Many freelancers, who have profiles on marketplaces like oDesk, Elance and Freelancer at times have to go through interviews by clients who are considering to hire them. Getting through them, and winning the job, can however seem like a very different task than writing a convincing cover letter.
However, that does not mean it is any less challenging. Some freelancer feel uncomfortable being put on the spot. Others find it hard to “improvise” when they are not really sure what they can be asked. Also, at times preparing too much can get in the way of giving a natural impression. You can almost be too robotic.
Here are a few tips to win a freelance job in the interview:
- Be willing to lose it. This might sound a little odd, however at times, wanting to win too much, can come across as desperation. It can also increase your stress levels, to a point where it can hinder your performance. Therefore, when you prepare for an interview, try to remember to define it as “an opportunity” to prepare for, not as “the interview”.
- Prepare when you apply. Particularly when you apply for freelance jobs, at times you have the opportunity to write replies to what is requested, that can be a good starting point for the interview. Therefore start by reading the initial brief, and your initial reply.
- Create a list of questions. With your initial research write at least 5-10 questions. Usually there are unclear areas of job descriptions that you can use to your advantage. It can not only help you clarify what is requested, but also allow you to come across as caring about what the client is after.
- Review your strengths and weaknesses. You can expect that the client want to know why you would be a good fit for the role. You might have weaknesses which you could be asked about. Ideally you should identify the largest ones, and know how you can use your strengths to mitigate the weaknesses. That can help you come across as thoughtful.
- Do a few test interviews. If you do not know anyone who works in HR, try to get a friend to ask you questions. Try to make the conditions identical to how you expect the interviewing situation to be like. So if you expect the interview to be on Skype, make sure your friend is doing it on Skype as well. That way you can get more valuable feedback from your friend.
- Listen and give your most thoughtful answers. It can be a common mistake among freelancers to say “yes” with confidence to any request or question the client might have, regardless of how right the answer is. Try to break that by clarifying questions you do not fully understand, and try to give as descriptive answers as possible. Also clarify important areas you think needs more attention, and areas where you are uncertain of, or need to research more.
- Learn to say “no, however”. There can come moments in the interview where you could be asked questions about, in particular, areas you might not know about. Then you ideally want to point towards other things you know that could be relevant, showcasing that although you might know have the asked skills, you could still have comparative skills.
You might not win your first job right away. Accept that. You are training a skill. So try to look at each job interview as a learning experience. Reflect on what worked, and what you can do better. Then with time, as your skills improve, your hit ratio will improve.
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