Job Interview Question
Why did you freelance for so long?A lot of people have taken up freelancing, consulting, or other independent work in the last few years just out of necessity. In many industries, it’s been difficult to find a job. Others have struck out on their own because there has been just so much opportunity—especially in consulting, writing, graphic design, web programming, web design, and online marketing. Whatever your situation was, employers are going to have questions about your reasons for doing what you did and consequently, why you want to work for their company now. Do your job interview prep and be ready.
Whatever you do, don’t give an answer like these:
“I liked it, but I need insurance.”
“No one would hire me, so I did what it took to make money.”
“I didn’t really have to work because my spouse made enough money, but now we’re getting divorced.”
Why are those bad answers? Because they show you running away from a bad situation, not running to their job. No one ever wants to be the consolation prize, and that includes employers. If you don’t really want to be there, chances are you’re not going to put in your best work.
You want to show that things were just fine and that you aren’t being forced to come work for them. This is your choice.
For example, say something like, “Frankly I got caught up in it. Things were going well, there really wasn’t a problem. I just decided that I would be better served to be in an organization like this one.”
And then you can give your reasons for wanting to work for them. Why is that company a good fit for you? Start by giving them a reason that fits your professional skills (maybe you realize how much better you could be with the right resources and infrastructure).
Then give them a reason that you personally like the company. This would be a cultural fit reason. You don’t have to work just anywhere, you want to work for them because they fit you well.
The third reason can be more of a personal reason: you’re looking forward to collaborating with people and feeding off each other’s ideas so that you can be better and stronger than you’ve ever been.
The big point you must communicate is that you are not leaving a failing situation. You are excited about bringing your skills and talents to a larger organization and looking forward to the prospect.
If you’d like to practice your interview answers with professional feedback, or you need help with specific answers, I’d love to work with you as your interview coach.