Common mistakes of outsourcing

Through my vast amount of experiments in outsourcing I’ve made quite a few mistakes here and there that would have been better avoided if I had simply thought about it before I did it. Here are the common mistakes I’ve either been a part of or have witnessed myself through others, in a hope that you may read them and learn from them.

  1. Posting the wrong job application text up in the first place/wanting something you can’t get
    Most people just post up a big long list of what they want and accept nothing else. To get the right result post up the bare minimum that you’re looking for and add ‘traits that would be ideal, but not required are:’ to the bottom.
  2. Grabbing the first person that comes along.
    Sometimes it’s genius but the majority of time it’s just lack of patience. The first person in your inbox isn’t always the best. If you can’t find anyone and are desperate, then you need to start thinking about how you’re posting and where you’re posting.
  3. Posting in the wrong places
    Do your research first and take a look around at the other job listings being posted up in the same place you’re putting yours. If you find jobs that aren’t similar in the majority, then it’s the wrong place. If the others look completely different to yours (less detailed, much more detailed, including images, not including images) then adapt your posting.
  4. Trying to fit the wrong person into the wrong position
    Don’t hire an Expression Engine developer to be a WordPress developer if they don’t already have experience. Don’t hire someone who specialises in non-framework based development to work on a Code Igniter powered site. Get someone who already has the experience otherwise you either get: a) more expense for nothing, or b) a completely poor result. Sometimes it’s both.
  5. Make sure you know their hours
    When, in their timezone, are they online? It should be one of the first questions you ask and you should know when each of your outsourced team will be online or offline.
  6. Know how to get in touch
    Do they want to Skype? Do they want to be contacted by phone? By AIM? MSN? GTalk/Jabber? ICQ? Know that they fit what you want and don’t have their own standards. I once worked with a developer who decided to let me know that he only wanted to be contacted when he decided to come online, on MSN. No phone calls, no Skype, nothing. When he was called, he pulled out of the project. Clearly a bad choice.

I will follow this in a series of other articles about outsourcing. If you have any other mistakes or experiences to share, feel free to leave a comment on this article as it would be fascinating to read.

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