Every small business owner knows that hiring outstanding employees requires a fair amount of work and due diligence. From creating detailed job descriptions, sifting through resumes, setting up interviews, and number-crunching fair compensation rates, there’s plenty to consider before heading into the hiring process.

The process changes when you’re looking to hire freelance workers who you may not ever meet face-to-face. There are several added caveats that can make the process even more complex—but with the right tips and tricks in mind, you won’t have to stress about the trials and tribulations of the ever-expanding and evolving gig economy.

Using this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to hire a reliable freelancer and how to ensure you’re setting your business up for success for years to come.

Step 1: Outline your goals, needs, and requirements

To hire a freelancer that meets your needs you first need to have a firm grasp on what those are. This means carefully outlining your budget and business goals and determining the skills and work ethic you expect from your future freelancer. Start with the following checklist:

1. Determine what your business needs from a freelancer.

2. Outline the project you need completed, a deadline, and the specific details on what will make a successful and impressive deliverable.

3. Determine the length of the project and your forecasted budget.

4. Check out freelancer job boards to find qualified candidates.

5. Carefully review and screen potential hires.

Step 2: Post the job on a reputable site

If you don’t have time to look through job boards for freelancers ready to work, take the stress off your shoulders by posting the job on a reputable classifieds site. Whether you choose Crowd Content, Upwork, or Fiverr, posting your job makes it easy for you to put your offer out there and have compatible (and passionate) workers come to you.

3. Pre-screen to get a feel for your freelancer

Before you put all of your eggs into one basket with one or two outstanding resumes, it pays to pre-screen potential hires before settling. There is so much more that goes into screening a prospective freelancer than you may initially think, and it’s well worth your while to explore the person behind the page.

Conducting a preliminary screening over the phone or via video conference is a great way to get the ball rolling remotely. You won’t need to know how to do a background check on someone, and you don’t need to worry about reserving a conference room in the office when hiring a telecommuter.

4. Master the art of a clear, concise job description

Your job description is the first interaction potential hires will have with your company. It’s important to put together a job description that is clear, concise, and covers every base so candidates have a good sense of your organization and expectations. Before jumping the gun and posting a bang-up job of a description onto your preferred classified site, take the time to ensure it conveys the right message and makes a persuasive and attractive first impression.

Not sure where to begin with your job listing? Here are a few things we recommended including:

• Roles & responsibilities

• Overview of qualifications

• Information about company culture & benefits

• Plainly stated directions on how to apply

In addition to these must-have points, depending on the type of job you’re hiring for, you may need to include legal disclaimers on your job listing. Use your HR representative as a resource to make sure you’re covering all of your bases.

5. Fine-tune your interview tactics

Job interviews aren’t always as insightful as you initially intended if you don’t execute with careful pre-planning. Before stepping into an interview, set a meeting with your internal team to come up with a list of your top priorities and valuable qualities that your perfect candidate must have. Try out these stellar interview questions:

• “Why should we hire you?”

• “What can we expect from you in your first three months?”

• “What tools do you use, or have experience with?”

With these key components in mind, coming up with a list of questions that will better prepare you for the evaluation of a potential hire is made simple.

Did we miss anything? What tried and true tips do you use to ensure you’re hiring a reliable freelancer? Let us know in the comments below!