Five questions that every client asks a freelancer

freelance freelancing time management freelancing tips
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Advice for freelance job interviews can look different from regular job interviews and for good reason. At regular job interviews, the interviewer is keen to figure how you fit into the cultural ethos of the organisation. At a freelance interview however, interviewers want to determine if you can resolve an existing problem in a predetermined frame of time. Questions can therefore tend to be more result-oriented.

Here are a few interview tips to help you answer various types of questions that are primarily oriented towards establishing five key aspects of your work:

  1. Time management

  2. ‘Are you able to meet this timeline?’ or ‘Do you have time to take on additional work?’ These questions are geared towards understanding how you manage time. Most freelancers are paid on an hourly basis and the per-hour rate of freelancers are about 30% to 40% higher than full-time employees. When answering this question, demonstrate why you’re worth the extra cost. Show how you’ve successfully managed multiple projects in the past, examples of tight deadlines you’ve met and your bandwidth to take on the new project. Let them know when they can expect to have key milestones met.

  3. Understanding of the project

  4. Questions like, ‘What are the three core skills needed for this project?’ or ‘What will you do on the first day of this project,’ seek to determine if you’ve truly understood what is expected of you. Before you appear for the interview, make sure you thoroughly understand what is expected from the profile. Ask for a written description of the objectives and understand for how long the client expects to hire you. Research expectations from similar job profiles and the key deliverables. Be prepared to present your plan of action.

  5. The quality of your work

  6. Depending on the nature of work, clients will expect to see samples of past work. Your portfolio could be a digital link of your best work or a pen drive with samples. Even for roles that do not entail physical deliverables, make sure you cover your achievements in a brief case study format. For instance, if you’re a social media strategist, your brief could describe the client’s objectives and how you achieved it. Call out key results—both quantitative and qualitative ones. Apart from demonstrating that you’re proficient, the time and thought put into this will tell the client you’re a professional who takes your work seriously.

  7. Your working style

  8. ‘Tell me about a recent freelance project you’ve worked on,’ or ‘What will your step-by-step approach to this project be?’

    Be prepared to face these or similar questions regarding your working style. Clients know they cannot dictate hours and may wonder if their project will receive due attention amidst conflicting assignments. Let them know your availability during working hours, your proven track record for meeting deadlines, your willingness to participate in reviews and your process for incorporating changes. Also, let them know your plan for updating them on progress and your minimum expectations from them—for instance a weekly check-in call.

  9. Your interest

  10. Questions that ask for your feedback are not mere courtesy, but an opportunity for the client to understand if you’ve really understood their project. Your answer, or rather, your questions should demonstrate that you’ve understood what is expected and that you’ve researched the organisation beforehand. It is also an opportunity for you to clarify terms or sound off your initial ideas.

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