For Freelance Platforms, Which Matters Most: Better Talent or More Members?

These days, it seems that businesses have more resources available than ever to hire freelancers. Platforms like Upwork and Fiverr claim to offer access to millions of freelancers that organizations can use for a wide range of projects.

But one challenge remains consistent, even as companies become more comfortable with the idea of hiring contingent talent. When using a freelance platform, is it better to work with a site that has higher-quality talent, but relatively few members — or a site with more members, but lower-quality talent?

It is a double-edged sword that can make it hard for companies to find the right talent for the job. 

More Members, More Problems?

Posting a job requisition on a freelance platform and seeing it get flooded with applications can be an exciting moment for an employer. But after all those applications come in, you have to begin the arduous process of going through them and weeding out the good from the bad.

A job posting with an attractive budget can easily get over 50 applications. With so many applications to sort through, it can be all too easy for decision fatigue to set in — in which mental overload from decision-making causes you to ultimately make a worse decision. 

For example, this could cause you to not vet a freelancer as thoroughly as you should, simply selecting the person who offers the lowest rate. But as the adage goes, your options when hiring someone for a job are quick, cheap and good — and you’ll only ever get two out of those three.

A quick search for “Upwork low quality freelancers” highlights many businesses that have hired a freelancer for a job, and were ultimately dissatisfied with the freelancer’s quality of work. Quite often, these business owners end up hiring another freelancer to correct the low-quality work performed by the initial hire.

Freelance platforms that boast millions of contingent workers from across the globe are often impacted by these issues. Too many options can make it hard to determine who is actually worth hiring, and the wrong choice could cause your project to go significantly over budget. Making use of tools that restrict who can apply (such as language or job satisfaction requirements) is often a must to help make decision-making easier.

Talent Wins Out, But Is It Enough?

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are freelance platforms that are more restrictive in who they make available to clients. Language evaluations, skill reviews, test projects and even video chat screenings are done by some freelance platforms to ensure that only the best possible talent is made available through their platform.

With such systems in place, businesses can have confidence in their ability to find someone who is qualified for the work they need done. But overly vigorous screening processes can actually deter some highly talented individuals from working with such platforms in the first place. This is especially true when a freelance platform takes a “one size fits all” approach to screening, rather than gauging freelancers on a more individual basis.

For example, consider this critique of the platform Toptal:

“Some senior software developers may be tested on small projects that junior developers may do, such as setting up tables. Senior developers tend to outsource these development projects to newer workers. These boilerplate exercises feel like telling an expert carpenter to hammer 50 nails into a board in a minute, then disqualifying them as ‘too junior’ if they fail.”

This type of approach can actually weed out some of the most qualified talent. In addition, with fewer freelancers available, a business may have a harder time finding someone who is a good fit for their project needs.

Striking the Proper Balance

Each freelance platform comes with its own pros and cons, particularly when it comes to striking a balance between better talent or more members. You don’t always need an expert for every project, in which case more members can be an advantage to fill a position quickly.

But when you need that expert input, finding that one talented freelancer is going to be far more valuable than having a wide selection of less-talented individuals.

Because of this, employers that wish to use these freelance platforms will likely need to utilize multiple platforms based on the needs of each specific project. In some cases, a business can afford to wait a little longer to connect with top talent.

At other times, a small project that needs to get done quickly will be better suited for posting on a high membership site. Regardless of the specific platform being used, however, sourcing and managing freelance relationships can be a challenge.

This is one area where staffing firms and recruiters can continue to make a difference for employers. Sourcing and vetting talent is a lot of work. Ensuring that a freelancer is truly a good fit for a project — in terms of quality, rate, availability and other factors — is crucial for ensuring a positive experience for all involved.

This is especially true of recruiting service providers that aid in other crucial areas, such as compliance and payroll, to help keep a business on sound footing as it works with freelancers. Expert recruiters can ultimately help a business strike that perfect balance of better talent and total available talent so that every project turns out as desired.

A Quality Talent Acquisition Marketplace

While the freelance marketplace has created many new opportunities for workers and businesses alike, finding the right match for a particular project remains a key challenge for many. In addition to the challenge of finding talent, businesses must also concern themselves with core issues like maintaining full compliance with employment laws.

This is where myBasePay comes in.

Our corporate talent acquisition services provide comprehensive solutions for contingent workforce management, direct sourcing and independent contractor compliance. Our streamlined process helps fill open roles, striking the perfect balance of talent and numbers so you can find the right freelancer for the right job, all while growing your employer brand.

With myBasePay assuming worker liability and helping you source and engage top candidates, you can have confidence that you’ll be able to take full advantage of the freelance revolution, without the drawbacks of other freelance platforms.


Author: Cesar Jimenez, myBasePay CEO
Cesar A. Jimenez is an entrepreneur, investor, and military veteran with over 25 years of staffing industry expertise successfully leading technology staffing organizations. His expertise in the IT industry allows him to use his experience as a thought leader for talent acquisition, staffing, IT, and recruitment technologies with a passion for contingent workforce solutions. Cesar has held various leadership roles for both a global staffing organization and technology solutions companies. This expertise has enabled him to develop alternative workforce models that provide the agility for organizations to be competitive in today’s marketplace. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with hisfamily, working out, and coaching high school baseball players.

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