There are a lot of freelancers out there. So if you need to develop an app, or fix something or whatever, you will get dozens of proposals in a matter of hours. But don’t be fooled, it doesn’t mean that you have dozens of viable candidates really. Writing a good job posting is 90% of success in finding the professional you need. So here are a few tips to make hiring much easier and smooth.
Include a simple instruction in job posting… and watch how everyone ignores it
It’s really ridiculous. Try including a sentence “start your application with the word ‘banana’ “. It doesn’t have to be somewhere in the middle, it can be right at the beginning and all caps. And still, I would say up to 80% of applicants will ignore it. The application will include how the applicant and his team has 15 years experience with Node.js (although it was released 11 years ago), long passages about how client-oriented they are and a list of a hundred apps they developed (which you can’t really verify). But if they ignore your requirements before they get the contract, why would they change after that?
Include screening questions, but preferably simple
So the previous tip would let you filter out up to 80% of applicants. If you want to filter out some more, include a simple screening question. Like “what do scopes in Laravel do?”, “what to watchers do in vue.js?”, . Just remember the purpose of this question is not to check the skill of the candidate (I guess no single question can do that). Again you do that to filter out mass bidders, who just don’t care about your project and those proposals are rarely written by people who even remotely know what’s going on.
Leave a place for an obvious question
That’s for extra credit I guess. For example, one job posting I recently applied to was about an app which had separate “post” and “article” features, but the difference was nowhere explained. Now that way you can shortlist candidates who really took time to study your requirements.
Upwork-specific: create an hourly job if you want a fair calculation
I hate when clients do that: when they want to work on a fixed-price contract but create an hourly job posting, so you find this out only after putting a lot of effort (if you want to find hourly pay). But I admit that’s effective. The thing is: otherwise the people who apply for your job see this:
And most of them won’t care about calculating how much effort your project needs, they’ll just know that need to bid something in the neighborhood of $481.
So a lot of people now create an hourly and only then ask for a cost estimation. Yes, it sucks for me as a contractor, but I get where this is coming from.
Now a few Don’ts
As much as it is important to include some things to filter out bad candidates, it is equally important not to alienate the right ones.
Try to avoid words like “simple”
Every developer knows that the things that take the most time are very rarely the things they thought would take the most time. If the clients new how much time it sometimes takes to make one fancy button thingy work the right way as opposed to “serious” tasks like database architecture, they would be really mad. That’s why you should always be sceptical of all hourly estimates the developers prepare for you (myself included) because it’ll never include stuff like “we’ll create migrations and the DB structure in 2.5 hours, but then we’ll spend 2 days trying to make that popup work on safari”. So by putting a word simple into a job description, you’re just sending a message that you’ll get mad if the task takes more time than you thought. And the reality is there’s always such a possibility.
Don’t be arrogant
It’s generally a bad idea to include phrases like “don’t waste my time”, describing how you had a bad experience with a previous developer or agency or describing your prejudices about coutnries, races or nationalities. I can assure you, a bad developer won’t think “this poor client already had a bad experience, so I better not apply, because they’ve had enough”. So all this doesn’t really protect you from anything, it just shows you’re not in the mood.
Better avoid generic questions
I guess upwork offers you to include these questions to job postings and maybe it’s just me but I hate that when I see one of the following:
– Do you have suggestions to make this project run successfully?
– Why do you think you are a good fit for this particular project?
– Which part of this project do you think will take the most time?
– What challenging part of this job are you most experienced in?
– Why did you apply to this particular job?Screening questions to a generic “change slider images on my wordpress site”
First, it makes a job posting look like a beauty pageant. Almost like “describe how this app can make the world a better place”. Second is that way you attract the copy-pasting crowd. They will definitely attach you a 10-page resume listing all the languages they know and all the successful apps they’ve already built. Also, a lot of great developers are shy and bad at self-promoting. And their first reflex would be to think “maybe I am not a good fit for this particular project?”, “maybe there are tons of people who are better than me?”. And I would say these are the people you should attract.
The third question is a good one sometimes, but very rarely you can answer something meaningful here (like I personally think complex documents’ pdf generation through PHP takes a lot of time, or frontend optimization of complex apps for Safari takes a lot of time, but you rarely can say that from the details in the job description).
So yes, include the right questions, avoid wrong ones, attract the best, filter out the worst. This way I think you can filter out 90% of the wrong candidates and attract a few right ones. Or you can simply hire us: