During an interview with a freelancer, the opportunity exists to ask questions. Each interview is unique in requiring its own set of questions and responses. There are, however, certain must ask interview questions every business owner should always ask in every interview.
Ask the right questions, and you as the business owner will receive vital information about the freelancer and how they handle clients and projects. It will indicate if this freelancer is the right person to hire for that project. Other benefits will also have a direct impact on the project or assignment:
- By asking the right questions, the potential for problems and misunderstandings that may occur during the project are minimized or removed.
- The business owner and freelancer start the project with a clear understanding of what is the expected outcome.
- Possible obstacles are identified in the beginning.
What are these 6 must ask interview questions that are vital to every interview?
In this article 6 of these questions are discussed. There may be more, but these 6 questions evoke information that is essential for any given task, assignment or project:
- Given these goals, how would you handle this project?
- Are you able to work X number of hours per week?
- Are you able to work on X time zone?
- What are your methods for communication with clients?
- For projects, what is your time frame to complete an estimated due date?
- For ongoing work, how long do you plan to stay with my business?
These questions benefit both parties.
- The freelancer has a better understanding of what is expected of them and how the business owner sees the project. With a clear understanding, the freelancer can accomplish better results.
- Potential obstacles can come to light that should be addressed before commencing with the project. It allows the business owner to assess if potential obstacles are worth solving and if outsourcing another freelancer for this specific task, assignment or project is the better option.
Question #1: Given these goals, how would you handle this project?
A freelancer who is excited about the project and goals moves the business owner to want to hire them immediately. Enthusiasm and passion are important. Although a freelancer should always give their best, being enthusiastic and passionate about the project is extra motivation.
Enthusiasm and passion, however, won’t get the project done if the freelancer isn’t competent enough. The freelancer’s response to how they would handle the project gives insight into their organizational skills, their work method, and their time management skills.
Knowing how they would approach the project, will determine if their approach correlates with the business and the desired approach for that project.
Another way of asking this question is to ask the freelancer what they would do the first day on the project. It shows if the freelancer understood the scope of the project, the goals, and milestones. The freelancer’s answer should relate with the goals the business owner had set during the interview.
Question #2: Are you able to work X number of hours per week?
For ongoing projects that require a certain number of hours per week, this is an important question to ask. Amazon sellers and other e-commerce businesses must ask this question. Tasks these business owners outsource are often recurring tasks or tasks that require a certain amount of time to complete.
When hiring freelancers to write content for a website, for example, the number of hours available isn’t as important. Having the project completed within the deadline is more important.
The question is also important to determine if the freelancer is available for the required number of hours at the given time. Freelancers are keen to start new projects. They may not accurately calculate their available hours or could assume they will have enough time for the new project. When asking the number of hours available, it forces the freelancer to calculate the actual time they are available and not just an estimate.
Question #3: Are you able to work on X time zone?
One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing is the worldwide pool of freelance resources. It allows the business owner to find the right freelancer without being bound to local talent.
Hiring an international freelancer means hiring someone that is probably in a different time zone. For Amazon sellers and e-commerce businesses, the different time zones allow them to provide services to customers in the customer’s real time. It is therefore beneficial to hire customer care freelancers, for example, in different time zones.
If the business owner is looking for a virtual assistant, a different time zone could be a disadvantage. If it is important to communicate with the freelancer within business hours, then it is important to know when the time zones overlap.
Question #4: What are your methods for communication with clients?
Communication is a critical factor for a good working relationship.
Methods of communication are essential when outsourcing to international freelancers and even freelancers across the country. It is important to know if the methods the freelancer uses are the preferred communication methods of the business.
Response to the question shows if the freelancer understands what kind of communication is necessary for that project. By supplying various methods, the freelancer portrays their flexibility to fit into the business’ communication strategy.
During the interview tell the freelancer how frequently they should communicate and at what milestones of the project.
Question #5: For projects, what is your time frame to complete an estimated due date?
When hiring a copywriter and other writers, knowing the number of hours the freelancer is available isn’t as important as the due date. If a business owner wants to publish weekly blog posts or send newsletters to his clients, it is important to know if the copywriter can deliver on time. It won’t help if the launch date of a new product approaches and there’s no landing pages and marketing material to back up the launch.
Before asking this question, the business owner should have an idea how long the assignment or project should take. It will avoid placing unrealistic expectations on the freelancer. It will also help to know that the freelancer’s estimates are realistic or unrealistic and to adjust accordingly.
The estimated time of completion could be 8 hours, but that doesn’t mean the due date is within 8 hours. Asking the estimated due date indicates when the freelancer will be able to deliver the completed project. Freelancers have more than one client. The freelancer could be booked and only available to work on the project in 2 weeks. Knowing this upfront allows the business owner to plan accordingly.
Question #6: For ongoing work, how long do you plan to stay with my business?
Find out what the freelancer’s long-term goal is. For freelancers who prefer working long term with clients, loyalty would be important. They want to build a lasting relationship and help grow the business.
These freelancers often have additional skills and experience they can bring to the table. They have a broader vision than the current task or project assigned to them. Often, they will volunteer helpful suggestions within the working process and recommend additional tasks they can perform to enhance business growth.
These six must ask interview questions can immediately eliminate freelancers that aren’t right for the project. It will also confirm if the freelancer is the perfect match for both the project itself and the business as a whole.
To determine the right questions to ask in the next interview, create a table with three columns. Write down the six questions discussed above under the first column.
In the second column write comments about the importance of these questions for your business. Here are some pointers:
- To find out how the freelancer approaches assignments and projects ask them how they would handle the specific project.
- Asking the number of hours, the freelancer is available per week is vital when the project requires a certain number of hours per week.
- Depending on the project, working in a different time zone may be beneficial or a disadvantage. How will a different time zone impact your business?
- If the freelancer’s communication methods don’t fit into the business’ preferred process, it could hinder the work process. What methods do you as a business owner prefer? How vital and how often is it necessary for the freelancer to report on the project?
- Do you know how long the tasks you assign will take? If you want to hire the freelancer, but they aren’t available at a certain time, can you move the due date to accommodate the freelancer?
- Are there other assignments you want to outsource to a freelancer? Would you like to build long-term work relationships with a freelancer or doesn’t the business needs require that?
Use the third column to add alternative questions that will better serve the needs of the business.
What must ask interview questions when interviewing a freelancer would you add to the list?
To find out more about finding the right freelancer for your business needs, schedule a free meeting with FreeeUp’s CEO Nathan Hirsch.
Retha Groenewald is a web copywriter and published author. Her versatile background gives her the freedom to write for the B2B and B2C market. Her writing is featured at Christian Web Copywriter and at Writing That Breathes Life.