So you got the call. Congratulations! Your interview is scheduled, and you officially have your foot in the door. Don’t get cocky, as a freelance developer you must prepare yourself not only to successfully complete the interview, but to answer some tough questions and even possibly quell some potentially harmful stereotypes that still exist in the workplace today about freelancers and their ability to join or rejoin a traditional workplace.
Don’t wear a sticker on your forehead proclaiming not to be a commitment-phobe.
Instead, walk into the interview prepared for the fact that many businesses and even HR managers have concerns about freelance developers (especially longer-term freelancers) who suddenly decide to enter the traditional workforce. Acknowledging this empowers you with the ability to explain your position, your motivations, and your enthusiasm for entering the traditional workplace.
Transparency is your best defense here. Explain what set of circumstances led you to pursue freelancing. Whether you’re a recent grad who wanted to get some experience under their belt or you lost your job due to downsizing or outsourcing and chose to freelance rather than collect an unemployment check…explain what lead to the decision to freelance and also, the reasons you wish to return to the workplace.
Again, be specific here…and honest. If freelancing just didn’t work for you, explain that you prefer a more structured environment such as an office and the freedom to focus on what you enjoy doing (programming) without having to concern yourself with running your own business. Or, perhaps, you have a family and the prospect of a regular income and benefits are more attractive and a better fit for your lifestyle than the freelancing world.
Whatever the case, make sure that you express that your interest in rejoining the workforce is sincere and that you genuinely want to move back into a corporate or small businesslike environment.
Play well with others.
Another common misconception about freelance developers is that they are not team players. It is your responsibility during your interview to ensure that the person interviewing you understands that not only do you want to become a part of their team, but you have the social aptitude to function successfully as a part of their organization. Turn the negative into a positive here by pointing out for-instances where you blended into an organization as a freelancer and were able to provide key insights and contributions that lead to the success of the group as a whole, as opposed to focusing on the success of ‘your project’.
Close the interview with emphasis on your commitment to the employer.
When it is all said and done, if your talent and work history is a good match for the position, getting hired is simply a matter of effectively demonstrating your commitment to the company and its goals.
Ask questions during the interview that demonstrate your interest in company strategy, culture, and vision. This tells the interviewer that you are not merely seeking employment or an escape from freelancing, but searching for a position where your personality, talent, and future fits in and allows you to invest yourself, growing with the company and its future.