How to Give Constructive Feedback to Freelancers

— March 3, 2018

There will come a time when you work with freelancers and you need to give feedback about their work. I’m usually a very non-confrontational person in my personal life, but when it comes to business, I like to address things head on. This is a benefit to you and the freelancer. They get to learn from the constructive feedback and you’ll get the type of work you need from them.

Good help is hard to find. I didn’t understand the truth of this statement until I started hiring contractors myself. If you’ve found a reliable freelancer, it’s worthwhile to keep them around and coach them whenever an issue arises.

I’ve done freelance work over the past four years. Because of this, I’m careful of how I give feedback to others. I understand how some ways of communicating feedback can be hurtful. Here’s how to give feedback without being a tyrant:

Focus on the Work

Feedback should never be personal, and it should never include an insult. Concentrate your feedback on the work that’s provided to you. Always be specific about your constructive feedback as well. What specific areas need to be improved? Feedback that’s not specific helps no one.

Don’t Be Condescending

The intent of a message can be lost over email so be careful with how you give written feedback. There’s no problem with being direct, but being too curt can hurt someone’s feelings. You want a freelancer to want to work with you. It’s an exchange — their time for your money. They’ll up and leave if you’re difficult to work with. Curt and unfriendly emails aren’t going to inspire someone to do better work for you.

Set Guidelines and Stick to Them

There’s nothing that frustrates a freelancer more than getting a set of instructions and those instructions change. It wastes the freelancer’s time and your time.

Communicate clearly. Take the time to write out very detailed instructions and expectations to give your freelancer the best shot at doing the job right the first time around. If there are multiple people who will be reviewing the work, bring them in at the beginning so you can collectively express the expectations.

Another important factor to think of with this is pay. You get what you pay for. You can’t expect the world if you want to be very skimpy with your budget. Don’t have ridiculous expectations for someone that you’re paying a small sum.

Give Them an Opportunity to Give You Feedback

It’s a two-way street. Getting feedback from your freelancers may help you improve your process. No business owner is perfect. There are several areas of hiring out I’ve had to work on that came to my attention after I got work back that I requested.

Know When to Part Ways

You may establish a friendship with a freelancer that you work with regularly. However, if they’re not executing the work you need consistently, you need to know when to cut them lose even if they are a friend. Be firm but friendly. Business is business and your freelancer should understand if you’re deciding to part ways.

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