Ask Jack: Interview Blues, Freelance Rates, and Job of the Week

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AOL Jobs reader Louise wants to know...

I'm ready for a change and it looks like I may be interviewing with a few different companies in the next few weeks. How can I tell which one is the best fit and which job will be the most satisfying?

It's great that not only do you recognize your need to mix things up, but that you are actually "taking the bull by the horns." (Well, not actually, unless you are a matador or rodeo clown.) And congrats on lining up interviews, and realizing that -- although you're the one on the "hot seat" -- you are also auditioning them.

Research the company as much as you can before the interview. Are they working on projects you find compelling -- and would your department be involved? When you go into the office, be hyper-aware of the overall mood: Are people smiling? Enthusiastic? (Be self-aware, too: Maybe you're not the ultra-peppy sort, so a real "up" environment wouldn't be ideal.) Importantly, think about what aspects of a job make it satisfying for you personally. Using your skill set? Managing others? Opportunities for growth? Being challenged? It's different for everybody. So when it's your turn during the interview to pose any questions, ask about how those special qualities are handled. And if you get a second interview (and you're great, so why wouldn't you!), ask to speak with employees who you'd be working with. They have the best grasp of how things really are. Plus, sometimes they'll silently mouth the words "Run while you can."

Mike in Meyersdale asks:

I'm hoping to score some freelance editing and proofreading jobs. What should my hourly rate be?

Good luck, and let me know what freelance jobs you land! (Then I will swoop in and charge $.25 less per hour.) It's a good question, and I generally refer to a list of rates maintained by the Editorial Freelancers Association. My personal preference is to size up the job and give a flat rate (which you can always adjust up or down if it doesn't sound reasonable to you). If you do provide a flat fee, be sure to set ground rules about how many drafts you're looking at, etc. Explain that an hourly rate will kick in for anything above and beyond the agreed-upon work. I also strongly recommend being flexible with your freelance fees. Is the work for a non-profit, a start-up, or a huge faceless corporation? A willingness to work within someone's budget can often engender goodwill and repeat business.

Last week's Ask Jack questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

Well, it's no rodeo, but clowns are needed in Davie, Florida! Ten of them, to be precise. They will train you on the job, and also... hmmm... maybe you'll understand the job description better than I did. OK, enough clowning around: It's time for you to search for a great new career on AOL Jobs!

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