Have you ever felt compromised by time when sourcing a freelancer for a project? Or more to the point, have you ever not been compromised by time?
While &FRIENDS can make the process of connecting and engaging with freelancers almost instantaneous, this connection point is only a fraction of the journey that a company goes through to source and hire their perfect freelancer. In reality, the process contains a bunch of steps including internal reviews, interviews, negotiations, reference checks, and ever present daily juggling of priorities.
This all takes time. Time that may not be factored in…
To help provide a realistic guide for companies, I reviewed our booking data and analysed how long it took from brief to booking based for different types of expertise and lengths of bookings.
What we found was fascinating.
Brief to booking time – by Expertise
It turns out that design and creative freelance roles take the shortest amount of time to recruit (1 week) while Media freelancer take the longest (3-4 weeks). These outcomes make sense because our design and creative communities are large and quite often the gigs are short. This means there is a lot of flex in the market. Whereas, up until recently Media freelancers were so rare, they were almost mythical. Therefore it’s only natural that sourcing media talent can take longer.
UX Designers at 3 weeks is an exception to the broader Design community where interestingly there is both high demand and reasonably high supply. What adds spice to this market is a UX gig is typically a longer contract length and industry expertise is generally preferred (e.g. banking, telco). This means it’s often hard for all requirements to line up when companies need them to.
Project Management, Strategy and technology are bunched together and roughly take 3 weeks to secure. Again, this reflects the longer nature of the engagements and the fact that demand and supply seem relatively even. In addition, all 3 roles are reasonably critical to the success of a project and therefore may require a few stakeholders to meet and vet the candidates.
In the case of technology, the type of expertise needed can be very specific meaning that the pool of qualified available freelancers can quickly shrink to a very shallow pool (e.g. React Developers), which in turn makes companies vulnerable to the availability of freelancers in this smaller market. Freelance technologists are acutely aware of this demand and supply dynamic and many are taking advantage of it by moonlighting while also working in permanent roles during the day. While this has historically been an uncomfortable option for companies, it may make sense to consider and test it on non-business critical projects.
Brief to booking time – by Gig duration
Regardless of whether the gig is for 1 day or 30 days, it seems 1 week is the minimum a company can realistically spend to source, vet and book a freelancer. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but from our observations this usually occurs when companies break all of their natural processes.
It seems 2 weeks is optimal. In fact it’s only when Gigs are over 50 days that companies spend 3-4 weeks from brief to booking. This suggests companies are focused on quality above all else and will sacrifice time to find the right candidate even if it’s for a 1 day gig. While this is an impressive trait, it can also be inefficient and may put pressure on timings.
There has never been a better time for companies to get ahead of their freelance needs and avoid the natural timeframes needed to source new freelance talent when you need them most. Companies can now use services like &FRIENDS to build a Roster of ‘go to’ freelancers which they can turn to quickly when gigs crop up. Because freelancers on a &FRIENDS Roster are pre-vetted and their availability can be reviewed instantly, the time from brief to booking can be hours not 2 weeks.