Reasons Why I'm Freelance

This isn't a self-promoting blog post (for a change) - more of a confessional. Y'see, part of the reason why I'm freelance is probably that I'm not much good at job interviews.

I've been an interviewer in the past, and to be honest, everyone says the same boring things. Of course you don't really want to work for that exact company - it's just that they had a vacancy. You're not gonna sit on the breadline waiting for their next round of recruitment if you get turned down, you'll just apply somewhere else. It's not rocket science, and if you say anything to the contrary, you're probably just lying in order to get the job.

So when I'm being interviewed for a job, I tend to take the honest approach. It's paid off in the past - the following exchange took place in the interview for a job I stayed in for almost five years...

What's your worst fault?

I'm a perfectionist (I was actually trying to be ironic by saying that - I'm not a total tool)

Haha... OK, what would your friends say is your worst fault?

I'm racist.

What? You're racist?

No... but my friends would say I am. I take people as they come, I just don't have a very politically correct sense of humour.

They gave me the job, worryingly enough.

A week before, I'd been turned down for a job in which the interview included the following questions and answers:

If you were any product in the supermarket, what would you be?

A jar of pickled lemons.


Because they probably look pretty useless, but I'll bet they turn out to be really versatile in practice.

In this instance, I really just wanted to know what pickled lemons are used for, having seen them in Tesco the day before for the first time. I was in luck...

Actually they are very useful, they're used a lot in Moroccan cuisine.

So I learned something, even if I didn't get the job. And the real clincher was probably this part:

There are two vacancies, right...?


Good. Give one of them to [can't remember her name]. She needs the money and I think she really wants the job. I think she'd be good at it. Give the other one to me, obviously.

They took my advice - well, some of it - and gave her the job. Not me though, sadly. Not me.

Bizarrely, I always tried harder to get the jobs my recruiter buddy Claire Lomax found for me than I did to get the ones I applied for directly - still no luck there though, despite trekking through the snow of early 2011 to get to some of my appointments.

So, after about two years of lightweight but consistent applying and interviewing, I gave up and went self-employed.

To be serious about it, it suits me perfectly - the flexibility of being able to give different clients exactly what they need, rather than being locked into the agency way of thinking and a static product or service.

I'm not gonna claim I wouldn't have taken an agency role if one had come up - I'm sure we all love a bit of job security - but, so far, I'm nothing but happy that my job hunt led me along the path towards freelancing!