Just as when you were a permanent employee, you’ll go through your fair share of interviews as a contractor. Contractor interviews differ slightly compared to the ones you would have been used to as a permanent employee, and it is vitally important that you are well prepared if you want the best chance of winning the contract.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll provide you with our top tips to holding a successful contractor interview.
A common misconception is that the candidate with the most experience will be offered the role, whilst it helps to have unrivalled industry experience, there are a number of other factors that come into play.
The best thing you can do is to think about exactly what the client is looking for and how you can best meet their needs. Ultimately, requirements will vary from client to client but to key criteria that they usually have are:
If you have an interview coming up, it won’t hurt to give the recruiter a call to find out more about what they believe the client is looking for in a contractor. The recruiter wants the position to be filled so they should be accommodating and provide you with a greater insight into the mind of your prospective client.
Whilst your technical skills are a big part of the equation, too many contractors go into an interview and only focus on impressing with their technical capabilities, they often forget about the other values that the client might have.
Contractors are coveted for their technical expertise but the last thing you want to do is get yourself involved in a contract that is out of your depth.
Make sure that you pay close attention to the job description and evaluate whether or not you can competently complete all tasks that you will be carrying out.
Some interviews will involve a technical test; so find out from the recruiter if this is likely to be the case with your contractor interview. If the answer is yes, you’ll need to make sure that you brush up on the theoretical aspects of the role, especially if they are likely to ask you questions involving skills that you haven’t used in a while!
Just because you are interviewing for a position, don’t be shy about asking the client questions. More often than not, when the interviewer asks a contractor if they have any questions, they usually decline and say something along the lines of “no, I think everything we have covered so far answered any questions that I did have.”
Try to ask some questions and show an interest in the client, the project and their business. They have just spent the last hour talking about you and your skills and they’ll always be happy to find a contractor who has a keen interest in the project and doesn’t want to just dart out of the room as soon as the interview draws to a close.
Due to the temporary nature of contract work, interviews can be quite stressful, especially if you are in between contracts at the moment. It’s easier said than done, but putting yourself at ease with the interview process and coming across confident is a must!
Take a deep breath, do your preparation, and understand that you have done well to get an interview, so the client must be interested. Now it is your chance to show them exactly why that interest should convert into them offering you the position.
With each interview you’ll see your confidence start to grow, so don’t get disheartened if for whatever reason your last interview didn’t result in you being offered a position. As your confidence in interviews improves, so will the likelihood of you being awarded a contract.
Just as with anything, getting yourself into a routine can help a lot with interviews. If you can develop a set framework that you use each time you are offered an interview, you’ll find that you have a far better chance of being successful in them. Everyone is different, so your framework may differ slightly from someone else’s, but here are some suggestions to help you:
Make sure you prepare in plenty of the time, the last thing you want to do is franticly be going through your notes on the train or in the car park outside the client’s office.
Have a think about what you need to wear to the interview and make sure you dress appropriately. If you can think about what you need to wear the night before, this will save you any additional unwanted stress on the day.
Get yourself in a good mood
The last thing you want is for nerves to get the better of you. So on the morning of your interview, do something that you enjoy and that gets you into a good mood. This could be going to the gym or blasting music in your car, everyone is different but you want to make sure that you get yourself into a good frame of mind.
If you are in a positive frame of mind, you are ten times as likely to come across as a confident individual who is capable of handling the demands of the job.
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