a professional, if not an entrepreneur. They will have other clients whom you can ask about the freelancer’s work. They will take the lead on the project and treat you like a valued client. You shouldn’t have to chase them down or train them. They will communicate with you about the progress of the project, and they should be the one determining how it will be completed. They will typically use their own tools and creative process, delivering you a customized work as your end result.
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Nance L. Schick, Esq., is a workplace attorney, ethno-religious mediator, and conflict resolution coach based in New York City. Her goal is to keep you out of court and build your conflict resolution skills so everyone has a better work experience. She helps managers and business owners have empowering conversations about emotionally-charged issues such as gender, race, religion, and disability. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution, and an award-winning entrepreneur acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018, 2019 & 2020), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards).