🇫🇷 You can also read this article in French here!
Thanks to the widespread use of remote work and the development of efficient tools for collaboration, freelancing has become a common practice in many industries - especially in the tech landscape where it is a big success.
For companies, freelancers provide a great pool of tech talent that can be quickly available for short term projects. In fact, you can find great profiles for all types of roles (front-end, back-end, data scientists, etc.) and skills, even the less common ones. If permanent employees are the foundation of a company, freelancers can be the lifeline for some projects thanks to their flexibility and expertise.
To give you the best advice on how freelancers can add value to your company, we reached out to human resources experts who successfully hired freelancers to support their team and maintain quality of work. We would like to thank Tanguy Lacroix - Talent Acquisition Manager at Qonto, Christina Schläger - HR & Office Manager at PiNCAMP and Robert Krzyzaniak - Head of Talent Acquisition at Taxfix for their time and their valuable insights!
After reading this article, you will be equipped with all the freelancer-hiring insights to be able to adapt your hiring strategies and ensure that being short-staffed does not slow down your success.
Finding a freelancer is quicker than finding a permanent employee. They can give you a rapid response regarding availability and they are not bound by an employment contract as it is often the case for future permanent employees. On the company side, it is also easier to agree on a freelance employee than on a permanent employee, which represents a longer-term commitment. “Hiring freelancers can give you some time to focus on hiring the right person for a permanent position while continuing to support the launch of your tech projects” suggests Christina. She also adds that “hiring freelancers can save costs by helping the tech team to meet its deadlines and not postponing the roadmap”. On talent.io, it takes a week on average to hire a freelancer (vs. 20 days on average for a permanent employee).
Hiring freelancers gives you more flexibility to adapt your hiring strategy, especially in uncertain contexts. You can choose the duration of your projects to suit a rush period or to launch a specific feature. As Taxfix operates in a seasonal sector, they hire freelancers to support their peak period when customers are most likely to complete their tax returns. Robert explains that “freelancers are ideal for covering these temporary needs”.
The typical notice period for freelancers, around one week, is also more adaptable. Qonto has always been working with freelancers and has adapted their hiring strategy accordingly. They hire them to collaborate with the team when they need additional support to achieve their ambitious objectives, for instance, to prepare their global deployment.
Hiring a freelancer is simple. Christina told us that the administrative formalities are less constraining than for a permanent contract, there are fewer documents and the process is smoother. Using talent.io, the paperwork can be taken care of: billing and timesheets are easily managed directly on our platform. We even manage the invoicing and guide you through the process if you ask us to!
Freelancers come with strong experience in their fields. When you hire a freelancer, most of the time you are hiring someone with a high level of experience. When Qonto decided to launch their banking platform from scratch, they realised how hard it would be without having expertise on such a specific topic. Tanguy explains that “even though our tech team was already made up of a bit more than 70 talented developers, we decided to bring in extra expertise by hiring freelancers for this project”. Christina mentioned that some areas of expertise are more likely to be found by searching for a freelancer, as some skillsets are very rare and the professionals who have them may not be available for a permanent position. In addition, freelancers can be as collaboratively involved as permanent employees. They are driven by client satisfaction in order to build their network to help them grow their businesses.
Freelancers have typically worked with multiple companies and projects. They can be a great asset for your team by providing an external point of view and advice on best practices.
According to Tanguy, this fresh look can foster creativity and innovation in your tech team. At PiNCAMP, freelancers bring a fresh vibe to the company, which has a positive impact and has even led to a permanent contract! Robert also notes that interacting with freelancers provides a chance to learn about the tech ecosystem and opportunities within the sector. Overall, it’s great to get to know new people.
Most of the freelancers are accustomed to remote work and know how to do this autonomously, which means that even if your company is fully remote or still limited by the post COVID-19 situation, they are unlikely to struggle adapting to this. It will also give you the opportunity to broaden the scope of your search and reach out to developers based in different countries.
According to Christina and Robert, it can be tempting to rush into hiring a freelancer to meet an urgent need. They insist on the importance of paying attention to cultural fit, even for a temporary contract. No matter how skilled an individual is, if they begin to detract from the positive culture, their contribution won’t benefit the company. You have to invest in proper screening. Take the time to get to know your freelancers during interviews and let the tech team meet them. This ensures that the freelancer’s mindset and values are compatible with your company.
To ensure the success of your collaboration take the time to clearly define the project and make sure that both parties are on the same page. What is the purpose of the project? What will be the expected outcomes? How long will it take? What is the daily fee? Tanguy explains that it is essential to take this time beforehand to save time in the long run. Clarifying these aspects will lead to a harmonious collaboration!
A freelancer will bring expertise and knowledge to your team. “When the collaboration works, it works very well and it enriches the team” Christina explains. Make sure that all the tips and techniques learned by collaborating with an external partner will not only be useful during the contract but will also remain in the team afterwards.
Take the time to thank the freelancers with whom you’ve had a great collaboration and offer to give them a reference. Tanguy notes “establishing a positive relationship and carefully considering offboarding will help any future collaboration”. You will be able to build your own tech talent pool and reach out to them whenever needed. In addition, it will foster the word of mouth between freelancers, improve your employer brand and make your next freelance hire easier.
Tech teams often deal with a busy roadmap and tough deadlines, that are all the more important as the product represents a key part of the competitive advantage to boost a company’s service and gain market share. Hiring freelancers can be a great solution to maintain a balanced workload in your tech team and add value to your product.
We hope that this article clarifies any doubts you may have about freelancer hiring. At talent.io, our mission is to help you build a great tech team. Try out our tech freelancer hiring service to gain access to our local pool of freelancers and all the support of our freelance hiring experts. Create your first freelance project in less than 3 minutes here, it’s free to sign up!
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