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How to Hire a Project Manager

9 Tips On Hiring A Freelance Project Manager

July 30, 2019

The secret to knowing how to hire a freelance project manager for your social media marketing agency is being specific. Know who you’re looking for in terms of scope of work, experience, and personality. Of course, you’ll need to know where to look, as well. Hiring from the right places can help ease the entire process for you.

Project managers should be one of your first hires when you’re scaling your social media marketing agency because they can help bring on other freelancers in the future. They will lift the biggest burden off of your shoulders, and free you up to work on other aspects of the business. If you already have a team in place, it becomes even more important that your process for hiring a project manager is refined.

Of course, this process is just as true for other positions, as well. In fact – once you know how to hire a freelance project manager – you can definitely handle positions with fewer tasks. Project managers are handling just about everything, so a content writer or designer might be easier to look at and say “good work” or “bad work.”

If the idea of having to hire a freelance project manager is exhausting to you, or you’re worried about spending money, consider FreeeUp. My good friend Nathan Hirsch is offering a free $50 in credit for work when you use my link, meaning you can dip your toes in the water with freelancers. This is a free opportunity to grow your business, so you should really consider checking it out. (Disclaimer: the link included is an affiliate link, but I’ve opted to forgo benefits and instead pass them on to you. Enjoy!)

1. Be Precise and Specific

Before you get started trying to learn how to hire a freelance project manager, you need to ask yourself: why am I hiring this project manager in the first place? What do you want a project manager to do?

The more specific you can be about what you need, the more you can whittle down the group of possible project managers. For example, if you know you need some help with your video content, you can cross off anyone without experience in managing video. This is a huge time and energy saver.

Consider what sort of projects you’ll have them working on. What’s the first thing you need them to do? If there’s a Facebook project you need to be done in the next month, and an Instagram project that you can put on the back-burner for a while, you know to prioritize Facebook experience.

This will make the whole process of working together easier, as well. Freelancers tend to appreciate when you give them more information to work with, as it makes the project more productive in general. Hiring people that you don’t know exactly what you want them to do is usually just a good way to lose money.

2. Plan Ahead

In addition to being specific when trying to figure out how to hire a freelance project manager, you should try to be prepared. First and foremost, determine ahead of time that you’re going to need to hire someone. Until you have a project manager on board, you should always consider if you’ll need one for a project. Having to hire someone with a due date coming up can get things off to a very bad start.

You need to be prepared with an idea of your ideal candidate. This is related to and similar to be specific, but not exactly the same. Being specific means figuring out your needs, while determining your ideal candidate is about your wants. Figure out what sort of personalities you’d like to bring on, what sort of extras you’d like them to bring. You need to know when you’ve found gold.

Finally, know where you’re okay compromising. You’re unlikely to find your ideal candidate, but you might find a lot of people who are close. You need to know what traits will break the tie. This will express itself a lot in the interview stage.

3. Write a Good Job Description

If you want to attract your ideal candidate, you need to have a strong job description. This starts with the title. Be attention-grabbing, but straight forward. You need your job post to be easy to read so that people aren’t skipping over it. Include the position and a little bit about who you are and what you offer them.

In the job post, cover (in order) the description of the job, the responsibilities of the job, and the requirements for the job. Make sure that you’re clear about what you want and what you’re looking for. Any sort of ambiguity here can and will lead to miscommunication, and end up wasting your time.

There are a few things you need to cover in the job description. The first is duration and time expectations – tell them how long you’re looking to bring them on for, and in what capacity. Make sure you’re clear about what experience you want them to have, and if you’re looking for any specific experience.

Use this space to discuss your realistic expectations. While you shouldn’t let your post get overly long, it’s important that you start with good communication. If you get to the interview stage and it seems like the freelancer has no idea what’s going on, that’s a bad sign.
How to Hire a Project Manager1

4. Ask the Right Questions

When you’re interviewing a person, you’re looking to learn about their soft skills and personality more than anything else. You want to see that they are proficient in the things they claim to be proficient in and that they can talk about them professionally. Try to ask questions that make them tell a story or talk for a while.

You also want to know how they’re going to handle difficult situations. You want to know what they’ve overcome in their experience, and how that’ll translate here. Project managers specifically need to be able to handle these situations, because they’re balancing so many things. A lot of great interview questions start with “how did you” because of this.

These are a few questions I like to ask:
  • What do you do when you find yourself overwhelmed with all the different moving parts of a project?
  • How long have you been in project management for social media marketing? And what made you decide to start in this role?
  • What is a new process that you have created to keep the team organized and have adequate checks and balances?
  • What do you do when your project is in trouble?

5. What to Look for in a Project Manager

This is one part of hiring a freelance project manager that won’t necessarily apply to every freelance position. While you definitely want certain qualities in every person you hire, those qualities are going to vary greatly from position to position. For project managers, the skills you should be looking for leadership, crisis resolution, communication, and decision making.

Leadership is probably the most important, especially as it encompasses the other 3. Knowing how to run a team effectively is the #1 priority for project managers, so it’s important that they’re able to. Project managers should know how to overcome challenges with the team, and how to work with their strengths and weaknesses. They should also be strategic, able to see ahead and figure out problems before they pop up.

Crisis resolution is also important because project managers are going to be responsible for almost every issue that comes up with the team. If they aren’t able to handle problems effectively during crunch time, then things will fall apart. This can also be strategic – a good project manager should be able to predict and preemptively solve problems.

Communication skills are important because they’re working with every team member. If a project manager can’t communicate effectively, they can’t lead. You can determine if their communication is good or not in the interview, generally, as you’ll get a sense through conversation. You can also find this by asking questions about how they communicate. What tools do they like, what time are they available, do they prefer to be direct or more passive?

You can also get some insight into their decision-making skills in the interview. It’s important that a project manager is quick and decisive. Ask them if they how they handle decisions, and what was the toughest they’ve had to make in their career.

6. Know What to Avoid

There are a few things to avoid, as well. These are true of just about any freelancer.
First and foremost, don’t hire cheap. You get what you pay for, and this is especially true with freelance work. Someone willing to work for $2 is going to do $2 worth of work. You don’t necessarily need to hire the most expensive, but you should be looking for someone with actual prices.

You also want to avoid anyone who seems to apply to everything. If you’re getting a generic, copy-paste message, you can usually skip. That person probably isn’t interested in your job specifically, as much as they’re just trying for anything. Look for people who took time out for you specifically.

Also, avoid people who have too many stipulations, or appear hostile in the interview. If they seem to be too prodding or untrusting, it’s not likely that the relationship is going to work out. The importance of enthusiasm cannot be overstated.

7. Make An Offer They Can’t Refuse

When hiring a freelancer, it’s important that your company is worth working for. Top freelancers have a lot of say over who they work for, so make your company a good choice for them. This starts with payment – it needs to be worth their while. For project managers, I would start at $15 an hour and scale based on their experience.

You should also consider your company culture. Is it a good place to work, and will project managers fit in? If you put work into your culture, people will want to stay. This sort of communication should be true in the prospecting phase, too. Make sure that you’re clear about what you want, and that you have a clear understanding of who they are and what they’re offering.

With project managers especially, make sure that the freelancer feels empowered to make decisions. Tell them that they can call you on micromanaging or anything else, and make sure that you follow through. Give them the tools they need to do their job correctly.

8. Test Their Knowledge

While you should generally avoid giving people too much work – especially unpaid work – in the prospecting phase, make sure that you’re testing their knowledge. It’s great that they have 10 years of experience, but make sure that you see some proof of it. Get familiar with their portfolio, and ask questions about it.

In addition, you should ask them about software that you use that might be relevant to them. If you’re managing things in Asana, ask them how they would go about doing the same thing. Have they used your software before? What did they like, what did they need to work on?

You can do the same if you don’t use software currently by asking what they would recommend. What software has worked for them in the past? How would they implement that software for your company?
These questions tend to not be too intrusive, but give you an idea of how they work and what they’re proficient in.

9. Know Where to Look

Most importantly, you need to know where to look to find good freelancers. If you don’t have an extensive network – or even if you do, you’re going to need to use some job boards. There are a ton of job boards out there, so sifting through them is important.

INathan Hirsch highly recommend using FreeeUp because they vet the freelancers for you. Every freelancer on FreeeUp has been proven to have experience in what they say they do, so you’re already far ahead of other job boards. And – as I mentioned earlier – if you use my link to FreeeUp, you’ll get some credit to get work done.

This is all courtesy of good friend Nathan Hirsch, who is another great asset to you and your business. So, click here if you want $50 of free work for your business.
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