Are you getting ready to interview a freelancer and want to make sure you ask the right questions?
No worries – We’ve got you covered!
We know that hiring isn’t always easy – If you don’t get all the questions right, then you might end up hiring a bad fit.
With this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know so you’ll have a great idea of exactly how to interview correctly.
Now before we get into the interview questions, there are a few things you’ll want to know before you start.
Before the interview, make sure to have clearly defined what type of position you’re hiring for and what’s important to you.
This is going to be helpful to both you AND the freelancer:
Prepare by defining the role the bet you can before going into the interview.
By preparing your questions ahead of time, you’ll know exactly what to cover when you jump on the live call.
Without this, you might just wing it and forget to ask important questions!
Depending on how important the job is, I like to interview at least a few candidates from the FreeUp platform.
You can compare multiple candidates not only for skills/experience but also for BUDGET. Many clients aren’t sure what to spend, so by getting multiple quotes you can hone in on a more realistic price point for the role.
When doing multiple interviews, it can quickly be confusing to remember each candidate accurately.
By taking notes during the interview, you can do a final review after all the candidates are done and compare them accurately.
Some clients also like to ask the freelancer for permission to record the interview for later review.
Depending on the type of role you’re looking to hire, you may shift your focus on the importance of candidate qualities.
At FreeUp, we like to think of freelancer skill sets in 3 buckets:
This type of position is when you need someone to take simple tasks off your hands. This type of position does not require any previous experience and the freelancer will need to be trained on your processes and expectations.
With this level, focus more on their ability to learn quickly, their communication, and their attitude.
Since this type of position doesn’t require previous experience, we won’t focus much on results achieved.
This is a position that requires previous experience or training in a certain field, but will still need to follow your systems.
For example, a graphic designer, a writer, or a video editor would fall into this category.
With this level, you can focus more on previous work and the quality of it. The freelancer should be able to produce examples of previous work for you to judge.
This is the type of position when you may be entering new territory that you don’t know how it should work. In this position, instead of you telling the freelancer what to do, the freelancer can actually tell you how the work should be done.
The expert-level freelancer will have multiple years of experience in their field and should be able to not only perform the tasks at hand but also take responsibility for the result.
The focus for this interview can be a bit different than the others with higher expectations.
For example, a mid-level writer should be able to competently write a piece for you, but an expert-level freelancer can take it a step further.
An expert-level writer would not only be able to write the piece, but would be able to understand what types of content should be written, come up with topics, understand SEO, the target audience, and possibly even how the piece should be promoted to achieve the goal of the content.
Here, you can focus more on results achieved. The freelancer should be able to clearly explain the process, the important elements that should be considered, and produce examples of past success.
So now we’re ready for the interview. Here’s the template:
Greet The Candidate
In this section of the interview, greet the candidate. Ask them how they are and set the tone.
Candidates are often nervous even if they are highly skilled, so it’s a good idea to ease into the conversation and develop a bit of rapport before the interview starts.
Remember – if you find a good candidate, you not only want to like them, you want them to be excited about the opportunity to work for you.
Briefly Explain The Role
Before getting into the questions, briefly recap the role they are interviewing for in your own words.
The candidate will have read the job description, but it’s important to clarify what they are actually interviewing for, so they can craft their responses appropriately.
Ask Them If They Have Any Questions Before You Begin
After recapping the role, give them an opportunity to clarify anything they need to know about what they are interviewing for.
This makes sure that they are perfectly able to craft their responses appropriately.
In this section, we’ll make sure that they have the experience or skills necessary for the position.
What is your experience with [the project you are working on]?
This question allows them to generally respond to your position and give you a good idea if they are qualified for the project.
What is the process that you use?
Any experienced freelancer should be able to articulate a defined process for the work they do. The higher-level they are, the more articulate the process should be.
What tools do you use?
Understanding what tools they use can give a hint into their skill level. Experienced freelancers are able to quickly explain a list of tools and what they each are used for.
Additionally, if you use certain tools in your current processes, you can ask if they have experience with them.
What kinds of results have you achieved? (Ask to see portfolio)
This question mostly pertains to mid-level and expert level freelancers that should have experience under their belt.
Remember to vet their previous work. Sometimes a freelancer can be an amazing salesperson but doesn’t have the portfolio to back it up.
In this section, you’ll focus on how good their communication skills are.
If you were going to miss a deadline, how would you communicate it?
In this question, you should look for how easily they are able to answer. If they get uncomfortable, it’s generally not a good sign.
An experienced freelancer should be consistently communicating so there should be no surprises with deadlines.
How often are you online and available via email, Skype, or other communication channels?
Think about when you want them to work and how you want to communicate with them.
If they are in a different time zone, have other clients or responsibilities, you’ll want to know.
Do you have communication preferences? Do you work better with phone calls, having things in writing, etc?
If you need them to communicate via video calls and they only are willing to do text or email, you’ll want to know now before you hire them.
When faced with a challenge, how did you overcome it?
In this question, you’ll get to see how they approach problems. Look for someone who is able to articulate the root cause of the issue and their thought process in resolving it.
You’ll also look for their attitude in encountering problems.
Do you enjoy running your freelance business? Why?
Look for positivity and honesty here. If they don’t seem to enjoy their work, that could be a red flag.
What’s your goal over the next year for your freelance business?
In this section, look for alignment in goals. This can be a good time to give feedback if your goals are aligned and start to paint a picture of how they can achieve their goals through your position.
Remember, if you chose them, it’s beneficial for them to be excited to work with you.
In this last section, you’ll want to solidify a few things to make sure that they are able to meet your requirements.
What time zone are you in and when can you work?
This question is especially important for overseas candidates. The timezone can make a big difference.
For example, the Philippines is 12 hours ahead of the US Eastern time zone. That means that when it’s 9 AM and you’re starting work, it’s 9 PM in the Philippines.
Make sure that if you have specific time requirements, that they are able to accommodate them here.
How many hours per week are you available?
You should know about how long the job will take, but candidates often have multiple clients, so you’ll want to make sure they have the availability you need.
What is your computer situation?
This is especially important for overseas candidates. Make sure upfront that they have access to a good computer, especially if the work requires intensive processes like video editing.
You don’t want to get a few months in and have them ask you to pay for a new computer because theirs is not working well.
What type of internet connection do you have?
This is very important – not everyone has great internet, and in a world where you need fast communication, having a good internet connection is imperative.
At FreeUp, we test candidates before they are allowed into the network, but it’s always good to double-check. You can have them run an internet speed test with a program like https://www.speedtest.net/ to check.
Are there any upcoming conflicts that interfere with this project?
You’ll want to know if they are able to get started right away, or if they have other obligations.
What questions do you have for me?
Before ending the interview, give the candidate an opportunity to ask you any questions they have about the position.
This can be great to gauge their level of interest in the position and their attitude toward getting the job.
Explain the next steps of the process
Before ending the interview, clarify the next steps.
For example, you might say something like “I’m still evaluating candidates and I plan to make a decision in 1 week)”
This will give them clarity on what to expect.
Explain the test project
If a candidate passes the interview, we highly recommend giving them a test project to test out their real-world skills.
You can learn more about how to use a small test project to vet candidates here. These projects should only take a few hours to complete and should be paid.
In this part of the interview, you can explain what that might entail. Remember here that any test projects should be paid.
If you don’t know what type of project you should use as a test, you can even ask the candidate what they think would be a good starting point to test if there is a good fit.
Side note: In addition to a test project, some clients like to extend the testing phase with a 1-2 week probationary period to help better judge the candidate.
This can be achieved by “setting hours limits” in your FreeUp dashboard and “pausing” if the freelancer ends up not being a good fit.
Explain the timeline
Lastly, clearly explain the timeline on how the process will work. Stay in touch and give candidates updates along the way so they stay engaged.
After the interviews, collect your notes and make a decision on which freelancer is the best fit for the position.
For the candidates that didn’t make it, make sure to follow up with them, thank them for their time, and make it clear that you have filled the position.
No need to go into any deep explanations, but it is the nice thing to do.
While there are a million questions you could ask during the interview, these questions should give you a great starting template to understand the candidate.
We covered all the sections from welcoming the candidate & developing rapport, to making sure they have the right experience, good attitude, and communication skills. We also double-checked to make sure that they are operationally fit for the job.
With this template you should be ready to go!
Do you have any questions that you like to ask during interviews? Let us know in the comments!
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