As a ‘freelancer’ I feel like I am going through an interview each time I meet with a potential new client. I truly feel that you only get one chance to make a first impression and that first impressions often make or break your chances of getting a job, so I ALWAYS prepare for my ‘interviews’.
I follow a pretty simple preparation process. First, I scour a potential client’s website for information. I always pay particular attention to their latest news, and try to get a good handle on what they do and why it’s important. From there, I create a brief list of questions about their business to show that:
1) I have some knowledge of their business and the industry they operate in and
2) I have a lot of interest and curiosity in their particular situation.
I also try to identify a few competitors in the client’s space and during our interview I will attempt to compare and contrast the players in their field as appropriate. Finally, I always bring along a few work samples that showcase what I have done for past clients with similar challenges.
After an interview, I always send a follow up email (and in some cases a handwritten note) to thank the potential client for taking the time to meet with me. Sometimes I may not be a fit for an immediate opportunity – but I have found that if you make a good first impression and showcase your capabilities well, you’ll be the first candidate to come to mind when something that is a great fit for you comes along!