FlexJobs is all about curating legitimate job opportunities for freelancers. That’s a noble cause, but it also means that FlexJobs focuses on making freelancers’ lives easy, while sometimes neglecting employers or making them jump through hoops.
FlexJobs claims to be the largest, most experienced, number one job site to hire remote and flexible freelancers. Impressive, huh?
The aim of the site is to help people find jobs to fit around their lifestyle, not the other way around. That all sounds pretty great for the freelancers involved, but what does it mean for employers?
FlexJobs claims that by giving you access to different types of workers, like parents trying to combine work with family life or military spouses who need to be able to work from anywhere, you’ll be reaching a new pool of talent you’d have missed out on otherwise.
The website is split into two sections: job seekers and employers. For me, this is where its biggest problem lies. FlexJobs obviously needs both elements for the site to run effectively, but at every stage, more importance is placed on the role of the freelancers. As an employer, you’re a second thought.
How do I know this? I signed up as an employer and was met with problem after problem. In fact, it was like FlexJobs didn’t even want me to sign up – read on to see what I’m talking about. In a nutshell, this is no easy ride. And it’s not cheap, either–you’ll have to pay for a monthly or annual fee to post jobs and find candidates.
Think of these free postings as a “try before you buy” situation. FlexJobs understands that signing up to a monthly or yearly membership is quite a commitment, so it lets you submit up to five jobs to its database at no extra cost.
As long as you have all the necessary information, you can submit a job posting for review, but the guidelines are pretty strict. Fail to miss any of the criteria and, as the site states, “your job will simply not be posted.” Nice.
In order to submit a job posting, it already has to be listed elsewhere, whether that’s on your company website or another job board such as LinkedIn or Monster (but not UpWork, Craigslist, or Twitter, apparently). Basically, it needs to be visible and live so FlexJobs can check if it’s a legitimate role according to their standards.
To me, this seems like you’re having to put in most of the work. You’ll have already made the job ad and posted it elsewhere, so why do you need to post it on FlexJobs too?It’s a convoluted process, but to be fair, it’s still free at this stage, so if FlexJobs isn’t for you, at least you won’t be losing any money.
Access to New and Unique Talent Pools
As I mentioned above, FlexJobs prides itself on helping you reach new and untapped candidate groups, ones that you won’t have had access to before. You’ll find your traditional, “mainstream” candidates on the site, but many of the job seekers need work flexibility for a specific reason.
If you’ve come to FlexJobs, you’re probably looking for remote workers, so you’ll also find these groups of people who want to work remotely with you, too:
Working mothers (the site is not a fan of the working fathers, apparently)
People with disabilities
Just because these people want or need to be flexible with their work, it doesn’t mean they aren’t also really talented in their field. I think it’s great that FlexJobs is helping these groups of people into employment – it’s not all about the 9-5 these days, right?
The beauty of an employer membership with FlexJobs is that you also gain unlimited access to the resume database, so you’ll be able to look through all of those potential candidates at your leisure. The candidates aren’t screened or vetted in the same way employers are, but you can see some stats from recent studies FlexJobs conducted with its job seekers:
82% have a college degree (40% Bachelors)
73% are employed in some capacity
74% have worked remotely before, either some of the time or full-time
81% are mid-level or manager-level professionals
So there’s some assurance that the candidates you’re searching through are of a decent caliber, although I’d personally like to see candidates complete a test or provide references for their work.
(As a freelancer, you also have to pay to join FlexJobs, then you’re free to add your resume and search for jobs. But that’s it. Pay, and you’re in.)
Endless Resources for Employers
Under Employer Resources, you’ll find plenty of articles, job-trend reports, and telecommuting stats to keep you occupied. And that’s before you sign up for a membership. There’s a whole lot more to access when you sign up. On FlexJobs’ pricing page, it says you’ll get “expert articles on remote and flexible work hiring, management, and culture” – ideal if you’re new to the remote working way of life.
Pause Your Account to Suit Your Hiring Needs
With a monthly subscription to pay, you may be thinking, what happens when you’re no longer hiring? You may have found a freelancer now, but there’s no knowing when you may need to start up the recruiting process again. This is something FlexJobs has taken into consideration.
If your hiring priorities change, there’s the option to pause your account for up to 60 days. The days it’s paused won’t be counted as active on your membership. The renewal date for your membership will get automatically pushed back and you can reactivate it anytime you want.
This is great for large companies who have recruitment drives at different times of the year, but for smaller businesses, 60 days still isn’t all that long. If you’re not going to be hiring someone every two months, you may want to rethink if a subscription is worth it.See full list of features
Ease of use
Other recruitment websites focus on their clients: the employers advertising their jobs. But with FlexJobs, its focus is finding great job postings for the job seekers. As an employer looking for freelancers on the site, it’s a whole other ball game. This is my experience with FlexJobs – the good, the bad, and the downright impossible.
An Impossible Sign-Up Process
FlexJobs isn’t easy to use as an employer. At all. There, I’ve said it. You’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops to even get close to seeing a list of candidates, let alone hire them. I tried to sign up for FlexJobs as a small business and was blocked at almost every turn.
The signup page looked simple enough, asking for my name and job title as expected. But there’s an issue. If you don’t have a company LinkedIn profile, company website, and an email address connected to that domain, it’s game over, right there and then. That’s quite a big ask for many small or new businesses and a complication I wasn’t expecting.
If your company doesn’t have a website yet, well, it may be time to think about setting one up (that’s just good business sense). But is it worth doing just to get registered on FlexJobs? Absolutely not. From this sign-up page alone, I could tell FlexJobs is geared toward bigger companies, not us little guys.
And if you’re reading this thinking, “Cool, I have all of those things covered and under control,” here’s another curveball. When I tried to fill in the details for one of the free job postings, I received this email reply:
Not only will you need a website, Linkedin profile, and company email address, but you’ll also need online client and employee reviews, press, and other third-party mentions, “etc.” I didn’t even want to ask what the “etc.” entails.
This level of identification seems extreme. While the emphasis is obviously on protecting freelancers from scams and fake or disreputable companies, employers on the site are not protected in the same way. In fact, I emailed FlexJobs to check their policy on vetting freelancers, and was told the following:
If you’re a small business looking for a one-off hire or some ad-hoc support, there are much easier routes to go down. I’d recommend looking at other freelance platforms, like Fiverr, where you can check ratings and previous customer reviews to ensure the quality of each freelancer. It’s also a much simpler hiring process…for everyone.
There’s acomprehensive FAQ page for both employers and freelancers split into four categories: About, Jobs, Support, and Billing. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, you can contact the “Employer Services team.”
Contact hours are from 9am-6pm (Mountain Time), Monday-Friday, so there’s no out-of-hours, 24/7 support line, but I’m guessing recruitment-based crises tend to wait for office hours, anyway. You can get in touch by email (or online contact form), phone, or go old-school and snail-mail a question to the offices in Colorado.
Interestingly, when I scoped out the freelancer section of the site, there was also a live chat option. Although I eventually found a small “Need help?” icon in the corner of the Employer screen, which brings up a chatbot-like form, it’s not mentioned anywhere else on the employer section. It looks like they’d rather promote this function to the freelancers.
I sent an email via the online form and was told I would get a response “within a few hours,” despite the page saying it would take one business day. I also had the option to amend or add an update to my query if I’d forgotten to mention something while I waited for a response, which I appreciated.
Having experienced the employer vetting process, I asked about the process for freelancers. The response was not, in fact, through a live chat system, but instead via email again. I got an answer within a few hours (so you won’t be getting any instant responses as an employer), plus a whole lot of extra information I didn’t ask for.
I wanted to thoroughly test FlexJobs’ responses, so I asked another question, this time through the live chat on the freelancer support page. I got a response within a similar time frame, and surprise surprise, the same block of extra text as before. It’s no wonder both of these replies ended up in my spam folder.
Maybe cut back on the copy and paste next time, FlexJobs.
With FlexJobs, you pay a flat-rate, monthly subscription fee, or you can pay for the whole year upfront and save 25%.
If you choose to pay monthly, it’ll set you back nearly $300 a month, which FlexJobs describes as its “low cost” option. That’s still a pretty high cost in my books, before you’ve even posted a job and hired someone. So, what do you get for that supposedly “small” fee?
Unlimited job posts – useful, but only if you’ve got a mountain of freelancers to hire
Activity and data reporting – so you can see company page views, applicant volume and trends
Expert articles on remote and flexible work hiring
Unlimited resume searches of candidates – now this is what you came for, right?
Resources and member savings on services like WeWork and Zoom
Dedicated account support
Customized employer profile
There are also customized member upgrades if you want to pay more for webinars, premium placements, or social media promotion of your job postings. To me, though, this only suggests that FlexJobs is flooded with companies looking for freelancers and that you’ll struggle to get your listing seen. You don’t want to be competing for freelancers’ attention, you want them competing for yours.
So, what next? Once you’ve found a freelancer, the rest is up to you. That’s right, the monthly cost doesn’t mean the site actually matches you up to candidates. That’s your job, so get your HR hat on.
The freelancer’s rate and how you pay them is up to you to negotiate – FlexJobs says it doesn’t manage the payment process.There’s no upfront information about typical freelance rates, either,which makes it difficult to budget beyond the large, monthly subscription cost.
Even after you’ve negotiated a fee, with no vetting process, who’s to say paying more will get you better freelancers? In fact, when we tested out Fiverr Pro, we found that paying more for logo design didn’t get us more, and I mean that as a positive. Paying less got us better results. You can see what I’m talking about here:
If you do end up signing up to FlexJobs, however, and are not fully satisfied, FlexJobs will offer you a full refund within seven days of the membership starting. You can simply cancel the membership from your account settings and then contact customer support to request a refund. After seven days though, you’re on your own.
FlexJobs accepts Visa, American Express, Mastercard, and Discover. Or if you prefer PayPal or corporate check, that’s also an option, but you’ll need to contact Client Support to arrange this.
FlexJobs isn’t going to get you the results that other freelancer websites will. Its focus is on getting the best jobs for its network of freelancers, and while that’s great for job seekers, it’s not so great for employers. If you want a platform that makes the process easier and is more inclusive of everyone, you should check out Fiverr instead.
Emily Adams is a freelance writer and editor with a background in content marketing. She's done a bit of everything, working across social, print, digital and email campaigns for a number of clients from Skyscanner to American Express.