Have I Hired the Wrong Person? | Hiring Freelancers with Twine

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If you hire a freelancer that turns out to be the wrong person, it may feel like the only way out of this mess is to fire them.

Don’t jump the gun and fire them straight away though! Firing a freelancer to then hire a new one is a massive upheaval, and could delay your project even further. Depending on what went wrong, your relationship with your freelancer could still be salvaged.

In this article, we’re going to talk through the main reasons why your freelancer may be the wrong candidate, and what to do when you figure this out!

Missing Deadlines:

world clocks showing different timezones

Often the most important parts of the project is delivering work on time. No matter the timezone, your freelancer should be adjusted to remote work, and understand how to thoroughly manage their time. The wrong person, on the other hand, might not realise the serious damage this causes…

If you hire someone who fails to do this, everything in your project can be consequently affected. Your freelancer needs to stick to their promise of working to a deadline – otherwise, this can lead to a breakdown in trust.

A missing deadline situation needs to be solved, and fast.

What you can do:

When you hire freelancers, you expect the time management side to be taken care of. So, first things first, find out why your work was delayed.

This needn’t be an instant firing situation if your freelancer has a good reason, and can provide the finished work quickly. Sometimes, there really are genuine unforeseeable reasons for lateness – sickness, family emergency, internet cut off etc...

But, there are also excuses for lateness that can definitely be avoided. Keep track of freelancers who give poor excuses for lateness, and if they repeat offend – fire them.

Sloppy Work:

messy workspace littered with rubbish and paper, with person working on computer in centre

Typos, bad proofreading, mistakes, poor-quality work that took a fraction of the time you were quoted… these are all signs you hired the wrong person, and they delivered some sloppy work.

Now, don’t get us wrong – when you’re hiring someone, it may not be obvious that the end results will be sloppy – their portfolios are probably immaculate. Don’t think for a second it is your fault, as it’s more to do with what’s going on with your freelancer and the project.

Sloppy work, for example, can be a sign that your freelancer is not excited by your project and is just going through the motions in order to get paid. It can also be a symptom of the freelancer taking on too much work from lots of different clients, and struggling to meet deadlines. Either way, it’s a bad hire and they’re the wrong person for you.

What you can do:

Talk to your freelancer about the mistakes in their work. If there was a genuine reason why they needed to rush through your project, maybe them a second chance?

However, even if this is the case, they should have been open and honest about not having enough time to complete your project to the highest standard. The freelancer should correct the mistakes in their work free of charge.

If you find your freelancer worker does this time and again, even after your warnings, you know what to do…

The Completed Work Is All Wrong:

wrong way sign seen in sunny America

Worst comes worst – you get the final project sent over to your inbox, and it turns out it’s nothing like what you wanted. Uh oh, now what!?

Finding that the finished work just isn’t what you asked for is a very frustrating situation indeed.

Usually, this is down to communication. Either you didn’t give the freelancer a clear brief/didn’t explain your brief very well, OR they didn’t listen to what you were asking for.

If it’s the latter, it looks like you may have made a hiring mistake and took on the wrong person…

What you can do:

This situation with your hired freelancer can be a pretty bitter pill to swallow.

Unfortunately, both parties are at fault – as both haven’t communicated with each other often or clearly enough. You should be checking in with your freelancer regularly so that you can catch work that’s wrong before it’s too late.

Try giving a clearer brief and asking your freelancer to explain the project back to you. If they can demonstrate a clear understanding of your project, maybe it isn’t all doom and gloom, and they can correctly move forward with the project.

If not, we’re sorry to say, they’re probably just not right for you, and you should think about hiring someone more suited to your project…

Don’t Have The Skills You Need:

baby wearing headphones

If your freelancer doesn’t have the appropriate skills needed to complete your project, they’re the wrong person for you. So, you need to hire a person who’s right.

What you can do:

Easy – let them go and find someone else who has the skills you truly need.

When you’re freelancer-hunting in the future, make sure to double-check that the people you hire actually have the skills they say they do. You can do this by checking their portfolios for past work, or checking out testimonials from previous clients.

Disappearing Off-grid:

man carrying his suitcase and leaving

If your freelancer suddenly disappears without a trace, and can’t be contacted, you could be left in a panic.

Instantly, you assume the worst – they’ve ditched you, and your project and the finished work will never see the light of day...

Whilst this is definitely a possibility, there are genuine reasons why a freelancer might not contact you for a while. There may have been a family emergency. Or, a power cut. Or, they could simply be so busy working on your project, that they simply failed to realize you were trying to contact them?

Either way, it’s not excellent conduct to leave their client in the dark – so here are some ways you can manage this type of nightmare.

What you can do:

If your freelancer isn’t already aware, you should tell them that this is not cool.

This kind of behavior causes mass hysteria among clients and is highly unprofessional. You need to establish expectations.

If you send an email, tell them you expect a reply within a certain timeframe. Set up frequent check-in sessions to maintain regular communication with your freelancer.

You should both be doing your best to keep the lines of communication open, so if your hired professional doesn’t adhere to these rules, you know it’s time to let them go.

Acting Unprofessional:

design of someone holding phone with an exclamation mark on the screen showing unprofessional behaviour

Freelancers generally operate outside the corporate office environment, so they can sometimes appear more informal and less professional in their manner than their corporate counterparts.

However, this is no excuse for rudeness. It obviously depends on the context, but rudeness could be a sign that your freelancer doesn’t really care for your business.

What you can do:

We can’t stress this enough: any rudeness in any shape or form, should NOT be tolerated – whether freelancer or client.

Let your freelancer know that behaving like this, as a professional, simply isn’t acceptable. If they fail to comply with your request, then firing them is quite possibly the best option.

Some may argue this situation can be difficult, as, if they’re doing great work but they’re a rude person, you could consider sticking with it until the end of the project. Then, once you’ve received your work, you could let them know – in a professional manner – why you won’t be working with them again.

Although, if you do choose to do this, make sure to leave a testimonial so that other clients can be wary of them...

Making Your Life Difficult:

woman sat at work with pencil in her mouth stressed

You hired a professional freelancer to do a job for you. They should be able to carry out that job with minimal fuss and maximum professionalism.

If you find that your freelancer has constant queries, needs a lot of direction/hand-holding, and is very demanding of your time, they sound like the wrong person.

This could be a sign that the person you hired is a novice, in which case, if you’re paying a cheaper rate, this could make up for the extra hand-holding you’re having to do. If they’re seasoned professionals, you need to ask yourself why they’re displaying this behavior.

What you can do:

If your freelancer is a junior, they’ll need extra guidance and will have a lot of questions, which they may need your help with. If your freelancer is a more experienced professional, there could be two reasons why they’re struggling:

Number 1 They don’t know what they’re doing. A freelancer who has lied about their experience will only make your life harder. Instead of just being able to get on with the job, they’ll nag and get stuck.

You could try and set boundaries, however, if they genuinely need your help, you may need to help them out. If they become too much of a problem, you should probably let another one bite the dust, and find someone else with more experience.

Number 2They want some human contact. Seriously, this is more common than you think. Freelancing can be an isolating profession – so having a bit of constant interaction can feel like a breath of fresh air for them!

It’s important to set clear boundaries about when is acceptable to contact you, or other sources they should go to for more social stimulation.

It might be nice to invite them to your team meetings, or if possible, to a team lunch, to make them feel included.

And there you have it – our step-by-step guide to figuring out if you hired the wrong person, and what to do if you have. Freelancers are great! Just because you got the wrong one for your project, doesn’t mean the whole bunch is bad.

Be sure to check out our other articles on hiring a freelancer, the right way, so you don’t make a mistake like hiring the wrong person!

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After studying English Literature at university, Vicky decided she didn’t want to be either a teacher or whoever it is that writes those interminable mash-up novels about Jane Austen and pirates, so sensibly moved into graphic design.

She worked freelance for some time on various projects before starting at Twine and giving the site its unique, colourful look.

Despite having studied in Manchester and spent some years in Cheshire, she’s originally from Cumbria and stubbornly refuses to pick up a Mancunian accent. A keen hiker, Vicky also shows her geographic preferences by preferring the Cumbrian landscape to anything more local.