You've just secured a fantastic remote contractor, now what? Your next step is important and can set the tone for the working relationship with any contractor you hire. It's important to place vital information in your freelancer's hands from the first moments of working together to set yourself on the path to success.
Here is a helpful checklist of what experience has taught me should be included in every new hire care package:
1. Contact Information. Give your contractor your cell number, Skype, fax number, website or blog, company street address, alternate email addresses, etc. -- and give them this information for anyone else at your company they will need access to, especially if you become unexpectedly unavailable.
2. Who's Who Introductory Emails. While your contractor doesn't need to know all twelve (or two hundred) employees at your company, they need to know the ones they'll be working with directly. Introduce your contractor via individual emails to anyone they need to know, with relevant details included. For example ...
To: New Contractor Joe / CC: My Co-Worker Jane
Joe Contractor, I'd like you to meet Co-Worker Jane who is our [INSERT TITLE HERE] and is responsible for [INSERT RELEVANT TASKS HERE]. Jane, this is is Joe Contractor, who will be working on [INSERT JOB HERE]. The two of you will need to coordinate on blah, blah, blah ...
3. Company Office and Personal Work Hours. Contractors often work odd hours -- and yours may even be in a whole other time zone -- so in addition to letting your freelancer know your company's normal business hours, let him or her know when you are typically unavailable, even by cell phone. For example, if you never handle work during the evenings or on weekends, indicate that up front.
4. Company Mission Statement. If your company has one, share it. If you don't have one, make sure your contractor takes a look at your website or any written document that will give them a feel for what you do and what you are about.
5. Relevant Access Codes and Passwords. Make sure your contractor has access to any tools or applications relevant to the tasks you've assigned. It's always a good idea to create new passwords/codes for your freelancer, rather than giving them your own. Always consider the security of your business first, then create access for your contractor that respects those needs.
6. Conference Call Schedule. Schedule calls with your contractor at regular intervals and get them on the calendar now. Voice-to-voice contact (or even face-to-face if you can video conference) is a key part of good remote-work communication. If you have a designated conference call line for these conversations, let your contractor know the number and access code too.
7. Written Assignment Details. You may think you covered everything in the phone interview, but don't assume that your contractor is adept at learning by listening. Reiterate your instructions in writing after every meeting, but especially for this first new hire communication. Set clear expectations from the start both verbally and in writing.
8. Relevant Documents. If you've got any documents you've promised to send, get them to your contractor ASAP. If you're using Google Docs, share and give access right away. Let your contractor get to work quickly, so they can make your first deadline and impress you from the get-go.
9. Style Sheet & Marketing Keywords. For any contractor who will be writing content -- for your website, blog, marketing, Twitter, etc. -- be sure to send them your company's style sheet or marketing selling points and keywords. (For example, if you prefer to call your business an "organization" and not a "company," your writer needs to know that before they put pen to paper.)
10.Deadlines. In all the hiring excitement, you might be be surprised how often this key information gets overlooked. Assume nothing. Your contractor might have five other deadlines for other companies this week, so if you want your work done right away, you need to say so. Give your contractor a deadline or an "update" date for every assignment.
Think we've left anything off our new hire care package list? Let us know in the comments below.