As a botched product iteration cycle or particularly tricky bug can be the difference between a successful launch and an also-ran, the search for great freelancers is more important than ever.
However, there’s a bigger problem, especially with regard to premier tech talent. As Paul Graham puts it, “there are just not enough great programmers to go around”. In response to the high salaries and extensive job perks dangled in front of top developers by high-powered companies, companies are wisening up to the fact that many of the most talented developers in the world are freelancers, and that resizing teams on the fly is easier than ever. With an increasing number of businesses of all sizes finding great success in hiring freelancers, here are the 10 best freelance websites to meet your hiring needs (software engineers and otherwise) and keep your company ahead of the game.
Toptal’s approach makes it a definite outlier compared to conventional platforms, as it’s geared towards custom-matching vetted, senior software engineers to clients with serious, compelling tech projects. Toptal is highly selective about its freelancers (roughly 3% acceptance rate), and offers a no-risk trial period on every engagement. Toptal’s impressive client list speaks for itself (Airbnb, J.P. Morgan, Zendesk, and more).
Accommodating a wide range of needs from software engineers to writers, oDesk lets you post jobs for just about anything you can do using a computer at no upfront cost. It also offers clients useful work tracking tools and is great for finding cheap freelance work.
With an escrow system that allows you to authorize payment releases once milestones are hit, Upwork.com offers an enormous pool of freelancers for everything from legal work to finance and management (including a few hundred thousand software developers).
With a membership program and a complimentary “Work Room” where you can oversee progress, define milestones, etc., Guru is a great option if you find yourself constantly in need of help on miscellaneous small jobs.
Freelancer is awesome for small businesses, and with over 15 million users, you’re sure to have hundreds of proposals from eager freelancers to compare in no time. It also allows you to post projects as contests and review large volumes of submissions while only paying for the one you like most.
In addition to its large talent pool, Staff.com is an open platform, so you can also find employees on other sites and use its services to handle billing, time tracking, etc. Unlike the other platforms here, it’s geared more towards full-time engagements.
This is a Q&A forum, not a freelancing platform, so you’ll need a keen eye for what skills you’re looking for and an appealing project to entice freelancers to join. However, StackExchange is where the most skilled software engineers, designers, and more come to help each other, so it’s an excellent way to find the best talent out there.
Like StackExchange, there’s no bid system, so you’ll need to be able to persuade freelancers to work with you. However, LinkedIn makes it easy to search for all kinds of talent, and this also holds true with freelancers. Extensive professional profiles, reviews by colleagues, and more will help you make a more informed decision on your hire.
Is your job something a skilled college student could do? College Recruiter lets you post jobs for 10 million students and 7 million recent graduates. Not only will you be able to get your jobs done for lower prices, but if you find great talent, you’ll have a solid chance of bringing them on full-time before anyone else does.
If you need an on-site freelancer, Craigslist is a great way to find freelance talent in your community. Although you might have to read through a large volume of resumes, posting a job is inexpensive, and you can include specific application instructions to help weed out people who just apply to jobs at random.
As companies of all types go through phases, restructure priorities, and start new initiatives, the focus on talented freelancers is magnifying. Hiring freelance talent lets you resize your teams faster than ever before through simple engagement terms and project-specific hirings. A company’s ability to rapidly find top talent as needed is critical for it to stay ahead of the competition. Use these best freelance websites for your hiring needs, and always make sure the person you bring on is someone you can trust to deliver.
Published on: May 7, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.