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The intake interview for freelancers: the tips & tricks

The intake interview is a crucial step in the recruitment process, where both the work/client and the applicant have a chance to get to know each other better. We thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at this. After all, what do you need to know about the intake interview? We find out from the preparation to the do's and don'ts and everything in between. And we can't resist giving you some good tips every now and then. This way you will leave a lasting impression and get the best freelance assignments.

What is an intake interview?

The intake interview is a good measuring point in the recruitment process, where the employer and the applicant get to know each other better. The purpose of the intake interview is to assess whether there is a match between the needs of the organization and the skills of the applicant. Does that sound like a job interview? Yet it is not quite the same. This conversation differs from a job interview in that it focuses more on exploring opportunities and mutual expectations. The conditions that apply and are discussed are also different.

So for both the applicant and the employer, the intake interview is crucial in determining whether a fruitful collaboration is possible. It provides an opportunity to go deeper into the freelancer's experiences, ambitions and motivations, and to discuss any concerns or questions on both sides. Really getting to know each other!

Preparing for the intake interview

To throw in a cliché right away: good preparation is half the battle. Make sure you know what the company does, its values and what your role could be. Prepare questions to ask and immediately think of answers to possible questions from the employer. Practice your presentation skills and make sure you know your resume and motivation well. Nothing duller than a mistake on a resume that slipped through.

Also be prepared for practical matters such as the location of the interview and the names of the interviewers. Immerse yourself in the company culture and the specific requirements of the position you are applying for. Think about how your unique skills and experiences match the needs of the organization and be ready to communicate this clearly and convincingly. Is the interview physical? Be on time! Not too crazy early, 5 to 10 minutes early is fine.

What does the intake interview look like?

The length of an intake interview can vary, but on average it lasts between 30 and 60 minutes. The structure of the interview and the depth of the questions can affect the length. For example, an intake interview often looks like this:

  • Introduction (5-10 minutes): Both parties introduce themselves. This is the time to make a good first impression. The employer will briefly tell something about the company and the position.
  • Client questions (15-30 minutes): This is the core part of the interview where the client will ask questions to assess your suitability for the role. Be prepared for both general and specific questions about your experience and skills.
  • Your questions (10-15 minutes): At the end of the interview, you will have the opportunity to ask your own questions. This is your chance to learn more about the position, the team and the company culture.
  • Closing (5 minutes): The interview will conclude with information about next steps and the time frame in which you can expect feedback.

It is important to be flexible and well prepared for every part of the interview and make sure you leave a positive and professional impression.

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Common questions

During the intake interview, you can expect several questions. Here are a few of them:

  • “Why are you applying for this position?”
  • “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
  • “What are your ambitions for the coming years?”

Be prepared to give concrete examples that illustrate your skills and experiences. Tip: especially grab the examples where you stand out a bit, but don't lay it on too thick. Other possible questions could be about your adaptability, problem-solving skills, and how you handle pressure or setbacks. It is important to be authentic and honest in your answers, and to show that you have thought about your career and the contribution you can make to the company. Also be sure to think about questions you can ask yourself to learn more about the position and the company.

The do's and don'ts

As with any job interview, it is important to make a good first impression. Be on time, dress appropriately and pay attention to your posture. Listen carefully, give clear answers and ask relevant questions. Avoid using negative language and criticizing previous assignment or employers. This is really a no-go!

Be honest, but present yourself from your best side. It is also essential to show respect for the interviewer's time and opinion, not over talk, and not share confidential information about previous employers. Be positive and enthusiastic about the position and the company, and show initiative and interest in the next steps of the interview process. Are you doing this? Then you've come a long way!

After the interview

After the interview, it is important to evaluate your experience. What went well and what can be improved? Do you have questions after the intake interview? Feel free to email the interviewers with the questions and to thank them for the time and conversation. Stay available for further communication and follow-up conversations. Ask for feedback if necessary, especially if you didn't end up being the chosen candidate.

Reflect on what you learned and how you can use it in future interviews. It is also helpful to take notes on what was discussed so you can return to it in any follow-up interviews. Remain proactive in maintaining contact with the employer and show your enthusiasm and interest in the position.

In short

The intake interview is a good measurement of where you are in the market as a freelancer. Good preparation, knowledge of common questions and being aware of do's and don'ts are essential for obtaining freelance assignments. After the interview, reflection and follow-up is important to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome. Know your worth and go into the interview well prepared. It's your chance to show why you are the ideal freelancer for the job!

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