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How to Attract and Build a Talent Pool of Freelancers

Lee Willoughby
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Companies need to attract new workers amidst this talent shortage. In the US, labor force participation is at an all-time low. More than 10 million job openings exist, but only 5.8 million workers are available to fill them. 

On the flip side, freelancers want steady streams of projects to work on. 

The solution? Freelance talent pools.

The problem? Not everyone knows how to create, manage, and attract top talent to join their freelance talent pools. So, here we'll discuss how to achieve exactly that, but first:

What's a Freelance Talent Pool? 

Before we go any further, let's ensure we're all on the same page by clarifying what we mean by a 'freelance talent pool.' In short, this is a network of independent contractors (and possibly former employees and job candidates) that form a centralized resource. Typically, this enables quicker access to prospective candidates because it negates the need to start from scratch whenever you need help with your next project. 

Plus, as these workers are self-employed, you can hire their assistance without the financial and administrative burden of offering a permanent position -win-win! 

Needless to say, the bigger your freelance talent pool, the more options you have... 

When you have workers with the right skills and experience at your disposal, you're more likely to be able to launch projects that you otherwise wouldn't have the capacity for. Similarly, you might gain access to a range of skills and expertise that, again, you otherwise wouldn't benefit from. 

Another perk is that this recruitment method is usually executed entirely online. As such, you're not restricted by physical location, enabling you to stay in touch with the best possible talent, regardless of geography. 

With these stats in mind, the question becomes how to move forward with a freelance sourcing strategy.

Hurdles You Might Face While Establishing a Freelance Talent Pool

So, now that we've explained the perks of having a freelance talent pool, let's get into the nitty-gritty practicalities. Below, we'll walk through the steps involved in creating a freelancer talent pool, as well as some of the stumbling blocks you might face:

  1. Creating a database: First things first, we need a centralized place to house our talent. For instance, you could start with an Excel spreadsheet listing your available freelance workers and manually record their contact details, skills, portfolio links, etc. But, of course, if you have a large talent pool, this demands lots of time and effort.

  2. Managing your database: Once you have your database, you'll need to work out how you'll invite freelancers to collaborate when an appropriate project arises, how you'll contact them (and vice-versa), timetabling, how you'll pay them, etc. In essence, you need to establish how you'll manage your freelancers. 

  3. Make an offer: Making an offer to a candidate may seem simple. However, it’s essential to remember that hiring a freelancer from your talent pool is still subject to local law. Suppose your contractor is based in another country. In that case, you might have to account for different tax and employment regulations to ensure compliance. It’s also at this point where contracts have to be negotiated and exchanged between the various parties involved. Often, this involves sending copious emails back and forth and a fair amount of administrative red tape to ensure documents are compliant and safely stored away. 

  4. Onboarding: Next, you’ll need a system in place to integrate your new talent with your existing workforce. You’ll also need to ensure they’re up to speed with the project they’re working on and have everything they need to complete the task(s) to the best of their ability.

When you put all of the above together, it seems like creating and managing a talent pool is time-consuming and tedious, an issue that will only escalate as your talent pool grows. 

So, we think it’s safe to say that talent pools, managed like the above description, will likely present a barrier to agile hiring. But, as research explains, quickly adapting to the labor market is a crucial indicator of productivity, and outsourcing is a big proponent of this. 

So, then, what’s the solution?

Freelance Management Systems

When you hear the term "freelance management system," you might imagine a spreadsheet that tracks your freelancer's hours and calculates pay. However, it's way more than that.

What’s a freelance management system? Freelance management systems, or FMSs for short, are software designed to help businesses manage their freelance talent pools. A good quality solution should provide the tools you need to invite workers to collaborate, communicate with you, track expenses, access essential contracts, etc. 

At this point, we think it’s worth highlighting that modern freelance management systems should be able to help with the following:

  • Eliminating the need for spreadsheets: Instead of a spreadsheet, freelancers should be able to create profiles comprising their skillsets, experience, availability, etc., that you can effortlessly search through so that you can invite contractors best suited to the project to work with you.

  • Localizing onboarding and compliance: You should be able to handle onboarding and compliance from one easy-to-manage dashboard, including the storage of legal documents and contracts.

  • Manage your freelance team: From handling invoice payments to assigning freelancers to projects, tracking working availability, hours worked, and notes on potential candidates - your FMS should provide all these features. 

  • Pay your freelancers on time: 58% of freelance workers have experienced late payments, and a part of that is due to poor freelance management. With a built-in invoicing system, there’s a better chance you’ll pay your workers on time, which can be an attractive benefit. Reports show that 47% of freelancers seek payment security, and another 22% want payment protection - and this is something an FMS can help provide.

How to Build Your Freelance Talent Pool

Suppose you don’t already have a working relationship with a group of freelancers. In that case, there are a wide variety of resources you can use to locate the best talent for your projects. 

For instance, many businesses use:

  • Online job marketplaces 

  • LinkedIn

  • Recommendations 

  • Online groups and forums 

Just be sure to look through their previous work history to help you decide whether someone’s a good match for your brand.

What to Say?

Once you’ve found a candidate, it’s time to begin a dialogue. You might send them a message using the platform you found them on or via the contact information they’ve published online.

While you could technically invite a candidate and wait and see if they agree, it’s much better to have a plan of action before engaging a new recruit. Remember, this will set a precedent for the future of your working relationship. If you just want to add them to your freelance pool to call upon them at a later date, make that clear. Alternatively, if you're going to do that, as well as recruit them to work on a project, consider the following first:

  • Your budget and the payment terms

  • What’s involved in the role

  • Deliverables and the deadline for the project

By communicating the above information from the get-go, you’ll go a long way in avoiding future misunderstandings. 

How to Add Freelancers to Your Talent Pool

Generally, if you aren’t using an FMS, you’ll have to manually enter a candidate's information into a database. However, the process is much simpler if you’re using an FMS like Bubty. You only need their email address and name to invite them to join your talent pool. Then when your candidate receives your invite, they’ll be asked to fill out their details. This form will automatically add them to your database, and you’ll be able to search for them again by availability, skillset, and price.

Are You Ready to Start a Freelance Talent Pool The Right Way?

As you’ve probably already guessed, the best way to launch a freelance talent pool is to use a freelance management system. FMSs work wonders for both employers and workers. By joining a talent pool, freelancers gain access to more employment opportunities without having to put in much work. In addition, with an all-in-one system like Bubty, freelancers can easily list their skills, appear in job searches, and get hired. 

But what’s Bubty? In short, it’s a compact and agile FMS. We work with businesses to help them simplify talent pool creation and management. With Bubty, you can invite workers into your talent pool, submit project requests, and create long-lasting relationships that benefit all parties concerned. To find out more, opt in for a free demonstration.