Working as a freelancer is growing to be the go-to option, especially in the IT space. The sector requires technical expertise and flexibility, as well as opportunities to develop and grow. Employers tend to value maturity and the extensive experience that goes with this as they usually look for someone who can jump right in and start the job immediately, with minimum fuss, and no extra training needed. This is where freelancers can step in and save the day.
What are some tech skills that are growing in demand for freelancers?
The skillsets required are normally based on your project at hand. By sharing a well-rounded job description, freelancers can then understand how to amplify their competency in the relevant skills required.
Currently, the IT skills we see that are in demand include search engine optimisation (SEO) for content writing, user experience or user interface (UX/UI) for design, web or mobile application development, software testing, and cybersecurity.
When it comes to experience, there is an increasing trend in enquiries from employers looking for freelancers who have experience with emerging technologies such as:
- Data science
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Machine Learning (ML)
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
- Blockchain technology
Nevertheless, there are universal strengths that make good IT freelancers stand out from the crowd. Here are some of the additional qualities you should look out for when seeking new talent.
Any freelancer will need to hit the ground running, so it is always good to look for candidates that pride themselves on adding value quickly and who want to find solutions to business problems.
When you are getting to know your potential freelancers, ask them to provide examples of previous work scenarios where they have made a difference. You may also want to give them some scenarios they could face in an upcoming role, to see how they would solve key challenges.
Vocal and communicative of their views
Having freelancers in your team can give your company a fresh perspective of your project and this is a crucial aspect for IT companies to stay competitive.
Research has proven that it just takes one outsider to completely change the way a business operates for better or how a project could be executed more effectively. Therefore, be sure to look out for someone who is open to sharing their views and opinions but is also tactful in terms of understanding the ways of your business. It is also good to have a candidate who can occasionally share unique perspectives.
Freelancers need to switch quickly from one job to another, so you need to find candidates that can adjust to new surroundings seamlessly. They might need to focus on different aspects of their skillset from job to job, which requires flexibility and an ability to play to their strengths.
If you have a candidate with experience in multiple areas, identify what is most important to you and get them to share examples of how they have utilised them. Additionally, if you successfully place that candidate, you will need to brief them clearly on what area of expertise secured the role, so that they know where to focus their efforts.
It sounds obvious, but good workers put in hard graft, and therefore you need to ensure that potential candidates have good time-keeping skills and strong levels of commitment. A reliable freelancer does not just turn up on time for meetings, they also stick to agreed deadlines and deliver top quality work, as well as managing the expectations of their colleagues and managers.
If a potential employer has a particular set of values or responsibilities that the successful freelancer will need to meet, it is always beneficial to brief candidates during the recruitment process. This way, they will exceed expectations and get off on the right foot – setting the tone for both their contract and your abilities as a recruiter.
Given the nature of short-term contract work, successful candidates need to deliver value quickly. This is only possible if they are well organised and able to assess and prioritise tasks, to maximise their productivity.
Quizzing potential candidates on their organisational skills is a good way to determine which workers can manage their time and workload effectively. You may want to set out scenarios for them to analyse, such as giving them a to-do list and asking them to sort it in order of importance or suggesting situations in which strong organisation is key and listening to how they would approach each challenge.
How should your company determine who is the right hire?
With all temporary and fixed-term contract candidates, the key is not just to evaluate their skills but also to identify the strengths that are best suited for the role.
From on-boarding to contract extensions to off-boarding, our contracts team from Computer Futures will be here to support you. We want to continue to maintain symbiotic relationships with all our freelancers so do reach out to us if you have any concerns or queries during this unprecedented time.