Would You Hire Yourself?

In a previous life as an operations manager, I used to have the responsibility of hiring new employees. One of the first questions I would ask in the interview was “Would you hire yourself?” Of course, the quick, knee-jerk response was always yes, but it took a little while longer for replies to the following question, “Why?”

Although freelancers have the joy of claiming we are no one’s employee, we have the unenviable task of constantly being in the hiring process with every potential client. Regardless of how professional our proposals, how friendly our personality, or how excellent our portfolio, for most it would behoove us to be able to not only answer yes to the question in the title of this post, but to confidently and successfully explain why.

This post will look at some of the main reasons you may or may not be able to claim without a shadow of a doubt that you would hire yourself. In the process, we will attempt to identify ways we each can spot those things that would keep us from hiring ourselves. We’ll also discuss how to improve on any weaknesses that we discover.

Selling Points

When meeting with a potential client, most of us will undoubtedly rattle off a list of qualities that we believe are our strengths. Work ethic, competitive pricing, personal customer service, exceptional quality work, and so on. You know your own selling points.

What if you turned the table and sat yourself on the client’s side? What would be most important to you in a freelancer you were considering for hire?

Some of the key elements I would look for before hiring someone for my project would be:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong focus on quality customer service
  • Proven track record of delivering quality work
  • References from previously satisfied clients

Not surprisingly, these are some of my personal selling points that I present to potential clients. I believe it is no coincidence that our strengths tend to represent the qualities that are most important to us. What about you? Are your selling points your first priority in a potential hire? If so, they likely tend to become a focus that could stand in the way of getting hired by clients who are looking for other strengths.

What’s Missing?

What about those skills and offerings that are not on your list? Because freelancers deal with clients from all walks of life, it is almost guaranteed that many potential projects possess requirements that are not at the top of our own list of selling points. It is helpful to identify the more common or expected elements in your niche so you can work toward enlarging your list of selling points and therefore broaden your possibilities of getting hired. Make some space at the top of your list for new points, and then set out to figure out what they are.

One of the best ways to identify what’s missing from your list is to look at reasons you weren’t hired in the past. This self-examination will help you to get hired more often. Make it a habit to ask those who turn down a proposal from you why they did not choose you. Ask them to give you specifics, explaining that this will help you know how to improve for the future. Keep a running list of what others have considered your weaknesses and use it as motivation for improvements.

Regular Check-Ups

As you set out to expand your business by expanding your list of selling points, remember to give yourself regular check-ups to track your progress. Look at past proposals, emails to potential clients and other communications where you have put forth your selling points. Compare them with current communications. Discover where you are, and are not, growing. Look at the language used, the points made, and the overall approach. Is it changing for the better? Is your list expanding? If so, keep up the good work! If not, try to determine why and make changes to initiate growth.

Another way to check your progress would be to interview yourself regularly. Sell yourself to yourself, talking about your strengths and why you should be hired. Keep notes on how those interviews change from one to another. Quick tip: I strongly suggest that you conduct these self-interviews behind closed doors in order to avoid strange looks from passers-by.

In order to keep anything healthy, it must have regular check-ups to look at progress and make sure everything is on track. Commit yourself to do the same with your plan for growth and you can’t go wrong.

Your Turn

What are your selling points? Do you have a plan in motion to expand your list? Have you identified your weaknesses as potential clients see them and set a course to improve upon them and turn them into strengths? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. says

    My key selling points are that I’m reliable, I meet deadlines and I interrogate a brief with intelligence. Oh and I write great copy, too. That’s not me blowing my own trumpet – this is what clients say about me when they send me a testimonial.

  2. says

    Excellent article, Brian. I recently put myself through a “hiring process” of sorts to determine why I was getting beat out by another local freelancer, and since then I’ve gotten more clients than I can handle!

  3. says

    Since I’m looking for a FT position in addition to freelancing, I’m always trying to sell myself to others, and it’s helped my freelancing to go out on interviews. I’m always reviewing my portfolio, reviewing my resume and reviewing myself to see what I can do better.

    It’s always a good idea to take stock in what you’ve been saying and how you’ve been acting.

  4. says

    Excellent question! I think as freelancers we should ask ourselves this question from time to time to make sure we’re staying true to our customers. There are plenty of things we can all improve on and it all starts by looking within.
    I think communication however is the most important thing which you can’t forget and must put above everything else.
    Nice Post.

  5. says

    This post definitely brings out an interesting way to self assess. It would stand to reason that if one can’t think of good reasons why, others might have difficulty as well.

  6. says

    Great Article, it is so important to evaluate ourself so we can improve our week points and this is a great way of doing it..

    I usually do this also with my clients, I give them a questionnaire so they can evaluate the work and myself with close and open questions.

  7. says

    Yes, I would definitely hire myself! I’m a part time writer and I’ve written a few articles for community newsletters, but now I’m taking it up a notch. Currently, I work as a Farm Manager for a student organic farm in SC. I love the job, but I know I need to move on, too. Every 3 or 4 months, I update my resume. About three weeks ago, I reviewed and updated my resume, interviewed myself for about 20 minutes and then hired myself to work for me. I am the founder/creator of Root Wombmyn Organics. My motto is: “If I work as hard as I do, then I should be working for myself, not someone else.”
    I love farming/agriculture! I have started writing about agriculture topics, organic, sustainability, natural products and giving advice on growing your own organic vegetables. I don’t know who could write better topics than a person who actually works in the fields and knows about plants, diseases, pests, crop failures and the list could go on forever.

    I am very creative, hard working, dependable/reliable, self motivated, outgoing and enjoy learning from my success and my failures. Since I give agriculture and farming advice alot; people try to hire me right away.

    I truly know that my heart is in “working for myself”.

  8. says

    Yes, I would definitely hire myself! In freelancing, it’s easy for me to outsource work to someone else to lessen my load, but, I have more trust in me ( with Google as my freelancing best buddy ). My selling point is simple: ‘I don’t make promises. I deliver results… Quality Results!’ This line had helped me land freelance gigs. Anyway, thanks for the wonderful post!

  9. says

    Yes its really a wonderful thought. We have to keep up our records and constantly moniter ourself to improve in a better way.
    I will review myself every month end how much i have grown in financial view, project view, technical view etc. Its good to see our own progress.

  10. Laxmi Narayana says

    Excellent article, Brian. I recently put myself through a “hiring process” of sorts to determine why I was getting beat out by another local freelancer, and since then I’ve gotten more clients than I can handle!

  11. says

    Hey Brian, love this post. It’s always better for everyone around when we put ourselves in the client’s shoes :)

    To join the discussion, I think one of my best selling points is I give clients a straightforward estimate of how much time it will take me to finish the job.

    I have just started freelancing as a writer and sometimes I did feel the urge to compete with others who say they can finish 20 500 word articles in 24 hours. Good thing I didn’t as I have noticed being clear and firm about how many articles you can deliver at a given time actually serves as a highlight to my proposal/bid – even if the number is their minimum.

  12. says

    I’m guessing it’s a story of putting myself in my own shoes. These shoes are my own shoes so they will fit perfectly; slightly warn but a snug fit! One thing when thinking about employing yourself is that emotional problem will not be a consideration and would not be and accurate estimate as we all know that about 80% of people are either fired, or not hired, because of non-technical reasons.

  13. says

    I would hire myself or my company without a doubt because I know the project will get done right and on time.

    In my field, I would always look for a body of work and a few references to make sure I am not dealing with a swindler. In the world of SEO and website design, there are lots of swindlers and deadbeat freelancers who frequently disappear on their clients.


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    In a previous life as an operations manager, I used to have the responsibility of hiring new employees. One of the first questions I would ask in the interview was “Would you hire yourself?” Of course, the quick, knee-jerk response was alwa…

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