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The Realities of Business - what do employers really think?

Why do businesses hire certain freelancers and not others? Is it all about experience, day rate or quality?

Matt Dowling
15th February 2016
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How do employers filter applicants and what processes do they use to decide who the best person for the job is? The Freelancer Club definitely knows a thing or two about the art of hiring.

We see so many eclectic applications for each job it’s as if the applicants are from different worlds. When freelancers try to stand out it can work one of two ways; it can land them the job or blow their chances completely so knowing what employers are looking for is a big advantage. Each employer will have their own set of criteria but there are four general rules that most will look for when hiring freelance talent.


The Portfolio

Not just reserved for photographers and models, the portfolio can represent a body of work from writers, graphic designers or even builders. However, employers can tell a great deal about a person based solely on their portfolio. The quality of work, who they’ve worked with, their level of professionalism, their attention to detail, their tastes based on their portfolio choices and their individual style are all details good employers can ascertain from a portfolio. Some can even have a good stab at how long candidates have been in the industry.

At the Freelancer Club we’ve been hiring creative freelancers for many years and never once looked at a CV. Visual industries look for visual work so only show your strongest achievements that are relevant to the job.



Putting the obvious traits like punctuality and a strong work ethic to one side, professionalism starts with an email address. The majority of employers look for a simple email address, however if you’re a freelancer, a Gmail or Hotmail account isn’t going to cut it. If you’re looking to build a brand then an email that is reflective of this will make a positive statement to employers.  When it comes to freelancing, it’s all about perception to begin with and professionalism is judged the moment you click send.

Poor spelling is another major bugbear for employers particularly if you’re going for a role that involves writing. Keep your email short and sweet with a link to your work that relates to the job. Make it as easy as possible for the employer to see your work, CV or application without having to trawl through heaps of text, links or images. For freelance roles, they are generally short jobs that need to be filled quickly so hit them with your strongest, relevant work, first.



This particular trait is often the deal breaker. Freelancing generally involves collaboration meaning you have to work in harmony with others. An individual with a single vision or bad attitude, no matter how talented, is often going to derail the project and drive down the quality of the rest of the team. Freelancers who are easy to work with, helpful and go above and beyond to get the job done are often the ones who do well. We’ve hired freelancers who sometimes do not have as much experience as others because we know they are going to bring a positive energy to the group that will improve the overall project. 



Lastly, it’s all about the bottom line. Most of you reading this probably think that employers look for the cheaper option. However, that’s not how most employers think at all. In fact, too cheap is as bad as too expensive. Employers are generally happy to pay the price that aligns with the quality of the freelancer. How to value yourself is for another article but it pays to experiment and get an independent expert to guide your price points.


The Freelancer Club helps creative freelancers make new connections, develop their business skills and access paid jobs. To apply for membership click here. Use voucher code: PRO5 to experience Pro Membership for only £5.




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