Article | 10 Feb 2017

Questions to ask when interviewing freelancers

Posted in Top tips, Tools & Advice, Learning, Client,

There are lots of good freelancers out there, but with a variety of skills, experience and expertise to choose from, finding the right one isn’t always easy. That’s why interviewing a shortlist of candidates before making any decisions is so important, so you have a clear idea who is the best fit for the job.

The right questions ensure you’re both on the same page regarding the requirements of the project, as well as flagging up any potential issues or areas you need to think through in more detail. It also gives you an opportunity to understand how each freelancer works and make sure your styles are compatible.

Here are some key questions to ask:

  1. Tell me about some similar projects and clients that you’ve worked on in the past?

You’re likely to need a freelancer with industry knowledge, as well as specific skills and expertise, whether that’s writing newsletters, running social media accounts, or working with journalists. This is your opportunity to analyse the freelancer’s understanding of your project, passion for the industry and what’s involved, as well as getting an idea of how they work and communicate.

  1. Do you think the objectives and timescale are realistic?

This enables you to get a better feel for a freelancer’s project management skills, how much they might be juggling with other accounts, as well as if your projected timeline is realistic. If a freelancer has worked on lots of similar projects in the past, they should know instinctively what’s possible and how long things take.

  1. What challenges do you anticipate and how would you overcome them?

A good freelancer will be honest with you about any potential obstacles and how they can be overcome. With this question, you’ll give them an opportunity to show their problem-solving skills, confidence and tenacity, as well as helping you to plan early, so any hiccups can be avoided.

  1. What will you need from us to make the project a success?

Every freelancer will appreciate this question. It shows that you understand that it’s a two-way relationship, while giving them an opportunity to talk about how you can work together to make the project as successful as possible. You’ll also find out a lot about their client handling skills and it will give you a head start on preparing the business for project kick-off.

  1. Can I see some examples of your work?

The Work Crowd enables freelancers to include examples of their work on their profile page, but you may want to ask for more specific samples relevant to your project. You can use these to check the quality of each freelancer’s work, attention to detail and writing style if appropriate.

  1. Can I see some testimonials or speak to some references?

Again, check the freelancer’s Work Crowd profile for testimonials, but if you can’t see any, feel free to ask for some, or a reference you can speak to. This gives you extra peace of mind about the quality of their work.

  1. What tools do you use?

Depending on the scope of the project, it will be useful to know what online tools a freelancer uses to help them do their job and manage their time. For PR projects, do they have access to a media database or journalist enquiries service, for example? If they’ll be writing a newsletter for you, do they know how to use Mailchimp? While these may not be absolute necessities, they could help you differentiate between candidates.

  1. How would you measure the success of the project?

It’s important to make sure you’re on the same page early on in terms of expectations, objectives and targets. This question helps you to understand a freelancer’s perspective on the different measurement and reporting options and make sure they’re aligned to your thinking. They’ll be able to provide insight from previous projects and details of how they usually like to work.

You’re sure to have other questions more specific to your project but these should give you a good start and some pointers of what to cover. For more advice check out our top tips on finding freelancers and eight secrets to working with freelancers, and don’t forget we’re always here to provide personal help if you need it – just drop us a line at, or give us a bell on 020 3828 8440.


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