Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!
This Week’s Question: In our travels, we’ve spoken to many employers who love working with freelancers. Now, however, we want to know if there are any companies out there that aren’t so fond of freelancers. So, we ask: Why does your company avoid working with freelancers?
Note: We’re not here to hate on freelancers! Be sure to check out our previous Q&A, where we extolled their virtues. Ultimately, it’s up to every business owner to decide whether or not freelancers are right for their needs.
1. They Don’t Always Respect Deadlines
Although they can provide us with great work, 9 times out of 10, the deadlines are not respected and communication is faulty. Being the intermediary between a client and a very busy freelancer can be a real problem, especially when you’re under deadline pressure. We’ve tried different ways to manage the process and prevent bottlenecks, but it just doesn’t always work.
I’d always rather deal with the hassle of managing 20 full-time employees internally than working with freelancers.
— Georgiana Ghiciuc , Beaglecat
2. They’re Not Necessarily Loyal
There are quality freelancers out there, but in most situations, freelancers have no company loyalty. By design, they jump from one job to the next. Their goal is to maximize income by submitting the most minimally acceptable deliverables so they have more time to work with more clients. Employees, on the other hand, are vested in their work and in the company they work for.
— David Casal, Scranton Products
3. They Can’t Help You Build for the Future
When you’re building a clearly defined product and just want something done, freelancers can do the trick. However, with any task that involves feedback or on-going projects, you’re going to want to have it run by people with a sense of ownership. Hire employees when you are looking long-term and can see a path of growth not only for the product, but the person. As your employees become subject experts in their areas, there is no substitute for the value they bring with input and improvements.
— Miles Jennings, Recruiter.com
4. They Don’t Always Understand What You Want
A lot of people (like myself) find out about sites like Upwork.com or Freelancer.com after reading an eBook or seeing someone online raving about them. They make the inexpensive labor sound like the magical end to all of life’s problems.
One thing these types of books/manuals tend to leave out is how important it is to make sure your freelancers understand your instructions. One of the first jobs I hired for included sending emails to a highly targeted following that I’d personally built up through blogging and consulting with lawyers during my time as a freelancer. A lot of the people on the list had either received proposals or were really loyal followers.
The agent I hired was from the Philippines. I gave her an email template that said something like:
‘Dear Mr. or Ms. ______
I’m Anne with Spectacle Marketing…’
She sent out more than 100 emails with that text exactly. It was humiliating.
— Juston Smith, Spectacle Marketing Design, LLC
5. Communication Can Be Very Difficult
It’s very difficult to work with someone you’re not physically with. Explaining something simple becomes complicated. There is a lack of process, and quality-wise, you can’t expect that much. The worst part is, you can never seem to get hold of the person – especially when there’s something that needs to get done at that instant!
— Jane Dizon, Enerpan
6. They Can’t Help You Build a Culture
If you’re working on building a strong company culture, you need permanent, full-time employees who are committed to the company and – as importantly – to whom your company is committed.
You can visit any agency website ever, and they all talk about the strong culture that is an important recruiting tool for the creative class. Their jobs aren’t just jobs – they live and breathe their work as an intellectual pursuit, as part of the knowledge economy, and they want the work culture to be a good fit. You can’t build that culture with an assortment of freelancers, who are paid for work and deliverables – not for playing foosball and drinking beer on Friday afternoons or even for attending all-hands meetings on Monday mornings. If culture is a priority, freelancers shouldn’t be.
— Gretchen Roberts, Smoky Labs
7. They Don’t Bring ‘Intangible Assets’ to Your Company
If you want to grow an innovative company – where employees know the business and will come up with great ideas – you need to cultivate such a culture. Intangible assets, such as great customer relations, great customer service, proactive innovation, and mistake prevention, can only be built by stable employees. Beware of placing your future in the hands of freelancers – or you might end up being one yourself.
— John Vespasian, Author