Should you bring up your Freelancing Experience in a Job Interview?
Sometimes what I have seen Employers don’t take Freelance Work Experience on a positive note.
Even some of the Employers harshly say that we don’t consider any Freelance Experience.
So it’s a question of many Job Seekers who have faced this exact same situation several times in their career.
Now the question comes, why Employers see this from a negative perspective? You may say/ argue that,
You never knew my career graph what hurdle I had faced, from which circumstances I have come out. So if I have worked for a few years as a Freelancer (the reason can be anything like, recession, family problem, monetary needs etc), is that a bad thing?
You are absolutely right? I also agree with you & nobody should be deprived of getting a good job just because for a few years he had worked as a Freelancer.
But you know what; you are only seeing one side of the coin. You are telling your situation but for an Employer/ Recruiter the situation is pretty generic.
He/ she is a professional, so from a professional standpoint, there are some benchmark or standard in the pre-recruitment process. They just look into this matter from that perspective.
There is nothing personal in it.
Now the question comes, why? & what’s the exact reason behind this kind of discrimination among Full-Time & Freelancing Experience?
Let me explain this in a bit of detail. Then the entire picture will become clearer to you.
When a company hires for a specific profile, they have to follow some predefined set of rules & criteria.
Because it’s not just your knowledge, there are many crucial things they look for which proves how much valuable Human Resource you can be for the organization.
So to find that there are many things which need to be checked, like a candidate’s Real Expertise, Relevant Experience, Tenures in Each Job, the Character of that Person, Quality of Work, Relation with the Co-Workers, etc.
& to be sure about all that organizations run a thorough background verification process, by checking all the below mentioned documents.
Your past organizations
- Offer/ Joining Letter (s),
- Increment Letter (s),
- Release Letter (s),
- Experience Certificate (s),
- Salary Slips,
- Physical/ on-phone Verification &
- many other things.
That’s why Recruiters give Full-Time Experience such importance. Because if you have worked in a standard company as a full-time employee, you will have all the documents.
Even sometimes Employers wants real feedbacks from your co-workers from your last organizations.
But if you were working your own as a Freelancer for several years, will you be able to produce all such details.
Maybe you have an exceptional track record as a Freelancer & you have maintained everything meticulously but what’s the guarantee that all will be like you.
The main problem is when a person says “I have worked for 4 years as a Freelance Digital Marketer” & can’t produce the relevant document/ proof, that’s where the problem occurs.
Because it’s a matter of credibility. When I have worked for 4 long years in an area there must have some credible sources to prove that, right?
That may be a recommendation from my client or partner company. So basically Employers want to see, what you are claiming is credible or not from all aspect.
Now you may ask, why? Knowledge should be the ultimate thing. Yes definitely, I am not denying that but there are some areas of expertise which can’t be judged in the time of interview.
So what’s the way out? Isn’t there any other option to bypass it?
As I was a long time Freelancer after resigning from my last organization, that means I will not get any future opportunity in a good organization?
Nops, I am not saying that. It depends upon the organization & it’s policies. But you should never hide your Freelance Work Experience in a Job Interview.
This is what I strongly believe & recommend to everybody.
But to do that just remember a few points, these will just make your ground stronger while confronting the Interviewer.
#1. If you are working for a company on Freelance Basis, don’t forget to get proper documents from them. Like contractual agreement where
- Nature of work,
- The expertise required,
- Payment details, everything will be mentioned clearly.
#2. Ask for recommendation or reviews after the completion of each work. & try to get it in as much detail as possible.
#3. Have your Professional Portfolio site ready. Nops not in a domain like yourname.abc.com but a fully qualified domain name yourname.com. Because this not only gives a professional outlook but it gives an impression to the employer that you are damn serious about your craft.
#4. If you are a Digital Marketing Professional then your own Digital Property should talk for you. Suppose you are running a niche blog or an innovative online platform which,
- Draws thousands of page views per month,
- Holds a dominant position in the search result for some highly competitive keywords in that domain
- Have a good Alexa Rank, DA & PA.
So all these give a clear signal of your subject matter expertise & when the interviewer will see this he/ she will have a different impression on you.
So if you follow these good practices & act in a disciplined/ process-driven manner, you don’t have to hide your Freelance Work Experience ever.
The employer will definitely respect that.
But again one thing I must tell you that it’s completely dependent on that specific organization/ person who will be taking your interview.
But you should always be prepared with your best chances.