Growing your freelance business can be more challenging than starting out as a freelancer. As more businesses are getting familiar with remote work and start using a global pool of freelancers, freelancers have to meet certain requirements to be able to work from any part of the world.
An important part of landing the job is the interview process. That's when you go from being a faceless name on a list of potential freelancers to your full vibrant, amazing self. These 8 tips will help you nail the interview and increase your chances of success.
Review your work-from-home setup
Clients not only expect a quick response to emails, they may ask to have ad hoc video calls to refine the strategy whenever they feel is necessary. With virtual meetings, they are expecting to achieve the same goals as with conventional meetings in the office.
During the interview, you have to show you are well-equipped for these types of situations and have a grasp of technology. Nothing can be more annoying than losing sound at the key moment of the conversation with your prospect or a cluttered background!
Here are some quick tips to help you prepare for a video interview with your future clients:
· Avoid low angles – keep camera eye-level or higher
· Choose a neutral background
· Adjust microphone levels
· Minimize network disruptions
· Test Wi-Fi before the call
· Use a good camera (an external one is usually better than built-in)
· Sit near the window or a light source
· Don’t mix light sources (natural light and lamp)
The first impression clients get of you is made up with multiple touch points they have with your brand before the interview even takes place.
Before inviting you for an interview, they usually do a thorough due diligence on your social media, portfolio, and personal website. They may even ask people you've worked with in the past their opinion about you as a professional. You can’t change the fact that recruiters do these kinds of background checks, but you can control how they perceive you.
Just take an example of logo and professional branding. By investing in a top-notch personal website and branding, you can make a good first impression when your prospects start searching for mentions about you online.
Listen to the prospect
When coming for an interview, most candidates naturally start talking about their experience. Often, they start sentences with “I did…” or “I had…”
Explaining your background is important. However, your experience is not actually the focal point of the interview. Recruiters are more interested in understanding how you fit in their project objectives. That’s why it's just as important to listen to what your potential client has to say – what their project objectives, deadlines, and requirements are.
Every freelancer should be a good salesperson. It’s been proven that the best salespeople are those who can listen and let their prospect talk more. Listening to a prospect’s needs accounts for 69% of success. So next time you turn up for an interview, spend some time asking your prospect questions and trying to understand what their pain points, needs, and goals are.
Do your research
When I was looking for a freelance copywriter for the first time, I created a job offer, published it, and next morning – “Bang!” – my email was swamped with over 60 applications. What project owner wouldn’t be happy to have that many resumes to choose from?
However, in that case and probably in most others, the majority of the candidates would have sent the same application to hundreds of companies without even looking into the prospect’s profile.
While you don’t have to spend hours preparing for interviews to impress your prospect, you should dedicate 15-20 minutes to take a quick look at the project and come up with some general points and suggestions. With this tactic, you can stand out from the crowds of other freelancers.
Show a remote culture fit
Remote work has already become a part of company culture in various organizations. If you are applying for a fully remote project, there is a huge chance your future client will want you to demonstrate the right skill set for a remote collaboration.
During the interview, you should prove you are not new to asynchronous communication and can work effectively from home.
A truly effective remote freelancer is able to do at least the following:
Good planning skills and organization
You should share your tips on how you manage to check all the boxes with your plans – be it Pomodoro technique or some other productivity framework.
Keeping everyone in the loop
When working remotely everyone needs to know task status and should be able to easily track progress. Tell how you are using the tools you have at your disposal to achieve this task such as Kanban framework, subtasks, notifications, and more.
Not expecting a response right away
If you are going to work with people from different time zones, you should be respectful of their time off. Mentioning this will help score more points with your prospect!
Focus on your relevant past experience
In some cases, a less skilled and experienced freelancer is chosen for a project. There are few factors that can influence the company’s decision to go for such candidates, including the candidate's industry experience.
When a pharmaceutical company is conducting a structured job interview to hire a freelance copywriter, previous experience working in the pharmaceutical industry is key. As pharmaceutical companies have to adhere to legal regulations of what can and can’t be used in the advertisement content, the perfect candidate has to know the nitty-gritty of it.
While preparing for an interview with your prospect, find some way to refer to your past experience in relation to your prospect’s industry. Instead of explaining every aspect of your 10-year career, it’s best to focus only on those past projects you have done for a similar industry.
Show your portfolio
When your potential client sees your portfolio, they can understand your level of expertise and learn what they can expect from cooperation with you.
Establishing trust is another thing that a portfolio helps achieve. It is also a great tool for creating a value proposition. By looking at a designer’s previous work, you can get an understanding of what style, complexity, and domain the freelancer has worked with before.
But this doesn’t apply merely to graphic designers. If you are focused on SaaS copywriting, you can also organize your portfolio in a visual way by creating a separate presentation with screenshots, links, and supporting images. Make sure you make this document available to your clients before and during the interview.
Make it easy to see your past experience
Invest some time into creating a decent resume that would show your experience in a nutshell. Avoid too much text and try to fit all bullet points on one page. While it won’t work in all cases, succinct and to-the-point copy usually works better when recruiters just scan the text, instead of reading in depth.
You can use online resume builders to create a resume faster.
By using bulleted lists, charts, and icons, you also make it easier for a recruiter to refer to your experience. As your resume is the first thing a recruiter will check before meeting you in person, making it top-notch will most likely make a positive impression on your prospect.
Landing more freelance projects will help you achieve more stability and build on a financial safety cushion. Hopefully, with the tips we have mentioned in this article, you will be able to gain the trust of more companies and stand out from other freelancers when having interviews with your leads.