June 7th, 2022

Junior, Mid, or Senior Freelancer: How to Determine the Experience Level you Need

Category / Agency

Understanding what junior, mid, and senior freelance talent looks like will help you define accurate project scopes and budgets and help find the right talent to work with.

Imagine you have an opportunity to take on an amazing project. Everything about the contract sounds great, except the scope is beyond the skill set of your current team. The good news is there is now an incredible amount of top open talent at your fingertips, so hiring freelancers to fill those niche skills is a smart move. 

The bad news…how do you know what experience level you need? 

Should you hire a junior or mid-level freelancer? Or perhaps invest more with a senior role?

In this article, we’ll talk about what every level means and expectations for each, so you can properly determine the right experience level for your project, maximize its success and save money.

What do we mean by experience level?

Experience level has to do with the years of experience someone has in their work field.

Table 1 below, outlines the three most common experience levels: Junior, Mid, and Senior; plus two expert levels: Director and Consultant. The table also provides examples of when you might want to consider hiring a particular experience level, as well as a simple rate comparison.

Note: These descriptions are generalizations and not a hard and fast rule.

Table 1: Experience Level & Rates

Pro-Tip: The amount of time a freelancer takes to complete a deliverable is often based on their level of experience. While inexperienced freelancers have lower rates, they will take more time to get work done.

Junior level talent expectations

Junior freelancers are generally the followers of instructions and the doers of tasks. They require initial training to understand your process and will need senior leaders for direction and feedback.

Let’s take, for example, a junior graphic designer – a freelancer in this position can typically:

A junior graphic designer can have a big impact on moving your project ahead, but it’s important to provide oversight and guidance to ensure your project runs smoothly.

Mid-level talent expectations

Mid-level freelancers have more than two years of experience, usually in a particular niche. They will still require some guidance, but they have what it takes to do the work.

Another industry example is that of a mid-level developer – they can typically:

A mid-level developer understands leadership and project milestones and deadlines. Yet, you might need a senior developer to oversee the project and provide feedback if you want top results.

Senior level talent expectations

Senior freelancers can handle difficult or skill-intensive tasks without ongoing management. They have high-level skills, and you can expect them to get the job done without supervision. All you need to do is provide a clear brief and make time to review outputs to ensure you are aligned on project goals. 

An industry-specific example is a senior copywriter – a freelancer in this position can:

A senior-level copywriter has the expertise to get the job done without micromanaging.

Director and consultant level talent expectations

Director and consultant level freelancers provide strategic and tactical advice. They offer invaluable outside perspectives as strategists and planners, especially with complex projects or if you don’t have a process in place. 

These highly experienced freelancers can execute difficult and niche tasks and help you build systems and processes, manage projects independently and send regular reports and updates. 

Take for example, a marketing consultant—they can:

A Marketing Consultant can help your business reach new audiences, gain more clients and keep existing customers so you can maximize your project’s success and increase revenue.

What next?

The most important questions to ask yourself when deciding what experience level to hire is: Do you need basic help from a junior freelancer, or do you need an expert to strategize and develop a process for your project? 

Hiring the wrong experience level can turn out bad for both parties, so be sure to consider your project’s needs and budget before hiring. Check out Communo’s Guide to Scoping and Budgeting Freelance Projects for additional help.

We’ve got talent

Now that you have more clarity on the different experience levels of freelance talent, it’s time to find the perfect candidate for your job. Communo has over 65k freelancers waiting to hear from you.

Need help hiring? Communo’s Concierge team takes care of the entire hiring process for you, from writing the job description and advertising the project to interviewing and hiring the right freelancer. Get in touch to see how we can work together: [email protected].


1 Experience levels 4 Freelance projects 7 Freelancers 3 How to budget

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