5 Interview Tips for Freelancers

5 Interview Tips for Freelancers

Interviewing is a critical skill for freelancers. After you look through the posted jobs, pick out your favorites, and submit proposals, interested clients will ask to schedule an interview. Learning how to interview well as a freelancer is how you start winning proposals. Clients want to find the right independent talent for their projects, and the interview is your chance to demonstrate that you're the best person for the job.

Interviews are also an important opportunity for you to ask questions and get more information about a project to make sure it's the right fit, something you really want to do. Being able to choose the projects and clients you work with is why many people decide to freelance.

Top 5 interview tips for freelancers:

  1. Research the company
  2. Showcase your expertise
  3. Create opportunities to talk about specific projects
  4. Explain your fees
  5. Be ready to ask questions

1. Research the company

An important interview tip for freelancers is to take time to research the company. Familiarize yourself with their products or services along with the company's mission statement, values, and principles. Pay special attention to your anticipated role and how it fits into the organization's overall goals.

A social media manager may look at a company's social media channels and prepare recommendations or insights. A UX designer could navigate the website or app beforehand and take notes.

Some job postings don’t include specific information about the company or industry. If you aren't sure exactly who you're interviewing for, send a quick message beforehand and ask for the company name so you can do some quick research.

Asking insightful questions that show you've done your research can help you stand out. Doing this research demonstrates that you’re invested in the company and interested in the position. Be prepared to answer questions relating to the company and the job.

Potential interview questions from clients:

  • What do you know about our company?
  • Which of our values do you align with most and why?

2. Showcase your expertise

Before your interview, take time to write down all of your skills, both hard and soft, and the different projects you've worked on. This list will help you prepare to answer questions during the freelancer interview process.

Whenever your interviewer asks a question, take a second to think about what they're really asking and how you can pull from your past experiences to answer and showcase your expertise.

A helpful interview tip for freelancers is to use the STAR method and organize your answers in a story format. This approach is great for talking about past experiences or answering interview questions that start with "tell me about a time when..."

How to use the STAR method for interviewing:

Situation. Set the scene and give context for the example

Task. Describe your responsibility and the task or goal

Action. Explain how you overcame an obstacle or challenge

Result. Finish with the final outcome and what you accomplished and learned

Potential interview questions from clients:

  • Can you tell me about yourself?
  • What's your greatest professional achievement?

3. Create opportunities to talk about specific projects

Think of the projects you've worked on and would like to bring up for each specific interview. Choose projects that highlight the top skills each client is looking for. Practice talking about them using the STAR method and turning them into brief anecdotes.

If a relevant project doesn't come up naturally, work it into your questions at the end. Most interviewers leave time at the end of the interview for questions. You can use this time to learn more and work in anything else you'd like to add. Let's say you worked on a project that used specific software; you could ask, "Do you use X software? I found it very helpful when I was doing Y project for Z company," and go into details about the project.

Potential interview questions from clients:

  • Can you tell me about a difficult work situation and how you overcame it?
  • What is your working process?

4. Explain your fees

A common interview question for freelancers is, "What’s your rate?" While your Upwork profile shows your hourly rate and you may have fixed-price projects, clients may want more clarification during a freelancer interview. The client may want to see what you charge for recurring or non-hourly work (e.g., by project or with a weekly retainer). As a freelancer, you get to choose your rates for different jobs based on what you think is fair for you and the client.

During the interview process, you should be prepared to explain your fees. You may want to wait until you know more about the position or project before giving a firm quote, but many clients will ask for at least a price range. Knowing the average rate for different freelance services on Upwork can be a good place to start so you know if your rates align with what other freelancers currently charge.

When you tell a client how much your typical hourly or by-project rate is, demonstrate your value based on:

  • Experience
  • Skills
  • Client feedback
  • Talent Badges
  • Job Success Score
  • Certifications

If you charge a higher rate because you're truly an expert in your field, let clients know! Try to think from the client's point of view and explain how your work will help their company and the overall ROI.

Breaking down how much time each part of the project will take and related costs can be helpful for clients, especially when they think the total project quote seems high. The parts that a client may assume are quick and easy could actually be time-consuming on your end. Explaining that helps to justify the price.

Potential interview questions from clients:

  • Is your rate flexible?
  • What would you charge for a project like this?

5. Be ready to ask questions

Remember, you're interviewing the client just as much as they're interviewing you. Freelancers should ask clients questions to help figure out if they want to work together. Asking questions also shows that you're interested in the position.

The job or project may initially sound good, but when you ask more questions, you may find that it's not a great cultural fit or the job description doesn't match what the actual job would entail. Before accepting an offer on Upwork, you want to be clear on the full scope of the project and the work it requires. Making sure you're on the same page with the client leads to more successful relationships.

Examples of questions freelancers should ask clients in an interview:

  • When do you need this completed by?
  • What is your budget for the project?
  • Can you show me any examples of past projects or similar projects?
  • What is the approval process like?
  • Why did you decide to post this project?
  • How will you use the final deliverables?

Potential client interview questions:

  • Do you have any questions for me?
  • What do you need to get started?

Upwork's Talent Marketplace: Your home for freelancing

The future of work is here. Large global corporations and small businesses are turning to freelancers to access a wider talent pool. Clients post over 10,000 jobs on Upwork daily. Talent Marketplace is where you find the type of clients you've dreamed about working with. Choose what projects you want to work on and start building a career that you're passionate about!

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Author Spotlight

5 Interview Tips for Freelancers
Cassie Moorhead
Content Writer

Cassie is a storyteller and content creator with over eight years of experience helping brands communicate to their customers through different channels. She enjoys finding new coffee shops to work from and spending time in nature with her dog, Sweeney.

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