The benefits of getting your work done on an online job marketplace are clear: Real-time access to a vast pool of skilled Providers, the ability to better manage your staff by ramping up and down when you need to, zero time spent training, results-based transactions, and more.
However, choosing one expert out of tens of thousands available today can be a daunting task for the uninitiated. You have to make sure that they’re really experts (unlike Huey over here). Before you try your luck and pick one at random, glance over these notes. The following four tips can help you get the right Provider for your next project, whether it is a small $500 job or a $500,000 monster.
Scope the profile
If you’re looking for a Provider on an online job marketplace like Elance, you’ll typically be presented with a “profile” page that offers the initial introduction and first impression from the Provider. These pages feature several self-filled summary, experience, and credentials sections and also display overall feedback and testimonials that other clients have filled out. Don’t just glaze over this section – a profile page often times can be a direct reflection of the work that will come. It’s probably safe to assume that someone who spends a good amount of time fleshing out their profile page will likely do the same for your work.
Study the feedback
The feedback section of these profile pages offers clues and insights into the Provider’s work that normally may not be surfaced. Don’t just stare at the overall score – get into the nitty gritty to gain as much context as possible. Read the customer testimonials, Job Descriptions, proposal amounts, and date of transaction as well. The feedback section can often times make or break the choice in your selection process, so make sure you get the full, unabridged story by collecting as much data as possible before jumping in to your final decision.
See the portfolio
This one doesn’t apply to all job types, but for some disciplines, like graphic design, web design, and writing, a well-furnished portfolio can go a long, long way. Not only do you get some ball-park knowledge on the scale of the jobs the Provider has conducted in the past, you can also get a preview in terms of their overall style and can also see if it’s something like what you’re looking for.
Conduct the interview
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, getting some one on one time with the Provider is a great way to establish a comfortable relationship. IM, dial-up phone, or real-time messaging or voice communication tools like the ones available on Elance are easy ways to get you in touch before, during, and after the job is completed. Even though you may not think it, knowing that someone is just a click or call away will bring a welcome bit of peace of mind regardless of the job size.
The variety of skills available to you at this very moment is truly astonishing, but the secret to success is being able to wade through the masses to find the perfect Provider for you. Whether you’re looking for a PHP programmer, SEO and SEM master, virtual assistant, Excel jockey, or anything in between, be sure to take these tips into consideration when conducting online work. After all, this is serious business.