Hiring a Freelancer


At one time, when a business needed someone to do a job they had to hire a new member of staff. Then they could be faced with finding work for someone once the project they were hired for had finished or had to pay out redundancy if this couldn’t be done. But then the world of freelancers developed and suddenly there was a new option – hiring a freelancer to do a specific job for a specific period of time. So how do you go about hiring a freelancer?

Growth area

Going self-employed and becoming a freelancer is one of the biggest growth areas in the UK market with some 5 million people already having done so. This means businesses can access a wealth of talent on a ‘pay as you go’ type approach. For example, you might need a new website and want a web designer or you might need new content for an existing website. You can hire someone to do these specific jobs. You might also want someone more long term but not full time, say to write a weekly blog article or perform monthly system updates – again a freelancer can be ideal.

Then there is the financial side of hiring a freelancer. With the many options now for payments without actually giving out bank details such as PayPal, there is far less risk in the payment element. Many websites that freelancers use will also take and make the payment for you, giving you protection though they often charge for this. It also makes it official and easier to document for tax purposes plus most will use specialist accountants for contractors & freelancers to ensure everything is done correctly.

Getting the right person

If you advertise a job or look through people offering a service you require, there will always be plenty. So how do you choose the right freelancer from the crowds?

Websites that act as intermediaries between freelancers and clients, as mentioned, are a good idea to try. Most use a feedback system where customers can rate freelancers and gives you an idea of their standard of work. Many freelancers will have their own website but this may not be regularly updated as working for clients is more important than making their website look great – it often isn’t a source of business anyway. Recruitment companies also offer a similar service in their specific industry.

Look at the going rate for the job and pick someone who is sensible. Don’t always go for the cheapest option as this may result in cheap work – a combination of a sensible price and good feedback is a great indicator of a quality freelancer.

While a freelancer may not be a specialist in your area, you want someone who is willing to learn. So while they may not know much about your industry, their willingness to research whatever is needed and ask questions is another good indicator. Quality of communications is another element of this – if they can’t make sense when messaging with you, this might indicate a trying working relationships!

Finally, be upfront about what you need, your timescales and your budget. It saves a lot of time for both parties and quickly allows you both to see if you are a good fit for each other. Being cagey and vague isn’t a benefit for either of you.

Background Checks for Candidates 

Close-up image of employer reading cv of job candidate

Finding the right candidate for a job is about getting a number of things together. You want the person with the right experience, approach and qualifications. You want someone who is enthusiastic about their new role and will fit in well with the team. Sometimes it can be easy to focus on all of this and forget about the important background checks for candidates. After all, there’s no point in getting the perfect candidate then finding out there is some reason that prevents them from taking the job.

Getting It Right

So what are the basic checks for employers that should be carried out for most all employees before they start in a position? The first one is the identity check. Make sure that you get the candidate’s authorisation before you start carrying out checks to ensure you comply with data protection regulations.

Next, you need to establish that the person is who they say they are. Often this will involve providing two forms of photo ID and one that confirms the address of the person or a similar makeup. The documents need to be originals and from a trustworthy and reliable source as well as being valid, dated and current – the best documents are ones that are difficult to forge such as passports or driving licenses.

After ID is firmly established, you may next want to perform a Criminal Records Bureau check, now known as a Disclosure and Barring Service or DBS checks. There is a form to complete along with the paperwork confirming the person’s identity, although there are now quite a few businesses that provide online background checks. Once the checks are complete, the employee is provided with a certificate that is presented to the potential employer. There are three levels of this check depending on the type of job in question – standard, enhanced and enhanced with list checks.

Further Checks

Once you have established their ID, you need to also check to see if they have the ‘right to work’ in the UK. This involves taking copies of documents confirming they are able to work in the UK as well as identity check paperwork to confirm the person is who they say they are.

Some jobs may require a health check before an employee can take up a position. This may be if the job requires it or for legal reasons, such as an eye test for drivers of commercial vehicles. Written consent is required before this check can be carried out and employees can ask to have a copy of the report, ask for information to be changed and even deny it to an employer if they want.

Background Checks

Many companies now consider conducting background checks before the interview process to establish some of this information in advance. This can help find the candidates who are withholding information and save the company money and time in putting them through the interview and full checks process. Third party companies can often provide these services to save the employer having to do so and these companies will have a better understanding of how and where to get this information, making for a quicker and more efficient proves.