How to Answer, "Why Do You Want to Leave Freelancing to Work for a Company Again?"

If you’ve been freelancing for a while – months, years, it doesn’t matter – and have decided to rejoin the corporate world, you can bet that you’ll get asked about that when you interview. Fair or not, people tend to see leaving an office job to freelance as being cool, but, when the opposite happens, they wonder why. How you answer that question can make a huge difference, so make sure you answer it the right way.

The Wrong Answers: 

What you say: “I need the structure of an office environment.”

What they hear: “I need somebody standing over my shoulder to make me get anything done.”


What you say: “I want to be more in touch with what’s going on in the industry.”

What they hear: “I don’t have the initiative to keep up with developments on my own.”


What you say: “I need a guaranteed income.”

What they hear: “I can’t retain my clients.”


What you say: “I got tired of still being in my pajamas at 6 p.m."

What they hear: “I have no self-discipline.”


What you say: “I got tired of dealing with picky clients and editors.”

What they hear: “I’m hard to manage.”

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What you say: “I get too many rejections.”

What they hear: “I suck.”


What you say: “My clients expected me to be available whenever they needed me.”

What they hear: “I only want to do the minimum to get by.”


What you say: “I keep stopping to do things around the house.”

What they hear: “I’m unorganized.”


What you say: “I just don’t like the work.”

What they hear: “I won’t like it here, either.”


What you say: “I don’t want the hassle of trying to run a business.”

What they hear: “I’m not willing to do what it takes to succeed.”


What you say: “It’s not as easy as I thought it would be.”

What they hear: “I’m lazy.”


What you say: “My clients kept wanting me to do things their way instead of the way I know is right.”

What they hear: “I’m inflexible.”


What you say: “I got tired of having to do revisions.”

What they hear: “I couldn’t care less if my customers are happy.”


What you say: “It’s too hard.”

What they hear: “When the going gets tough…I quit.”


The Right Answer

There is a way to answer this question without sounding like a loser. The secret is to focus on others rather than yourself, like this:

  • “I missed being part of a team.”
  • “I missed working with other people to achieve more than I could do on my own.”
  • “I missed helping other people succeed.”
  • “Being home by myself all day was tough. I discovered that I work better with other people rather than by myself.”
  • “I missed collaborating with colleagues who have different things to contribute than I do.”
  • “I like contributing to something bigger than myself.”

There’s absolutely no shame in quitting freelancing to go back to a “real job.” Freelancing isn’t for everybody. In fact, it isn’t for most people. The key is to answer the question in a way that tells your prospective employer that you’re running toward what a corporate job offers, rather than running away from what you didn’t like about freelancing.


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