Dear High-Flyer, just like everything in this fine new professional world you are about to enter, it’s not always about what skills you’ve got under your belt, it’s how you use them-- or rather, in an interview, how you would present them. If you want to know what exactly to focus on in your journey to effective freelancing, you’ve come to the right place: here, Minite has prepped for you the do’s and don’ts of the most important portal to project-perfection… the interview stage.
As you are still a student, this freelancing opportunity may be your first introduction to the career landscape. However, that’s not a reason to feel insecure about your skills or lack thereof! The most important thing to avoid starting your interview off with is listing all of the things you don’t yet know how to do. With that, you’re giving your potential future client a “disclaimer,” through which you’re essentially saying, “I’m really great, but I can’t do this, this, and this.” That’s not a strong way to position yourself, and it certainly won’t be of any help to your client, who wants to know what you can do, so focus on that. Set aside some time before your interview to seriously reflect on the following: what experiences have I had and what skills do I possess? How can they be relevant to the task I’m applying for? Prepare to present your capabilities with pride-- you’re not just a student, you’re a body of knowledge with hobbies, student associations, and life experiences that, if properly reflected on and put into context of personal progress, can serve you well in an interview. That marketing committee you were on last year? Talk about how you grew engagement and created successful campaigns! Did a board year in external relations? Great experience for that business development task. Or perhaps you just have a strong affinity with a company’s industry and with your passion you will therefore be the best person to generate new leads? Committees, volunteer projects, internships and previous jobs all count towards experience, and they have shaped you into the wonderful High-Flyer that you are today, so be ready to own the stage and talk proudly about it!
Your past experiences, skills, and personal growth can serve as a foundation to present your capabilities with pride and confidence in any interview.
In the interview stage of your task application process, your potential client has already seen your CV and read all about you on paper. Nevertheless, we all tend to want to go over all of that again once we arrive at the interview process, and this goes for any job, at any point in your life. What needs to be cultivated here is the skill of bringing more to the table than just the dishes. In listing skills from your CV, you’ve only just set the table, but if you want to create a real master-meal out of your interview, you need to put some food on the plate-- something tangible. Provide your interviewer with numbers, quantify your past experiences: if you were head of marketing in your student association last year, highlight your biggest accomplishments in bite-sized nuggets. How many visuals did you create and what were the results? Did you grow engagement by 80%? How many followers did you help your association gain? What was your most successful campaign on Instagram in terms of likes and engagement? If you’re applying to a business development task, think about anything sales related you have done in the past. Did you work at a call center? How many calls did you conduct there, what were the results? And if you’re going for research related tasks, maybe you’ve written business or marketing plans for startups as part of one of your university courses that will now serve you well. Backing up your experience with concrete numbers makes your story a million times stronger.
Ambition is a great thing if it is used strategically, so in the interview stage, you want to try and use it far less on the personal side, and far more on the company side. Sure, you have ambition and want to finish this task equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset and career experience in your pocket, but when you’re pitching yourself to your future client, it’s far more important to focus on your abilities and how they can generate added value to the business. You may be growth-oriented from the start, but take time to reflect on how much of that growth you want to occur within yourself-- there have to be external results, too. That’s the real High-Flyer harmony: in understanding your company’s goals and how you can help get them there, you’re integrating yourself into a collective effort, from which you can learn and grow much more. Take advice from sales: the focus of the conversation is always the client and how you can make their life easier. The more skills you deliver, the more you will naturally develop.
Focus on your abilities and how they can generate added value to the business, rather than overemphasising your personal ambitions in the interview stage.
Speed doesn’t always win-- haven’t you heard the tale of the tortoise and the hare? Rapid answers to carefully calculated questions don’t prove much besides the fact that you’re anxious and over-eager to answer, which means that you haven’t taken the time to properly reflect on the nature of the question and how you can best answer it. Of course, awkward silences aren’t the nicest, but if you leave your mind some time to formulate a well-thought-out response, you’ve become the architect of an actionable answer to your interviewer’s question. You can always practice beforehand and write out questions for yourself that you think will be asked. Be short and concise, that way your response makes an impact. After you’ve spoken, think about whether or not you’ve actually answered the question, as we tend to go on tangents when we’re nervous. The more you practice, the more digestible your answers will be, and the easier it is for your interviewer to get a clear picture of you.
With that, we welcome you to the painting process: gather all your necessary material and prepare yourself for the art of interviewing! We know you can do it. When you’re ready, apply for that task on minite.works… and ace the interview!
Meet Erik, our High-Flyer of the Month in June.
Marcel the director of sales and marketing of talks about their collaboration with Minite