I just had a nerve-wracking interview with a potential employer regarding an SEO/Link Builder position and after writing how-to’s and stuff in this blog, you would expect me to answer smoothly and confidently. It was dinnertime and a lot of kids and family members are loitering around, I cannot get a moment of peace. So when the phone rang, I took a couple of seconds to compose myself and whoa, my heart was beating so fast.
As a freelancer and a person looking for jobs frequently, I had been browsing the internet for how-to’s regarding writing resume’s, prepping yourself etc and different advises on what to do and what’s not but I believe it’s up to you.
If asked about your skills, will you tell honestly or exaggerate?
This is a constant problem with freelancers or basically all people who are looking for jobs. Wanting to get a job usually puts people on the edge. Personally, I believe in keeping it simple and honest. Avoid overdoing or exaggerating your skills or you’ll find yourself jobless in just a short period of time.
Highlight what you can do best and do not forget to give references. Employers doesn’t expect you to be perfect and knowledgeable in all areas, so do not hesitate to tell them you don’t know a single thing about web programming (wink).
If you got lucky and land the job, organize your time so that you can have a little time to spend on learning new areas of the job. Also, there is no need to aim to get a degree on some areas just a little know-how will get you through.
By telling the truth about what you can and can’t do, your employer can leverage and adjust his game plan and maybe find another person suitable to handle the things that you can’t. That way, you’ll be able to keep your job.
If asked about your strengths and weaknesses?
This is a trap question! Just kidding. Your potential employer probably wants to know how you’d react and handle tricky questions like these. I believe that it’s best when you outline your skills and tell which ones you’re good at and which ones aren’t. This way, you’d clear all assumptions and not expect too much from you.
Throw in something about a situation that you have been into in the past and relate how your were able to solve the problem. It’s really important to rely on your experience and show that what you are capable of. If you have a weakness, be proud of it but I am not saying that you go around telling people about it. Should always do something to improve yourself.
If your weakness is somewhat related to a certain qualification, do not hesitate to mention that you are willing to undergo further training to improve your skills.
If asked about the time schedule you’re going to keep?
There are several employers that doesn’t mind that a contractor keeps his own hours. By keeping hours, I mean that you are allowed to control your time and can work anytime as long as you were able to finish your tasks for the day within the allotted time. Full time work is 40 hours per week and if you missed a day, you are allowed to extend it on weekends.
Check out the timezone that your client/employer is in and reference it to your hours. Overlap at least 3-4 hours to their time so you’d have time to talk and discuss matters. It also impresses employers that you are willing to work their hours. Others designate the hours that an employee should work as they do not want them working early in the morning or late at night in the belief that contractors aren’t productive in those times.
Another tricky question. I read an article from Yahoo that the one that quotes the price first loses. Sometimes this is not the case, although I let employers quote the salary first. If I find it too low because of the tasks that I am assigned to do, I do not hesitate to give them my opinion. It’s actually a good move to negotiate on your pay as employers want to have happy people on the team. When asking for a raise in the negotiation, indicate the reasons why you are asking for that amount. Give relevant reasons and justify your actions. Most often than not, they will appreciate that you were being honest to them rather than looking for a second job to have a good income.