The bad freelancer's guide to interview etiquette

Apr 15, 2016

Interviews! A stressful process, during which we often find ourselves at sea: what’s polite? What’s too pushy? What’s assertive, but not aggressive? What’s aggressive, but in a good go-getter way?

Fear not, fellow freelancers! The Bad Freelancer has compiled a few fast tips that will get you past the interview... and into the padded cell.

One word: MYSTERY

People love James Bond. Why? Is it because he drives fast cars and is really ridiculously good-looking and effortlessly seduces smoky-eyed women while saying pithy things in a posh accent and is able to do some crazy martial arts stuff on any fool that annoys him?

... no, it is because James Bond is MYSTERIOUS. Duh.

Don’t just give it all up at once for an interview. Make the recruiter WORK for your information. When they ask you a question about your resume, fix them with your steely, powerful stare. Don’t answer. If they press you for answers, inform them that the information is classified, and take a long, slow slip of an ice-cold martini while casually fingering a throwing star.

Then sit back and wait for the offer to come rolling in!

Make it active

Imagine, you’re a recruiter, interviewing people for a freelance gig, over and over again. Ho hum, there’s another potential hire, walking in and handing over their resume! How terribly dull. How can I hire any of these derivative, conventional, pedestrian freelancers?

But then, just before your next interviewee comes in... you hear the pounding strains of the Rocky theme song. Your office door flies open – and the next freelancer flies in! She’s doing backflips, twirls, triple front layouts with half-twists. Her floor routine is edgy, dangerous, unpredictable – with just a hint of sass, and a few really elegant dance flourishes (she must have trained in ballet). Finally, she finishes in a whip-fast, almost unimaginably graceful, airborne switch split jump... and lands in perfect stillness, her chest heaving, her face aglow with pride. The crowd leaps to its feet – she waves a chalk-dusted hand as they chant USA! USA! – and you, my friend, have found your new graphic designer.

Don’t walk in like a chump, okay? Do a cartwheel, at least. Do it for YOUR COUNTRY.

Don’t be self-absorbed

Ugh, who likes people who only talk about themselves? Really, why is it all about YOU and YOUR qualifications? Head off accusations of self-absorption and narcissism by turning every question around on an interviewer – where did they go to school? Why are they qualified for this job? How did they find out about the interview? What are their references? What’s that on their resume?

Where do they live? Can you see pictures of their kids? What’s their credit score? What’s their social security number? When do they go to bed at night? Do they lock the front door? Really, both locks? And are they sound sleepers, or what – like, would they sleep through a small window being broken? What about a deadbolt being slowly, meticulously sawed through?

...why’s the security guy here?

Dress the part

They say to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. This is doubly true when selecting an outfit for an interview.

.... come dressed as Queen Elizabeth II. You’ll never need to work again. If anybody objects to your decrees, declare them traitors and have them transported to the colonies. You are... you are pretty sure that is still a thing.

Kate Shea lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.

Kate Shea

Kate Shea lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily.