The Hiring Platform Changing The Hiring Game

By David Ledgerwood

Hiring freelance developers is easy. Getting great results from freelancers isn't. As a business owner or technology executive you've got to understand the difference.

Any number of marketplace sites now allow you to hire freelance developers of many different backgrounds and levels of experience. Some of them rely on the community, for example through previous customer ratings, to allow you to filter for the 'best' freelancers. Others issue tests to filter for 'the top X%' of freelancers. Still others completely obfuscate the hiring and staffing into a 'black box' approach where you never speak to your developers.

At Gun.io we don't like any of these approaches because we think they all, for various reasons, result in suboptimal quality and customer experience. So, we've invested in better methods, some of which I explain here.


Professional Freelancers don't 'side hustle'.

We focus almost exclusively on what we call "professional freelancers" --- people for whom this is their full-time job.

Did you know almost none of the talent on other sites are full-time freelancers?

Most of them are working on your project on nights and weekends or during their day job. I don't know about you, but I don't want someone working on my project (at a very high rate) after their day job. Check out this description of Gigster on Techcrunch:

The Gigsters come from companies like Google or Stripe that are looking for some extra projects, schools like MIT and CalTech where they’re trying to earn beer money, or startup founders moonlighting to pay the bills.

So you, dear shopper, get to spend your budget on talented people who want extra projects or beer money, or are working on their own idea for a business. Sounds awesome, right? Not me, thanks.


The Triple-Vetting difference

I talk to customers and prospects all day and one of the most common questions I'm asked is, "How do you vet your freelancers?" I can understand why this makes sense to the party on the phone. Vetting people you work with is important and unfortunately our industry (software development, and remote knowledge work at large) has a big problem here. Most talent “marketplaces” put the vetting on us on the hiring party.  

Gun.io are not a mass talent marketplace - if a project goes south, we feel that burn significantly. That means our first priority, now and always, is maintaining an incredibly selective community of Gun.io Certified Professional Freelancers.

The Triple-Vetting process is inevitably time-consuming for both us and our developers. But each hour we invest in that process is an hour we get to give back to you as the client, that YOU don’t have to spend on the process of hiring freelance developers. As a result of this work on the front end, over 90% of clients hire the first freelancer we introduce to them after just one video call.

The process looks like this:

1. Find - We proactively scout for engineers we believe will be great all-around team members, then invite them to join our growing community of top professional freelancers.
2. Test - We escort finalists through a series of quantitative code tests, then conduct live technical interviews to assess both code proficiency and creative problem-solving.
3. Certify - High-achievers are then invited to an executive interview setting, where we select the best communicators, team players and holistic thinkers to become Gun.io Certified Professional Freelancers.

  1. Find - We proactively scout for engineers we believe will be great all-around team members, then invite them to join our growing community of top professional freelancers.

  2. Test - We escort finalists through a series of quantitative code tests, then conduct live technical interviews to assess both code proficiency and creative problem-solving.

  3. Certify - High-achievers are then invited to an executive interview setting, where we select the best communicators, team players and holistic thinkers to become Gun.io Certified Professional Freelanc

Embedded within that Triple Vetting process are seven layers of possible disqualification - all the way up to reference checks with their past managers and colleagues. Our selection process is rigorous, it’s time-consuming, and most engineers don’t get certified. Those who do become amazing team members, delivering off-the-charts ROI to the projects and teams they’re invited to join.


Tell me more about this ROI...


We’re glad you asked.

A few months ago, we touched base with one of our highest-performing Professional Freelancers, Jordan, on his current client engagement. Jordan was working with our client, Amanda, and her other developer, Dave, who she hired via a mass talent marketplace (pseudonyms used to protect privacy). Amanda and Dave had been working together for two months before she hired Jordan to do the API programming.

Dave, the original programmer, had spent 240 hours working on the front end when Jordan came on board, and although very little progress was being made on that code, Dave continued to work and invoice. Finally, Amanda asked Jordan to review Dave’s code and the time he had spent thus far. Jordan determined that the code was readable, but that Dave had been taking the long way around.

After 240 hours, $12,000, and still no functioning front end, Amanda opted to stop working with Dave.

As a Gun.io Professional Freelancer, Jordan was committed to Amanda’s success as a client, so he offered to rewrite the code Dave had written to get the project back on track.

In the end, Jordan was able to rewrite the entire front end on a new framework and make it run faster with 9,000 fewer lines of code - and in just 15 hours of his time.

Jordan’s fantastic technical skills, willingness to jump in where he’s needed, and penchant for winning is the rule at Gun.io - not the exception. It’s true that there are fantastic engineers on all platforms and in the traditional FTE hiring sphere, and you might get lucky and strike gold. But if you’re not willing to roll the dice and risk a story like Amanda’s, Gun.io will gladly remove luck from the “hire a freelance developer” equation for you.

I hope this view into how we at Gun.io staff your project team is enlightening and encouraging. We find and work with the best craftspeople in the world and we put them together into amazingly high-functioning teams so executives and founders can focus on what matters and get out of the weeds of product and project management.

Does this sound valuable to you?

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Posted by David Ledgerwood

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