Ask questions and learn from expert freelancers
I am both an employer and a developer on freelancer.com so I can provide some insights from both perspectives.
For employers it all boils down to experience. If you are an employer without any prior IT experience (which is most likely) you might not know what to write, or what you need. By writing "I need someone to make me a website" you're basically saying: "I need a car" . What type of car? Brand? Options? Extra's? Does it need to drive? Is it a museum piece. Will you come pick it up?
Specifying what you need is only the first start. By writing up a good project brief, a brief containing specific information to as 'what you need on which page and why', you'll automatically attract better bids.
Once you have a proper brief, the filtering begins. Within a few seconds of placing your project, you'll receive ten if not fifty bids. Discard these bids right away, they are automatic bids by people and/or bots. These people try to bid as much as they can automatically without reading your project brief and hope you'll choose them. Another trick I've used is to attach the project specification as a PDF to the project brief. In the PDF mention: "you should reply in your bid with 'i actually read the pdf' in order to qualify for this job". This will also filter out people who bid without even reading the work that needs to be done.
After filtering out the first 50 or so, it's time to really go through the list of freelancers. Freelancer.com offers excellent ways for freelancers to showcase their skills: 1) Feedback, 2) A personal profile 3) A personal showcase and 4) Freelancer exams. These items will help you to create a broader profile of the person trying to score the job.
Please keep in mind that there are different types of freelancer. Me, I'm a 1-man team, I moonlight, so I only work in the evenings. There are complete businesses on here with teams of 100 people and larger. Choose the right person right there, or use the recruiter feature of freelancer.com.
Alternatively (and I've done this before), hire an expert freelancer to sift through the entries for you, and ask the bidders to propose a write-up of what they will build, and a planning with that. Your expert freelancer will then help you to find the right person.
It's up to the job. The larger the job, the bigger the risks. Good luck find the right person!
The best way to find an experienced and good freelancer is by eliminating those you would not want to bid. You can eliminate those you do not want in several ways:
o You should take a look at the freelancer.com community section, which contains articles in different categories. Take a look at the category you want, scan through the articles available and then check out the writer of the content you like best. There's a Hire Me button you could use. Alternatively, you can contact that freelancer via the chat platform and discuss terms.
o You can also use the recruiter feature of freelancer.com. Freelancers who qualify for this feature are usually the best and the highest rated. The freelancer recruiter will work to ensure you get the best of the best and thus eliminate all the lower ranked freelancers.
o You could limit bids to freelancers who have taken exams of the subjects related to your project. That way, those who do not have proven skills will automatically be excluded.
o You could also sift through all the bids and shortlist those with the highest ratings and the most positive reviews.
The above are the available ways to find the best freelancers in the most organized and productive way possible.