I found a freelance writing job that I think would be a great fit for me. The problem is that one of my friends has already applied for it. Should I apply for the gig too, or just let it go?
Not a Poacher
Dear Not a Poacher,
If you are interested in the same freelance writing gig that a friend has applied for and you feel you would be a good fit, then by all means apply. The client will be the person who decides who to hire and it’s possible that neither of you will get the gig.
You are not poaching on someone else’s gig by applying for something when a prospective client is accepting applications. Your friend has not been hired (yet), so your application doesn’t affect a gig that he or she has. Both of you have a chance of being hired. I would consider a person who contacts another writer’s client behind his or her back to make a pitch for themselves to be a poacher (and not much of a friend).
Should you tell your friend that you have applied for the same gig? It depends on whether you usually discuss where you are looking for work or not. I know that I’ve shared leads with other people and some of them are for gigs that I’ve applied for myself. I’ve never asked whether they were hired if I didn’t get the assignment; I’ve just moved on.
It comes down to whether you believe that there are multiple opportunities for freelancers (as I do) or not. There isn’t just one client that we can work with – there will always be another gig coming up and hearing No from one prospective client means that you are free to pursue other opportunities.