If you started freelancing less than a month ago or you’re a few months into the world of freelancing, you may have faced one of the little known facts – A Freelance Interview.
A freelance interview may be conducted via Zoom/Skype or a video interview.
Or maybe via a questionnaire which you answer and submit via a link -google link.
Some employers prefer email interviews then they move to phone interviews in order to get to know about you.
An interview whether freelance or in-office interview makes the smartest of employees pee their pants.
As a newbie or seasoned freelancer, you may have attended an interview lately and are wondering if you aced or flopped the interview.
So you search for what freelance clients ask in a freelance interview setting.
I have provided for you a list of commonly asked freelance interview questions and a guideline for how to answer the questions.
This guide is also for you who have never attended an interview in a virtual setting therefore you’re in a dilemma about what clients are looking for.
I want you to stop worrying if you’re the right candidate or even make a cut for the job.
One thing I tell others is that freelance and a face to face interview aren’t different.
If you can correctly answer the questions about an interview by reading all the interview tips from pros in job-hunting websites like careersidekick.com.
A PRO TIP IF YOU DON’T GET A JOB AS ANTICIPATED: No need to beat yourself up, there’s nothing wrong you have done. Congratulate yourself for getting to the interview phase and move on. If anything, learn from it as you move. It’s a step, a ladder.
Related: Read My Story About Dealing With Rejection as a Freelancer in Kenya
Freelance Questions Clients Love to Ask and Tips for Answering
The following are the most commonly asked freelance questions freelance clients love to ask plus the tips for answering the questions and they include:
What’s your story? Why do you freelance?
When searching for new clients, I get asked this question a lot whether I pitch directly to the client or apply through their jobs board or as a referral. I answer it as honestly as possible.
I started freelancing in 2009 because I couldn’t find a job. I love independence and needed a job.
I spent so much time on Facebook and asked myself, how can I earn money via Facebook instead of wasting time.
It took me three years of consistent research and not giving up to come across the word, Freelance and it was from a blog called freelancerkenya.com and the lightbulb went off.
Lots of my clients get amazed when I approach them, first of all, they realise my nationality and enthusiasm for writing.
I have a portfolio ready for Google Docs samples for them. I pitch mostly for ghostwriting roles.
I have recently pitched on SEO Copywriting and got a few high-paying roles.
When you share your story with the client, the client is looking for your personality, let it shine.
Show you love freelancing, the good, bad and ugly of it. Make your story as true as possible and don’t shy away. Your client knows this is the ONLY personal question to ask in a freelance setting.
Can you show me samples? Demonstrate how you can deliver online work based on your experience
The simple answer is YES. The first years of freelancing, when asked about samples, I faced a dilemma, I thought I had to have written for the New York Times and HuffPost.
Wrong, while writing for authority websites like the Huffpost or New York Times adds to your credibility as a writer, in a freelance setting, the client needs to id with your voice and if your voice matches theirs.
They want to know what kind of writing you do and why. Don’t fret and feel small to show your samples, samples for writers can be up to 1000 words.
You want clients to skim through, make them size 12 and space the paragraphs after three or four lines – that’s my preference.
Samples show your clients you came ready and prepared.
And it doesn’t matter what industry you are in, samples show professionalism and that you’re taking your freelancing career serious.
What’s your work process like?
I got asked this question and embarrassingly didn’t know what to answer.
After freelancing for almost a decade you don’t want to embarrass yourself by not knowing some industry-standard questions.
I don’t get embarrassed easily so I asked the client what he meant by the work process. I’ll admit, I never understood until I did some research for writing this article.
Work process means simply, are you open to feedback?
Are You open to revisions and how many revisions will you take?
Are you working alone or do you have an agency?
You know some people apply for jobs on behalf of their agencies. You want to show the client you’re flexible.
I know some freelance writers who don’t and wouldn’t take revisions no matter what.
The copy they submit is final and no constructive criticism is allowed.
Are you ready for collaborations? For example, if you’re writing a romance book as a ghostwriter, would you engage the expertise of others to make the book better sounding?
Or would you want to work on the book alone? Clients are looking for freelancers who love collaborations.
I hate collaborations but they do excite and I learnt that from a freelance client who encouraged me. Share what your work process is like in detail.
What’s your experience in this position?
I learnt that telling others about your experience means speaking the truth.
Don’t exaggerate your experience no matter how important you want to feel for the role. You’ll get there.
After all, the client will know about your experience depending on the work you submit.
Plus telling about your experience will help know the kind/quality of work the client must expect from you.
If, for example, you know you’re two years into the role, you can call yourself an intermediate, if you have worked the role for 2 years consistently.
Now, tell the client you’re in the middle of a beginner and intermediate.
When you get hired, provide the quality of work an advanced freelancer produces. This is the classic, underpromise, overdeliver.
Rate your skills in this area on a scale of 1-10
As related to how many years you have been freelancing, when asked to rate how you feel you weigh on a scale, ensure to speak the truth.
If you feel confident enough to complete the task, say so. If you have never worked on the role, kindly inform the client.
The client looks for someone ready to learn and complete a task. You shouldn’t be afraid of the scale.
What’s your biggest strength in this role?
I get asked this question a lot as a romantic book author, and I say, creating the outline and painting vivid pictures that leave the reader to no imagination.
I mostly get the role of creating the outline, sometimes, I get clients who have outline creators and the rest is left for me.
When you focus on your strength, tell the client why this strength is beneficial to his project and why based on your strength he must hire you. Make him want you to be on team, you’re a great addition.
How much would you like to be paid? How much do you charge and why?
There’s nothing as shocking as getting asked how much you’d love to get paid as a new freelancer.
I know a few seasoned freelancers who dread this question. I was one of them.
I’d set my rates so low because that’s what I saw on Elance other freelancers charging slave rates as a way of getting the job. A Very Bad Strategy for Freelancers.
I experience rejection when I set my prices too low. If you want to learn proper pricing for freelancers, it’s easy – snoop and see on freelancing websites what other seasoned freelancers charge.
Now, adjust your price according to your level of experience and expertise.
Also, in an interview setting, you want to come prepared with the pricing. For example, do you get paid a dollar for every word? Or do you charge per project or hour?
This question confuses freelancers all the time, DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOUR FREELANCING BUSINESS, YOU KNOW YOUR BUSINESS BEST.
Related: Proper Pricing for Freelancers in Kenya: Everything You Need to Know
Will I get credit for the work I have done?
If you’re a writer, you know ghostwriters don’t get credit for the work done.
I don’t and at first, before I dived deeper into reading books, that was fine.
After reading books on self-publishing on Amazon, I feel like I have lost so much valuable time in my life crafting best-sellers for others.
I can never disclose the name of my clients. This question is a good one to ask your client because you don’t want to get stuck with copyright laws and get banned from Google or another site for reproducing content.
If your client acknowledges, yes, that’s a nod to keep expanding your brand. And if he doesn’t, well, find a client who acknowledges your work.
When your name gets on many publications, you help build your name.
What tools do you use for easy and effective communication with your clients?
Some clients would love to know what tools you use so you can communicate effectively with each other.
Also, some software is great to know so you can earn money teaching freelancers how to utilise some platforms.
Some tools are also great for submitting your work for review as they integrate with other platforms. For example, Basecamp and Google Docs.
Learn the tools you need for your industry and use ONLY the ones which are necessary otherwise, it can be a waste of time trying to learn or understand a tool which you won’t use.
Related Article About Freelance Tools: Tools A Freelancer MUST Be Aware of and Use
Do you have additional questions about the project or our organisation?
When you get asked if you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to ask any questions which are relevant.
Believe me, when you ask questions, clients are intrigued because it shows you’re interested or have further insight into the job.
You will find open-minded employers encouraging you to write all the questions down.
I got a job which I didn’t qualify for during the interview because of the questions I asked. You applied for the job because you loved it.
In freelancing, there’s no follow the money, it’s all about following and letting the passion show.
What do you think is the most important to creating a successful partnership while working remotely?
A client wants to know if you’re a great communicator.
Ensure your client about your ability to complete the job and if you run into any questions or clarifications, that you’ll get back to them.
Also, it’s important to discuss with the client what tool is the best communication tool for him.
If you are employed to work on the per hour jobs, it’s important to use time trackers which update the boss how many hours you worked.
Show your commitment to accomplishing the job and role for which you got chosen.
Can you provide us with references?
Just as with samples, your answer should be a strong YES.
Ensure to inform your references if they would love to vouch for you based on your previous role with them.
I find it easy to engage with employers from previous roles, as a ghostwriter, many of my referees don’t accept this role so easily, well, because their identity will be revealed.
That’s why these days I take on SEO roles because I don’t need to ghostwrite and my employers can vouch for me.
If you’re a beginner, you can ask your employer or someone who you worked with recently to put in a good word for you.
Freelance clients are looking for freelancers who have an excellent track record in similar roles. They want to know what others say about you when you’re not hearing.
Can you explain the feedback you have received from clients?
When a freelance client wants you to explain the feedback you received from clients, they want to hear about your work ethic.
I employed so many people to work on this blog over the years to help reduce my workload but no one has stood the test of time.
Flimsy excuses as to why a blog post never went up was given to me always.
Until I decided enough is enough and I can blog by myself. What do you think I’d write for freelancers like those ones as their previous employer?
You want to leave a mark as a freelancer, new or old, you want your work ethic to be remembered as impactful, thorough and insightful.
Make sure that’s what your clients said and say, if not, don’t lie to your clients. Clients know when you don’t tell the truth.
If a previous client told you, your writing is too simplistic and that’s the only feedback you received, better inform the client.
Some clients don’t know what they want, they are confused.
Writing has to be simplistic for others to understand, right?
The new client will look at this comment with interest and some will hire you immediately because they were searching for a freelance writer with a conversational tone.
While I took it to my heart about my writing being too simplistic, I got hired for years by one of my clients, he liked the engaging tone in my writing. See, not all bad or badly intended comments are bad.
What projects are you working on now?
On a questionnaire on one of the VAs projects I applied to in 2012, I refused to answer this question.
I had two more jobs lined up. I thought that if I replied truthfully, I wouldn’t get the job. In fact, some clients do understand.
You’re a freelancer, you have a line of clients, and that’s why project management tools are important, and you’re busy making bank.
Don’t be shy, a client wants to know how many hours you will be available a day or a week.
It’s best to communicate how many hours per day you will dedicate to the project and why.
What types of projects have you worked on?
A freelance client wants to know what projects you have worked on and successfully completed so they assign you roles which you are sure you will do.
Some clients will want to push your limits so you better yourself. When in 2012, I said I couldn’t work as secretary online, my client, who I got via a network said, yes you can.
Secretaries are superb writers and email creators. Plus a good secretary loves research, which you’re great at.
You want a client whose energy levels match yours and always wants the best for you.
Here, I choose the projects which I did the best and start with them, then the middle performed ones followed by the challenging uninteresting ones.
Some freelancers choose to stick with only the best. When you balance between the bad, ugly and good, a client will know what boundaries you’re willing to push or whether you’re stuck.
We all know, there are some projects we love more than others.
Tell me about a time you have trouble making a deadline
Yes, I had trouble making a deadline when I had lots of work to get completed. I hate turning in the worst work.
I felt the company gave me too many rewrites or there was something I never understood about SEO writing.
A client doesn’t want you to ramble about your shortcomings.
Clients are aware that sometimes it becomes hard to meet a deadline because you underestimated the role or have too much on your plate.
The concern comes in when you don’t tell a client when you will complete the job when you become a consistent pain in the ass about why you don’t complete assignments, and you simply vanish.
There are clients who vanish but that’s a topic for another day. You want to stay in communication.
When I don’t do something that’s right, I vanish into thin air as well. No wonder, I love to complete tasks to the best of my ability.
You want to reassure your client and truly apologise for your mistake not give excuses.
What’s your preferred mode of communication?
Yes, what’s your preferred mode of communication as a freelancer?
I hate phone calls and some clients would love to call me no matter the distance. I love email and video calls.
I feared video calls back in 2012 but YouTube made me love video.
So, I tell clients I love both video and email or text.
In fact, I take instructions better on the text then when you show the video (visuals) it becomes easier to complete my tasks.
Clients want to employ reachable freelancers and want you to use your preferred method of communication. In that way, they’ll know what works best for you.
Do you have time to take on more work?
If you have 20 hours per week and say you want a 40-hour week job, darlings, you’re tricking yourself and the client.
It’s important to say what your schedule is right now. It’s better to work the number of hours where you submit the best work there is. Don’t lie.
A client that loves your job will employ you regardless of how many hours of the workweek you have.
If I hire you for this role, what will you do first?
A client asks this question to see your prioritising ability.
As a freelancer, there are many roadblocks if you don’t have control.
You may get caught up in researching and revising the work rather than submitting the job.
Instead of worrying how you wrote that article or your bad performance, worry about submitting and meeting the deadline.
Do the best job. Also, the client wants to know your work style, how do you begin handling tasks.
For example, I prefer to work from the known to unknown.
Some clients have advised doing the opposite so my energy can be reversed to work the hardest roles.
Also, the client looks for the organisation and understanding of your role.
Read that job description like you were reading psychology or a coursebook.
What do you think is essential for this project to succeed?
Again, the client who asks this question looks for your understanding of the role.
If you say you’re a WordPress writer and don’t know how to write blog posts on WordPress or where the header for WordPress is, are you being serious?
Before you apply for a job, ensure you understand the terminologies and terms used in the industry.
Your work style and ability to prioritise are what the client looks for.
Why should we hire you as a freelancer?
Why should we hire you is a question that features in the normal office setting as well. You want to show the client your strengths.
Again, reading the roles and understanding what the role is all about will make you get the job.
Point out your strengths and how you will solve the client’s pertinent questions about the role they employed you for.
Can we set up a Skype/Zoom meeting, I want to get to know you better
Of course. The video interview is the centre of a freelancers business. Or do you want to work for a ghost employer?
I give you tips about acing a Skype/Zoom call in the article: How to Ace Your Video Interview as a Freelancer in Kenya. Dress like a professional.
A common misconception is that you work in your pyjamas. A very wrong idea.
The only time you work in your pyjamas is when you are not on call but working on incomplete tasks.
Don’t chew during the interview, let there be light, and lots of light, you want your skin and face to light up the room, literally.
Let there be no noise and distractions like a night club or bar music and kids or dog’s interruptions.
There will be some embarrassing moments, but don’t fret. Ensure they don’t happen again by choosing a time when everything is calm in your home.
The other best option is to begin working from a coworking/coffee shop.
When you video interview, you will know about your client what he/she likes to do and why.
What they prefer as individuals plus you get to learn their voice, are they casual, very formal bosses or are they laid back?
Do they pet their dogs while talking or are they working in their pyjamas?
Get the Job in One Interview: Tricks for Acing a Freelance Interview in Kenya
If you want to ace the freelance interview, read the following quick tips
Boom with confidence
Confidence oozes through the screen during the interview.
You want to shine bright, speak loudly and clearly so that the client hears you.
When you’re confident rather than intimidated you’re more likely to solve your client’s problems than gloat over your achievements.
Let your personality shine
Your personality is your brand and vice versa. How you approach the client is your personality.
Do you talk over his words that communication isn’t clear?
When you talk over someone else’s words, you aren’t confident and respectful of them.
Let them finish their sentences, after all, why do you have two ears?
When you listen you make the interview more for the client and that’s what you want. You’re here to solve their problems.
Show enthusiasm for meeting with the client
It may a little intimidating to talk with your client for the first time, but meet them with excitement.
Greet them with respect but happiness and smile a bit. A smile is a welcome signature, who wants a grumpy freelancer anyway?
Gloat a bit about your achievement
No one will sing about your achievement than you. Businessmen/women gloat over their achievements all the time, don’t overdo.
Let the client know why they chose you. Don’t make them regret, that’s what’s positive gloating is about.
You’re ready to solve the problems for them because you’re an achiever, a doer.
Underpromise and over-deliver
I learnt to always do more.
This means, always go above and beyond what you and your client agreed.
If you agreed on a 10-hour timeline, work and overwork to ensure they get the best work in under 10 hours.
Do more of what they asked.
If they said, simply research, you can research in-depth to show them you’re a research machine, they may fire someone to hire you.
Solve the client’s problems, always
In a freelance setting as is in the business world, it’s always about the client, the client and the client.
You want the client to feel happy they engaged your business’ services, you want them to walk home feeling they have no stone unturned.
Say thank you after the interview
Following up with an appreciation is a sure way to get hired.
Tell the client how happy you are that they took their time to meet you and what your take was in the interview.
Follow-up if you don’t hear back from the client
It’s always said to follow up with clients after five business days to hear what went wrong. This is one of my fatal mistakes.
If I don’t hear from a client after two weeks max, I move on and forget them.
Follow up with the clients, some clients see this as a bothersome behaviour and won’t waste their time hiring you.
Some see this as determination and dedication and will hire you asap. I take follow-up as dedication too and passion for your job.
When you follow up the client’s likely to tell you what didn’t impress them about you in the interview.
And when you hear the negatives, instead of curling up in a corner like a chicken and crying, as I do, change. It took a lot of learning and adjusting.
Rinse and repeat
There’s nothing like giving up in the free world of freelancing.
You apply for jobs appear to over 100 interviews, get one nod but you keep on doing. You cannot ever give up.
Keep improving your trade and one day, you will build your freelance empire.
Related Article: Acing a Freelance Interview: All You Need to Know
What do you like to do outside of work as a freelancer?
The client wants to see if they’re employing a freelancer with no hobby. A non-productive member who doesn’t take time off.
People who tend to over-work, which I am guilty of, become zombies.
I stopped. I give myself time to breathe by travelling and doing creative stuff like sewing.
You may share a hobby or two with your clients and may lead to more offers. My hobby is writing as well, so I’m working in my hobby.
Explain, how do you measure your results?
I, for example, measure my results by setting goals on the word count I want to achieve per day. I love completing my rough drafts asap.
The client is looking to know your work style if you understand the job at hand and the responsibility he is handing to you.
You cannot measure results if you don’t know about the job in details.
What are your main sources for industry news?
When you get such a question, a client is looking to see if you keep abreast with the trends and industry news as they happen in your industry.
I am forever reading tech blogs to beware of SEO news and reading what authors I love are writing about through their websites or grabbing their latest books.
Knowing about news isn’t a bad thing as you’d like to imagine, it pays to keep yourself informed in what happens around you in the business world, human story world in order to create timely content.
I hate the news.
What do people say about working with you?
The client is looking for your work process and style. How you organise yourself as a freelance writer, for example.
How do you go on about writing a book? It pays to have testimonials of clients who you worked with.
When asking clients for reviews, remain professional about it and very candid.
Ask gently if they’d be happy to give you a review. Then guide them on what a good review looks like.
Some reviews like, ‘very good to work with’ don’t explain much.
They sound like ‘smothering’ rather than reviews, you want something in-depth.
What it felt like, what the turnaround time was like, your communication throughout the project and if you did a good thorough job or mediocre job that needs improvement.
Freelancers search for jobs all the time, therefore it’s important to know how to navigate the inevitable freelance interview.
Don’t cry when you don’t get the job, apply again and again.
All freelancers began from rejectionTake your freelancing seriously by having a brand, all businesses have a brand, are you a brand and want recognition?
What freelance question have you come across that left you feeling like the worst employee of the year? Do you need help answering your freelance questions as a Kenyan?