Why You Should Never Ask A Freelancer For Their CV
Recently, I’ve seen a few job opportunity ads for Virtual Assistants where they’ve been asked to send their CV to apply.
While it might seem perfectly acceptable to understand the skills and experience of someone you want to hire, you need to remember that you’re not hiring a freelancer to work for your business but paying them to work on a certain task or aspect of your business.
It might not sound like there’s much difference between the two, but a freelancer isn’t an employee. If you go about outsourcing in the same way as you would hire an employee, you’re setting yourself up for a fail, here’s why.
You’re hiring a professional, not an employee
In most cases, the freelancer you hire is going to be more qualified, skilled, and experienced in what you’re hiring them for than you are. That’s pretty much the point, they’re getting the tasks or project done that you can’t do by yourself, either because you lack the time, drive, or the skills to do so.
While asking to see a CV to see proof of skills and experience might seem like a good idea, what does it actually tell you? It’s a list of qualifications and time spent in certain jobs, but that’s about it. There’s nothing in there that tells you how good they are, or not.
So, an impressive CV could land you with a freelancer that really isn’t up to the job.
Instead, an experienced freelancer will happily share their skills and expertise with you in more appropriate ways. Their website, for instance, will have case studies and testimonials from other business owners giving an honest review of their work and usually for the skills or tasks you’re looking to outsource to rather than seeing a distinction for a generic qualification on a CV that could cover so much, you really have no idea if it’s relevant to what you want or not.
You can also jump on to a consultation call with them to hear about their experiences, skills, and relevant past projects where they did something similar to what you need, how it went, and how it’d work for you too.
Remember that freelancers are business owners too
When you hire an employee it’s their time you’re paying for, they’re there for x number of hours usually and you can call on them during that time to get your tasks done, even if they work remotely and might not even be in the same country as you!
While hiring a freelancer might seem like the same thing, it’s not. How they choose to use their time is completely up to them, so long as they do the work set out in the scope of work/contract and fulfill the time obligations agreed to (if any) – when and how they do so is completely up to them.
I think there’s a risk when you ask for a CV and use an interview type approach to outsourcing that you’re in the mindset that you’re “the boss” and they’re “an employee”. This kind of thinking is often what leads to communication difficulties and “problems” with your freelancer. You might think it’s fine to send an email at 2 pm on a workday and get a response by close of business, but your freelancer is probably working on another client’s project right now or might not even work standard office hours at all!
A freelancer will work with you on a collaborative basis, they’ll explain how and when to communicate with them, when you can expect a response, how they work and how they’ll keep you informed.
It’s like hiring a cake-maker for a special event – you tell them what you want and when. They then bring the finished cake when it’s ready. You don’t need to see their CV to see all the different companies they’ve worked for, you don’t need to email or ring them several times to discuss how they’re going to get the cake made, which ingredients they’re using or where they’re sourcing them from, and you don’t pay them by the hour keeping a close eye on the time – you just allow them to get on with the job and trust their skills and expertise.
Working with a freelancer is much the same.
You might fall foul of IR35 regulations
IR35 regulations mean you need to be very careful about ensuring you’re treating Virtual Assistants and other freelancers as the independent business owners they are, and not as employees of your business.
Part of proving this is the documentation from your outsourcing process. Collecting CVs and arranging interviews is employee-based, and if this is what you’re doing it might raise questions if you’re interviewed by HRMC at any point regarding the IR35 regulations.
The best approach to take when outsourcing to a freelancer to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible, and you keep on the right side of the law, is to forget about CVs and hiring someone to work for you. You’re hiring a professional to get a job done, treat your freelancer like the professional they are, and you really will get the fantastic results you’re looking for.