Hiring a freelancer to complete a project is often the best choice for a business that wants quality work while keeping the budget easy on the bottom-line. You may have already decided to hire a freelancer, put out an ad and received some great proposals, but how do you find the best person for the job?
The purpose of an interview is to get a clear picture of how the freelancer manages their time and workload, to see if they will be a good fit for your project. Before you trust someone with your important task, you want to assess their attitude, skillset and workstyle. Interviews via video conference can help you get a better idea of what it might be like to work with a person because it allows you to see body language and facial expression. Always opt for video conference interviews when possible.
During the interview listen to how a candidate answers your questions. What areas of work do they speak most enthusiastically about? You can get a sense of where they really shine by where their enthusiasm lies. Take note of any times they hesitate to answer any of your questions or fail to answer them. Being wishy-washy about commiting to a timeline or trying to avoid answering certain questions should raise a red flag. Pay attention to how they describe their past working relationships. If they have had any difficulties working with clients, do they understand why and how the issues could have been fixed? If they demonstrate that they learned from a poor experience, it is a good sign. If they avoid talking about past relationships with clients or if they speak ill of them, they may be difficult to work with. Always be ready to ask: “why?” or “can you expand on that?” in order to probe the interviewee beyond simple surface answers, challenge them to give more information or go more in depth on their answer.
Here are sample interview questions divided into categories. You may want to ask just one question from each category or several, depending on your needs:
- Why do you freelance?
- How did you become a freelance (writer/designer/translator/etc.) ?
- Has a client ever suddenly terminated their work with you? Why?
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
- What tools do you use?
- Can you stick to the timeline for this project?
- Is this timeline realistic?
- When can you get started?
- Are you able to meet the deadline?
- If you are hired for this project, what will you do first?
- Do you have time to take on additional work?
- What timezone are you in?
- What outside commitments do you have?
- What skills do you have that are most relevant to this project?
- What are the core skills needed for this project?
- What experience do you have in this industry?
- What types of projects have you worked on?
- Can I see your portfolio or samples of your work?
- Rate your skills on a scale of 1-5 in these areas…(set of skills relevant to the project)
- How do you charge clients?
- How much would you like to be paid for this project?
- What is included in your rate?
- What is included in the package?
- How do you best foster working relationships when working remotely?
- What would you do if you missed a deadline?
- What is your preferred communication method?
- How quickly do you respond to emails?
- Will you be able to take phone calls?
- Between what hours can I contact you?
- How long have you been freelancing?
- What feedback have you received from former clients?
- Why do people like working with you?
- Can you provide references?
- What project the you have worked on, are you most proud of? What would you have changed about that project?
- How do you measure your results?
- Do you have any questions about this project?
- Do you have any questions about our organization?
- What questions do you have for me?
Once you settle on the questions you want to ask, make sure you have a good idea of the answers you want to hear from the freelancer. The freelancer whose answers most line up with your expectations, while demonstrating professionalism and enthusiasm for the project, is most likely the right person for the job.