Part Two: Interviewing Social Media Contractors

Missed Part 1? No worries, go here.

I immediately noticed the difference between interviewing for full-time and contractor jobs when I started Little Engine Social Media. For a full-time job, you usually have to promise your first unborn child. For a freelance job, you basically have to have a solid referral and the courtesy to show up wearing pants. (I tried it without pants once, it doesn’t work as well.)

Not that I don’t love the easy street of being hired as a contractor, but asking a few questions up front will make things easier and happier for both parties in the long haul. Here’s your go-to list:

1. What work makes you excited?

Contractors get the luxury of picking and choosing their clients. For me, I will never work for a company that harms animals, so I appreciate this questions from the start.

2. Have you had experience with XYZ industry?

Although not a deal breaker, it can be reassuring to know your potential contractor has experience with your client’s industry.

3. Are you comfortable with the following responsibilities?

One thing that is painfully clear as a contractor is that all agencies speak a different language. Don’t assume your terminology translates. Community management to one contractor may mean something completely different to another.

4. How many hours are you available per week and do those hours vary per day?

Contractors survive on having multiple clients. Signing an agreement with a contractor does not mean they are always as available as a full-time employee. Discuss what a typical response time is for email, calls, and texts to establish expectations from the start. The good news for you: great contractors are badass multitaskers and are able to reply promptly to your needs. (You can’t see me, but I’m pointing to myself.)

5. Do you charge by project or hourly rate?

Money can be an uncomfortable topic, but it is a necessary one. There’s nothing worse than both parties gearing up to collaborate on a project to only find out that the contractor’s rate doesn’t aligned with the budget.

I hope you enjoyed this two-part series on hiring a social media contractor. Have more questions? Leave a comment or reach out on Twitter or Instagram.


Part One: Why Marketing Agencies are Hiring Contractors

Agencies hiring contractors is a smart move. Think about it – agencies tend to take on a lot of short-term contracts, so why hire a full-time employee with full benefits to do a job that may not be around in a couple months. Or even worse, dump another FTE on your already exhausted community manager or social media strategist. Enter your friendly neighbor freelancer.

Here are 3 reasons you should consider a contractor for your next client proposal:

1. Experience without investment

I’m trying really hard not to compare myself to a lady of the night here. What I’m trying to say is, “Why put a ring on it when you can get the love for an hourly rate?” No, that isn’t right. How about, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk without a 401K?” Ok, these phrases may not be in Urban Dictionary yet, but I think you catch my drift. A contractor comes with the experience you need without the long-term commitment. No training or no dental paperwork. We are like the Ghostbusters – great in a scary pinch.

2. Expand your network

Contractors and freelancers know a lot of people in the industry. They have to in order to survive. Need a graphic designer at a great rate? They know someone. Need a photographer in a pinch? They have the perfect person.

3. Reliable as your childhood blanket

Your memorable childhood stuffed animal, blanket, or pillow (in my case) may be out of mind in storage, but you know where it is when you need something that feels familiar and comforting. Contractors are like your beloved one-eyed teddy bear. (Better than the lady of the night analogy, right?)

Stay tuned for part two of this series to know what questions to ask your potential contractor.