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Thinking about hiring on Fiverr? Do not miss this 4 battle-tested tips


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May 20, 2018
Hi there,

Since I’ve been using Fiverr a lot lately, I thought about sharing a few principles I now live by when hiring on that platform. It took a great deal of time and hassle before coming up with these; my sincere hope is that they will save you both.

Note that the tips should work just the same for any other freelancing platform, like Upwork for example, but I’ve personally only used Fiverr so far.

#1 Always include a test in your gig’s description


This one is, by far, the most important advice I can give you. It will allow you to immediately determine whether the freelancer you’re considering is worth it or not.

If you haven’t experienced it yet, stand ready for a big surprise when you’re going to realize the crushing number of freelancers that don’t even bother reading your job description. They usually answer with vague phrases along the lines of “Don’t worry, I can do it” or “Trust me, I am the best at this job”. They are playing the numbers and, trust me, you don’t want to work with people like that.

Since I was puzzled and quite pissed off by this discovery, I came up with the following trick: I now include a few carefully crafted questions first (always the same), and then a simple test that will reveal whether the freelancer can carry out the task or not.

As an example, here is something I’ve used recently while looking for a list of highly qualified French prospects:
  1. Could you tell me why you think you would be the perfect match for this task?
  2. What is your experience with this particular market?
  3. Is the scope of the gig clear enough for you?
  4. How much time are you going to need to complete the task?
  5. How much would it cost me if I were to hire you for this gig? Make me your best offer; I’m not going to negotiate the price, but I’m not going to hire you if it is way higher than what the competition offers.
  6. Afin de vérifier votre capacité à lire le français ainsi que votre compréhension de la tâche, merci de répondre aux questions suivantes : comment allez-vous vous y prendre pour trouver les prospects attendus ? Pouvez-vous m’en donner trois exemples non cités précédemment ?
(Translation: 6. In order to confirm your ability to read French and to carry out the task properly, please tell me how you intend to find the prospects I am after. Could you provide me with 3 names that haven't already been mentioned?)​

The last question was kind of a meta test: since I was after the French market, I needed someone who was able to read and understand the French language.

#2 90 % of the freelancers are not worth your time and money


It might seem like a very broad and rude statement, but it’s actually the very ratio between the number of skilled freelancers I’ve worked with and the number of freelancers I’ve contacted/been contacted by.

I’ve tried the following approaches:
  • Looking for competent freelancers based on their offers, their profiles and the reviews they’ve received. Then contacting the ones that seem reliable and presenting them with my job’s description. This is very time-consuming, but I thought it would be the best way to find great freelancers. Man I was wrong!
  • Posting a request and waiting for random freelancers to contact me with an offer. Of course this is way faster, but you'd think that, mechanically, the quality of the freelancers would be sub-par, wouldn't you? Wrong again!

I had the exact same results in both cases. Roughly 90 % of the freelancers were of no interest because either:
  1. They were on auto-pilot, answering with a generic message that had nothing to do with what I was asking for.
  2. They did not answer my questions.
  3. They did not answer at all or did not come back to me after their first message.
  4. They did not pass the test.
  5. They wanted to get paid to carry out the test — do you really want to hire someone who’s asking for money just to show up for a job interview?
  6. They were charging way too much.

The main reasons being the first two, you understand why tip #1 is crucial.

#3 Be extremely precise with your gig’s description


For the great freelancers, it will be a godsend and they will thank you for this since it will leave no room for guesswork. For the others, welcome their nemesis.

Since the description of your gig constitutes the contract between you and the freelancer, you want it to be as clear and precise as possible. In effect, in case you end up disappointed with the result and have to start a dispute, this is the main thing that will determine whether you’ll get a refund or not.

If the description was vague or if you settled for “we’ll clarify it as it goes”, the freelancer might get away with a crappy job as long as it fits the initial description.

Also, make sure to describe what the deliverable should be: an XLS file that contains x, y and z columns? A CMYK logo in AI format ? Etc.

#4 Forget about the ratings


I know, we’ve all come to trust those shiny little stars. But let me warn you: don’t be blinded by their dazzling light!

You need to understand that freelancers will do literally anything to avoid receiving a bad review, even cancelling an offer when they realize they won’t be able to carry out the task — yep, I’ve been there and I literally lost two weeks of my time thanks to that.

The only reviews you should care about are the ones with 3 stars or less. In my experience, it usually happens because the freelancer delivered something irrelevant to the buyer’s needs, but the latter just wanted to get it over with. Fortunately, you should be protected against this thanks to tips #1 and #3.

Also, learn to love the freelancers that don’t have any review yet — as long as they have passed your test of course. The good ones come with a lot of benefits:
  • They have a lot to prove and will display a level of dedication that is hard to beat.
  • They don’t have many clients and, therefore, will focus solely on your task.
  • They will be loyal to you since you’ve trusted them.
  • They are usually cheaper to work with.


Thanks to those tips, I’ve found one superstar on Fiverr with whom I now work on a regular basis and I've divided by 5 the time required to choose and manage the freelancers. I hope they can do the same for you!

By the way, what is your own experience with the platform? Do you have a few advices you’d like to share?
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