The latest IPSE surveys show that there are more than 1.5 million skilled temporary staff in the UK - and the number is increasing all the time. How do you stand out from others in the market, and ensure you’re in pole position for the best jobs?

One way which carries particular weight is to use feedback from previous clients to convince new ones - we all love a testimonial, and there is much research that tells us that the best guide to future performance is past performance!

There are different approaches which members can take - for example, if you are a designer you might gather your past portfolio into a design history website, which is linked to your CV; or if you are a project manager, you might gather testimonials or references from previous clients on LinkedIn or on a personal website.

The challenge for members pursuing this approach is to obtain and publish data which is credible to the hiring client. Where you’re showing specific work (eg a design portfolio) your work can speak for itself, but you’ll still rely on other methods to communicate your working style, and whether people would re-hire you.

For roles where it’s harder to directly showcase your work, the challenges are even greater, especially when it comes to soliciting feedback from clients.

Full, honest references are the “Gold Standard” of data here, but typically they disappoint. They tend to come in two forms: one is the “positive only” testimonial familiar to users of eBay or LinkedIn. Here the issue is that all feedback looks similar and no-one ever has any skills that are less than perfect. The other form is the “empty” reference beloved of worried corporates everywhere, confirming start and end dates and nothing else.

Historically freelancers have solved this issue by word of mouth, encouraging new clients to contact old ones directly. This is an excellent approach where old client, new client and freelancer all know each other, but it only works in a limited number of cases.

A new solution comes from IPSE Affiliates HiredByMe. They allow you to collect and publish full, honest feedback from previous clients, which can be helpful to you on two ways: - it’s sometimes difficult, as a freelancer, to get clear performance feedback. If you don’t know where your development areas are it can, naturally, be hard to develop them - by providing clear, honest, independent feedback to future clients, which is balanced and includes development areas as well as strengths, clients and agents trust that the data is right.

The key to this more rounded feedback is their development of a protected legal environment which protects givers of reference against legal action - either from you, as the subject, or from a future client. But because all feedback is still controlled by you (you pick the referee; you see the feedback before it’s published; you decide whether to publish it) you can still control and manage your reputation online.

The tool is free to use as a contractor, and IPSE members get priority access by using referral code HBM1968.

For more information, go to


Marketing Yourself