One of the biggest challenges of a startup or growing small business is to find the right people for the right seat on the bus. You often find yourself with a part-time need from a very qualified individual.
Can you take advantage of the Global effects of Web to help with your search?
You bet you can! There are a number of platforms for sourcing freelancers or contract hires. As you can see from this graphic, many of these platforms are drawing hundreds of thousands of visits each month. That translates into a ready pool of talent for you.
Here is what we can share from personal experience.
oDesk - This is the latest platform that we tried and we love it. There are so many ways to search, there is such a rich group of contractors and you can find incredibly cost-effective offerings. We're going to deep dive into oDesk shortly.
First, lets take a quick look at some other options.
Guru - They claim to be the world's largest online freelancer marketplace, with over 1,000,000 freelancers to choose from. We've used it before and found some great project teams... and some not so great. For a while, we offered a service to help with freelancer screening process (We did a series of posts on how to effectively screen freelancers ). Guru was our favorite for a while and we wrote a blog comparing Guru with elance and rentacoder.
eLance, rentacoder (now vWorker.com) and getafreelancer - We've heard of good results for these but haven't used them personally. They appear to be an especially great source for copywriters, coders and web designers. The Compete graph above shows eLance to have the most traffic of the sites that we surveyed in Compete.
As for oDesk, we were impressed by the ability to search across so many different criteria - areas of expertise, feedback from other clients, number of tests passed, test scores compared to their peer group, experience in hours, rates and more. Take a look at the dashboard below illustrating a search for SEM professionals. We recently posted an entry on "ODesk vs Elance" and how they compare.
With over 300 qualification tests available on oDesk, there are a wide range of hard skills you can use to sort out the freelancers you'd prefer to work with.
Properly finding a freelancer needs a significant time investment. Beyond finding your ideal candidate based on qualifications, tests, references and rates, you need to check references. You should also gauge responsiveness and communication. We recommend starting with a small project and growing from there.
Have you used any of these platforms? If you have, please share your experience with us. Are there other freelance platforms, freelance marketplaces or freelance forums our readers should know about?