Tips on finding outsourced talent


I’ve used outsourcing sites (oDesk, Elance*) and crowdsourcing sites (Designcrowd, Hatchwise) for both design and programming talent on a number of projects. Here’s my tips:

  • Write a good specification. With images. Enough said.
  • Scout the talent - don’t wait for them to find you. Posting a job on oDesk/Elance will give you tonnes of applicants that don’t have the skills. Instead, post a invite-only job request, then search for people using as unique keywords you can come up with (e.g. “NodeJS”, not “JavaScript”).
  • You can’t find design talent on oDesk/Elance. No good way to browse, and “good design” is hard to define in a requirements specification. Instead, use Dribbble to find designers you like.
  • Ready-made design can be a better option than crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is time-consuming and/or expensive and/or produces low-quality output. The old project management quote “you can have it fast, good and cheap - now pick any two” comes to mind. A better option is buying a ready-made design from Brandcrowd, Stocklogos, or 99designs.

*oDesk and Elance are now the same company. But I used both when they weren’t. :-)