We often hear about questions that should be asked when you are interviewing for a job in the brick and mortar world, but we seldom hear or talk about what kinds of questions freelancing professionals should ask of potential clients. Here are some basic questions that you should ask when you are being interviewed for a freelancing role.
1. How many hours – One of the first questions you should address with potential clients is how much time the project will take. While this may be somewhat subjective, there are limitations that buyers may wish to impose on how many hours a job should take. Make sure if you feel that the time restraints make it difficult for you and explain to the buyer (client) why these restrictions may be problematic.
2. Term of Assignment – If you are being hired as a designer or a graphic artist, this assignment may be a “one of”. Other types of assignments including customer service tasks, writing tasks, or bookkeeping tasks may be longer term. Find out in advance what the term of the assignment is so that you can determine if it is a good fit for you as well as the client.
3. Payment Agreement – This can be especially important if you are accepting an assignment that is going to last long term. When you are hired for a job in a traditional brick and mortar environment, you are not expected to work forever for the same rate of pay. Be reasonable about this, but if the job is going to last more than six months it would be good to discuss this up front.
4. Competition/Probation – One of the most critical questions you should ask is if the job is guaranteed or if there is a probationary period. Remember, brick and mortar businesses often hire people and advise them up front that they are being hired for a specific period of time and may release them after that time if they are not happy with the work. Find out during the interview if the job is going to be long term of others are being interviewed or tested for this position.
5. Verify Status – If you are a US freelancer, make sure that you understand the Internal Revenue Services definition of an independent contractor are. This is especially critical if the assignment is long term and for long hours (more than 20 per week). The difference in classification could have a serious impact on both you and your buyer.
It is inherent on every freelancing professional to ensure that they understand what exactly is being asked for when they are interviewing for an assignment. Take responsibility for your freelancing career and make sure you understand up front what you are getting involved in to avoid being disappointed later.