I recently posted on another site that I was looking for help with my business (and by recently, I mean last year). I got a lot of replies and looking at all of them gave me a very unique perspective that you only get when you’re on the other side.
By other side I mean the side where you’re not looking for work, but your looking to get work done. The interviewer and not the interviewee. Being an employee most of my life, this is not a perspective that comes by too often, but having a growing business it’s interesting to see why certain people would be selected and others wouldn’t.
Here are a few tips of having someone actually look over your submission as oppose to putting you in the “no way” pile.
1. If they ask you a question, answer it.
When someone is looking to hire you, they know what their looking for. When you avoid answering a question directly it sends out two flags. The first flag is lazy and not caring, the second flag is uncertainty.
Here’s an example: How much do you want to get paid?
Simple right. I just want to know how much you want. Don’t reply by saying, “I don’t know” or “Totally up to you”. Just answer the question.
2. Don’t make the interview do more work.
Similar to the first tip, but in this regard, a user may say something like “To answer your question, go to this link”. That’s not acceptable. The question was asked, just answer it. By making the interviewer have to click your link, browse around or read a post or something like that, it’s a nuisance. Be precise, and take the time out to answer the question thoroughly.
3. Read the description and make sure you understand it.
Sometimes people are so anxious to apply that they don’t know what they’re applying for. The employer took the time out to write a description of what is needed and what is not. Don’t reply with answers that are clearly on the ‘not’ column. It just shows you skimmed the content and didn’t read.
4. Don’t get crazy with your rates.
I always quote fixed prices, but when it comes to hiring, I like to know hourly rates of freelancers. This may be a personal decision, but it’s the way in which my projects are delivered that I do this. In any case, don’t be outrageous with your hourly rates.
If you had a job and you’re not experienced, you’d probably make about 15hr – 20/hr. If you are experienced and are considered a professional, you can start pushing towards $40, $50, and even $60. A full time employee that makes $100k a year makes about $48/hour at 40 hours a week. Now $100k is a pretty damn good salary. I definitely understand as freelancers, we’re not doing 40 hours of straight work, so of course higher price tags will occur. However, if you’re experience is a 6 or 7 for the required position and you’re asking for $75 – $100 an hour, that’s a flag.
As an employer, I would pay 100/hr to someone, but if I do, I would need to know that there’s no 3 hour billed time of trying to figure something out. At the higher rates, you need to know your stuff and know it well.
5. It always helps to know who you are going to work for.
Do a little research. Read a post or two. See what the company is about. Make sure it’s a good fit for you and that you’re not going to regret the decision later or waste the employers time. This also helps in conversation. If you know a little bit about the person/company, you’ll tend to be a better fit. It’ll also make you look more appealing to the person whose going over your responses.
6. Don’t compete with the person/company hiring you.
As a freelancer looking for web work, I definitely understand how this can be hard. The key here is if you’re a freelancer, you should advertise as a freelancer.
In a lot of cases a freelancer will promote themselves as a business, or a web agency or something similar. The hard part is when someone is looking to hire you for THEIR web agency it can look like all your doing is leveraging an opportunity for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but it will raise a flag.
There is an overlook in certain circumstances since the web world is SO big, but I personally think the flag gets drawn when a niche business see’s the same niche on someone their trying to hire.
As an example, one of my businesses is a web maintenance service. Now if someone who is trying to work for me ALSO has a web maintenance service, that’s not good. Granted, all intention may be well, but until we get to know each other, you’re technically in direct competition with me and now have access to my clients.