I interviewed several freelancers this month for a few side projects. Here’s what struck me.
Some didn’t bother to learn the basics before the call
One of the projects I was outsourcing was web design. I spoke with four designers. Of those, two had not looked at my website prior to the call (I had provided the URL).
This is a real missed opportunity. If you could choose between someone who prepared themselves and had a point of view and someone who did not, who would you choose?
Rates were not commensurate with the quality of the offering
The difference in rates I was quoted for the web project was frankly astonishing. But the bigger surprise was that there was no correlation between higher rates and level of service. I expect a premium rate to come with premium service, an impressive portfolio and senior-level strategic thinking. This was not the case. Those in the mid-range offered better service and came more prepared.
The low end was WAY too low
The lowest price quoted was so low it made me question the quality of the output, despite the candidate having a good portfolio. On top of this, they offered to be flexible if I needed to lower it further!
There can be a rationale for being a lower rate provider, but if the rate is too low, it can misfire and cause the prospect to question. Not to mention, this is not great for the industry overall as it can call the value of the skillset into question and start a race to the bottom.
Very few actually engaged in conversation
When you’ve gotten to the point that you’re on the phone with a prospect, the odds of getting the job are very good. This is the time to put some effort into differentiating yourself to let them get a sense of who you are.
It’s great to be professional and stay on task. But engaging in a little conversation outside of the work adds dimension to your offer. You don’t have to be a master conversationalist to add a few pleasantries up-front. The know, like and trust factor is a cliché for a reason – unless there is some other significant differentiator, people will choose the person they feel most comfortable working with.
The bottom line
The baseline I was looking for was very reasonable – showing interest in the project and providing a justifiable quote. Some candidates fell short of this.
It’s very difficult to differentiate yourself from other providers with words – smart providers will do it with their actions.
Get my six strategies for overcoming Impostor Syndrome as a freelancer here.