So you got yourself an interview, huh?
Congrats! You made it to phase four of this whole landing a freelance client thing.
Phase four you say? Yep!
- Phase 1: Identify a prospect to pitch.
- Phase 2: Pitch them.
- Phase 3: Follow up until you schedule an interview or get told no thanks!
And since we all know you’ll need to pitch more than just one prospect to land a new client, here are a couple other posts that might help you:
- The Ultimate 90 Day Plan to Boosting Your Freelance Business
- Get Your Pitch On: Your Personal Pitching Challenge
And if you put “pitch or pitching” into our search bar, you’ll find all sorts of other good stuff!
But let’s get back to talking about interviewing. You probably have a few questions. Questions like:
- How is interviewing for a freelance gig different than Corporate America?
- How does a freelance interview take place?
- What about resumes?
- What do I need to know to feel prepared/give it my best shot?
So let’s dig into those questions and more. Starting with…
How is interviewing for a freelance gig different than Corporate America?
Since we don’t say the word “hate” in our household, I STRONGLY DISLIKE the traditional Corporate America interview.
Getting asked about your biggest weaknesses (and other ridiculous questions), handing over your hyped up resume on heavy stock paper and wearing your nicest suit. Yep, I don’t miss them. Or want to partake in one EVER AGAIN!
Because they suck.
For you. And for the interviewer. Plus, just because you can interview well, doesn’t mean you’ll be the best fit for the job.
This is also true for those that don’t interview well – maybe they’d make the most kickass employee for that position ever! But if they get unnecessarily nervous and can’t think of a good answer to “If you had to choose, what part of a cheeseburger would you be?” then where does that leave them?
(Umm… the cheese? Seriously, my friend Noelle got asked that question once. WTF?)
But I digress. From my experience, interviewing for freelance gigs is less of a big deal. Obviously, you still want to put your best foot forward and impress the person you’re chatting with.
But typically the interviewer is going to cut to the chase. They don’t want to waste your time or their’s. So it’s all about finding out if you can deliver on what they’re looking for. Are you a match? That’s about it.
Some may take longer than others, but most interviews I’ve had have lasted 10 minutes or less. It’s more formality than anything, because we’ve likely already worked out all of the important details over email. But sometimes we haven’t, so you should be prepared for that part too.
Basically, interviewing for a freelance position is NBD. I mean it is in that you want the job and all, but you might even be able to do it in your pj’s. 😉
How does a freelance interview take place?
Since freelance and working virtually pretty much go hand-in-hand, here are the most common interview methods I’ve seen:
Yes, it is totally possible to have an interview via email.
It seems so strange, I know. But it happens. A LOT! So while it might not “feel” like an interview, it just might be!
Scheduling a phone or Skype interview may or may not be more common. It depends probably on your niche, the client’s preferences, etc. The biggest difference between these two methods are voice-only vs. face-t0-face via video format.
Again, it’s a preference thing. And I always let the client decide what their’s is and coordinate accordingly.
Pro Tip: Don’t have a Skype ID? Go out and get yourself one – setting up an account is free and might come in handy down the road for other stuff.
What about resumes?
I talk about resumes more extensively in both of my courses, but suffice it to say they’re on their way out. At least in the world of freelance that is.
- A Hire Me page (I’m currently redoing mine as we speak)
- A 1-2 Pager (basically a pdf showcasing your experience, skills, etc.)
- A Portfolio (via Contently or another method)
So instead of putting a bunch of rather meaningless words on a page and fretting over the gap in your employment history, tell someone what you can do and prove it by listing stats or linking to samples/examples when possible!
PS: Here’s a great post we published on creating a stellar resume last year!
What do I need to know to feel prepared/give it my best shot?
Okay, now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, what about some practical tips to help you own that interview and maintain the highest odds of getting the gig? Here are my top five:
1. Walk Around
If your interview is being conducted over the phone (as opposed to Skype or Hangouts), walk around while you’re talking.
Why? Doing so makes you more relaxed, opens up your lungs and encourages deeper breathing. Or something! 😉 I don’t know if that’s scientifically accurate, but I do know that it’ll make you less nervous!
2. Prepare Ahead of Time
Write down the prospect’s name and contact details on the top of a blank page of paper and your contact info. at the bottom.
Why? Because if you’re nervous, you might forget! And having it right in front of you means you won’t fumble.
Another way to prepare ahead of time is to do a little more research on your prospect. Stop by their website, sign up for their newsletter list and follow them on social media. They’ll be impressed that you made the effort and you’ll learn a bit more about them, their company and their sales funnel in the process.
Also be prepared with answers to some common questions like:
- How much do you charge?
- Have you done this before?
- When can you start?
And if you spot an opportunity in their business from your research, don’t hesitate to bring it to their attention. Just make sure not to insult or criticize them. Your approach and wording are everything!
3. Listen More Than You Talk
Obviously they’ll want to hear all about you and what you have to offer.
But they’ll also be more than happy to talk about themselves and their business. It’s human nature!
And asking lots of questions (the right kind) will make you seem interested (which you should be) and allow you to learn pertinent details about the position and their business. Write your questions down in the middle of that sheet of paper we mentioned above ahead of time.
Smiling is good whether you’re on a regular ol’ phone call or a video call via Skype.
Smiling makes you approachable and friendly. And when you do it via a regular phone call, it lifts your mood and makes you come off a bit more bubbly. It also relaxes you.
And let’s face it, we could all smile more!
5. Chill the Eff Out!
Many of the above tips are to help calm your nerves.
When you feel as prepared as possible, try playing out the conversation in your head beforehand. This will help you to visualize the outcome and anticipate what might happen.
But then chill out. Go for a quick walk, do some jumping jacks or something else to break those last few nerves.
Be confident in who you are and own it. You got this girlfriend (or boyfriend)! 😉
So there you go!
Hopefully what you just read will arm you with everything you need to know to kill it in your next interview.
Just remember that freelance interviews are way better than the traditional kind (on average), that there are a few different ways they take place, resumes are a bit archaic and there are a few simple things you can do to relax, come off more confident and authoritative in your discussion.
So go out there and do this thing! If you haven’t, figure out who you’re going to pitch, send a whole bunch of them, follow up until you get an interview (or at least a no thanks) and then own that interview you set up.
You got this!
Have you had a freelance interview yet? How did you feel it compared to a traditional one?