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11 Feb 2015

How To Find Outsourced Employees For Your Indie Studio

Here’s the situation: you have way too much work on your hands as you work tirelessly to finish your indie game. Worst of all? You need specialized assets created – and you have no clue how to create them. Unless you get some help, you are going to be unable to finish your game, so what can you do?

It’s simple: find outsourced employees. If you have no idea how to do this, it may sound difficult at first; but it’s not. Finding outsourced employees that are ideal for your indie studio is easier than ever, so follow our advice below and begin the hunt for the perfect outsourced employee.

Where to look

Your search should begin with the top three outsourcing platforms on the Web: Elance, oDesk, and Freelancer.com. So many freelancers use these platforms to find work on a regular basis, so you are bound to find someone within your budget that can deliver the top-quality results you are looking for.

It doesn’t hurt to expand your search, though. Especially if you are looking for someone to create audio and graphics for your indie game, take a look at two of our past features:

As mentioned in the musicians post, Reddit is a great place to look. Consider visiting the ForHire subreddit to find suitable, outsourced professionals.

Placing your ad 

No matter where you decide to post your job ad, it is vital that you are as detailed as possible. This will avoid any confusion regarding what you expect from the outsourced employee and what the employee thinks you want. I can tell you from firsthand experience that one of the biggest reasons people have problems hiring outsourced employees is because they fail to explain what they want. Often, this person has no idea what they want, which leaves the outsourced employee confused and angry because they can’t nail the job.

Again, explain every detail of the job as much as possible (and continue doing so after you have hired the employee). After all, if the outsourced employee has no idea what you want, how can you expect them to deliver something that is pleasing? They may be talented in a way that you can’t wrap your head around, but they aren’t magicians.

What to include in the ad

In addition to being as detailed as possible, you need to inform candidates that they need to include a resume and samples of their work. Moreover, state that candidates should begin their proposal with a certain phrase in the last paragraph of the ad. If you have a specific budget in mind, mention this and inform candidates that you are only wanting to hire outsourced employees that are willing to work within the budget. This will help you to…

Narrow down potential candidates

The mentioned-above items that you need to include in your ad not only informs candidates what they can expect during the project, but also helps you to ‘weed out’ any candidates that could cause you some problems. Unfortunately, you are going to receive proposals from candidates that have been copied-and-pasted from other ads they applied to; and chances are very high they didn’t read your ad. I don’t have to tell you that hiring someone that didn’t fully read the ad is a recipe for disaster…

Instructing candidates to include a phrase in the beginning of their proposal (as mentioned above) is the best way to ensure that you consider only the candidates that fully read your ad. Start there, then begin narrowing down your list by seeing who agrees to stay in budget and which candidates included a resume and a sample. From there, all you have to do is read the samples, look over the resume, and choose the best candidate.

Before you do that, I suggest speaking with your candidates via Skype or the old standby: your telephone. You can tell a lot about someone and how dependable they are going to be by simply talking to them voice-to-voice. Don’t fault them if they are nervous: many people (including myself) hate phone interviews. If they seem genuinely excited and ready to help, consider hiring them.

Test before hiring

This is the final stage of the hiring process, but it’s an important one. Before you officially hire an outsourced employee, you need to provide them with a test project to see if they are going to actually work out in the long run. The test doesn’t have to be anything complicated or lengthy. For example, if you hire an artist, instruct them to create a simple character that reflects your indie game’s art style – and tell them that you will pay them for it. If they deliver the type of work you are looking for, hire them with confidence!

Want to keep them? Provide an incentive

Freelancing can be very lucrative for professionals that are awesome at their craft. These types of freelancers are sought after by all types of employers, and if you find someone that you can depend on, you are going to want to keep them. Freelancers have more than one client, and if the outsourced employees you hire can find a client that offers even more regular work and higher pay, they are probably going to tell you, “see ya,”and go where the grass is greener.

Finding an outsourced employee that is perfect for your indie studio can be difficult – but keeping them can be even harder. That’s why you need to provide some sort of incentive to stay. Reward them with a bonus regularly for good work (not enough clients do this so they will appreciate it), and inform them that if your indie game performs well, you may give them a percentage of sales for a certain amount of time. The more you work with your outsourced employee, the more you are going to get to know them: so provide a proper incentive.

One of the most powerful incentives is also the easiest to provide: being pleasant. Freelancers love regular, decent-paying work, but if the client is a pain to work with none of that matters. I can personally tell you that I’ve walked away from jobs with regular work at a decent wage all because the client was unbearable. That’s the beauty of freelancing: if someone doesn’t like you, they’ll leave and find someone else that’s much easier to work with. You don’t have room to be a jerk, so be one of the good guys and your outsourced employees will be much more willing to stay.

Be patient

Finding the perfect outsourced employee takes time (in fact, it could take a long time). It isn’t going to happen overnight, and you will likely hire outsourced employees that in the end simply do not pan out. But that’s the name of the game. Be patient and continue using our tips mentioned above, and eventually, you will find the perfect outsourced employees for your indie studio. Good luck!

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