Whether you want to interview them, run reference checks, give them a trial project, or check out their portfolio, one way or another you will need to assess a freelancer to ensure they are a good fit.

As part of your freelancer assessment, you can identify and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in order to select the freelancer most suitable to your specific needs.

Skipping this assessment may step lead to problems at a later stage: What if they’re not flexible enough for second drafts? What if they’re good at what they do but have terrible communication skills? Whatever it is, if you don’t like the freelancer that you’ve hired, you will be wasting a lot of time, energy and money on them, so making the right decision is crucial.

How to do background research on freelancers

There are plenty of ways you could research the freelancers who have applied for your job. You can either go through their CV (if available) and check if there is any relevant work experience that matches your project, any significant achievements or any transferable skills you’ll need. You can also check out their LinkedIn profile to see if they have any recommendations from previous clients, any certificates and what their connections are like.

You can also google them and check out their social media profiles (most of them have professional social media profiles) to get a gist of the type of person they are.

What employment assessment elements do you need to evaluate?

Let’s say you put a few freelancers on the shortlist for your job. Now, you could compare their résumés with each other. However, what exactly should you look for? What could you assess to end up with the right freelancer for your company?


Marketing specialists usually have skills that span different industries and competencies. In general, they need to have the right balance between hard and soft skills and relevant industry and work experience.

We have compiled a few factors that you need to assess before you hire your freelance marketing specialist:

Hard Skills

Hard skill testing is crucial when it comes to hiring a new freelancer. By testing for hard skills, you will be making sure that the freelancer is proficient enough when it comes to job-related tasks.  Here are some hard skills you should be looking for:

  • Specific marketing channel expertise
    You need to make sure that the freelancer has the right marketing channel experience that matches your job. Do you need an SEO expert or an SEM expert? Are you looking for an email marketer or a social media marketer?
  • Measuring ROI and keeping up with KPI’s
    You need someone who can not only come up with innovative campaigns or strategies but who can also measure and examine the incoming data to provide analytics that is helpful for you. Often, it will be essential to check if they can produce insightful reports.
  • Software and IT Skills
    Again, this entirely depends on what type of project you have. Do you want someone who has experience with Hubspot? Facebook Ads Manager? WebTrends? Most roles require the use of some software, and looking for someone who already has experience working with them is very important.

(Source: LinkedIn)

Soft Skills

Soft skills are often overlooked, but they usually make all the difference. Soft skills are basically “personality traits” or personal qualities that can very quickly make or break your relationship with a freelancer. These include interpersonal skills, communication skills, motivation, flexibility or critical thinking. Soft skills really do matter, and even though they are hard to quantify, they are worth looking for.

Here are some examples of soft skills to look for:

  • Timeliness and reliability
    This is one of the most important soft skills you need to focus on. Submitting work on deadlines, an ability to meet tight deadlines, and being reliable when it comes to submitting work is essential.
  • Self-management
    One of the main reasons that you ended up hiring a freelancer is because you don’t want to hold someone’s hand and guide them through every step. That’s why you need to make sure that the freelancer can efficiently manage their own time, maintain their multiple clients, manage your project accurately and can work well independently.  
  • Communication
    This goes without saying, but a freelancer’s ability to communicate is crucial. Poor communication can easily lead to missing out on deals, missing deadlines, miscommunication and having requirements get lost in translation. You need someone who doesn’t take days to reply, talks professionally and is available in case you need him or her.
  • Goal orientation
    Are they proactive? Can they work efficiently towards goals? Do they get distracted easily? How well can they work under pressure? Are they able to self-evaluate? Do they learn from past experiences?
  • Motivation and ambition
    You want to be working with someone who’s just as excited about your project as you are. Hiring someone who is passionate about what they do, is motivated daily to submit the best results, and is ambitious with goals of taking your project to the next level will make your task much easier.


You need to figure out what sort of experience the freelancer has and then choosing the freelancer who makes your project run smoothly in the end (thanks to their experience!). Here are different types of experience you need to assess:

  • Industry experience
    This isn’t usually necessary but let’s say you’re marketing for a clothing company; you’d probably much rather hire someone with extensive marketing experience and one who has worked in the clothing industry as well, instead of just someone with marketing experience. Having industry experience will save you much time because you won’t need to exert any effort briefing them about a new industry.
  • Domain experience
    You need to assess whether or not they have direct and indirect hands-on experience when it comes to your project’s processes. That doesn’t necessarily mean they need to know how to use Hubspot, for example, but they need to understand how the process works from start to end.
  • Company size experience
    Do they have previous experience working with X amount of people? Can they handle the load of big companies? Do they feel uncomfortable working in small companies?
  • Project experience
    You need to know whether they worked on a similar project before, what the results were like, how they handled it, or if they’ve worked on something similar. The more experience, the better.
  • Freelance ( and remote) experience 
    This is more important than you think. They might have extensive knowledge regarding the project or the industry, but it could be their first time freelancing. Now it will all depend on whether or not you want to take the risk. Many people end up not being able to handle freelancing, so it’s essential that you know whether they can handle working on their own, working remotely and being able to manage themselves.


This doesn’t necessarily mean that they must have a University degree, but you could also check for certain certificates or degrees like a Google Adwords Certificate, for example.

What Documents Should You Request Upfront to Prove Qualifications?

No matter how skilled the freelancer seems to be, you need to ensure that they have materials that prove that. You could ask for any of the following:

Results of previous work
Were they able to generate measurable results in the past? Were they responsible for setting up a campaign that has gone live? Did they increase leads or sales of a company by X %? Did they improve rankings for certain keywords? 

Most freelancers have a portfolio that they use to showcase their different skills and expertise through the different jobs they’ve completed.

Previous clients and references
Do they have reviews on their profiles? What is their relationship with their former clients? What are their clients saying? What references can you contact?

Most freelancers will have testimonials and reviews on, either, their Linkedin profile, their website, or their social media pages.

You can also ask for a few examples of their work.

Download the Complete Guide to Hiring Top Marketing Freelancers here!