Interviews can be a daunting experience, especially if you haven’t had one for a while. If you’re thinking about contracting after being in the same role or company for a long time the last interview you had maybe a distant memory. Alongside this lack of practice, interviews for contracting roles can differ greatly from those you’ll experience when applying for a permanent role. Don’t worry though, we’ve got plenty of tips and advice to help you succeed in securing the roles that you’ve set your heart on.

This week marks Contractors Anonymous founder, Karen Frith’s, 20th anniversary in contracting, so she certainly knows a thing or two about interviews. Read on to discover more about interviewing for contracting roles, and how Karen, our interview guru, can help you further.

How contracting interviews differ

For a start, as a contractor, you’re likely to experience a lot more interviews than you would as a regular employee. When applying for a normal job, you’ll attend one or two interviews, before settling into a role that you’ll no doubt stick at for a number of years. For contractors, interviews become part and parcel of the role; preparing for a new one every few months as you move on to different contracts. It’s therefore vital that you master your interview skills.

In the interview itself, it doesn’t matter how skilled or experienced you are for the job; you only have a relatively short amount of time to get that across to your interviewer and to do it well. The key to success in any contracting interview is preparation and enthusiasm.

You’ll find that many of the questions asked in an interview for a contracting role are the same as those you’d get asked in a regular interview, but that’s because most hiring managers don’t know how to interview a contractor. The way you answer these questions, however, is very different. As a contractor, you need to treat your interview as a sales pitch…because that’s exactly what it is.

Top tips for smashing a contracting interview

  • Focus on what you can do for the client, not what the contract can do for you.
  • Remember, they’ll be paying you to solve their problem. Make sure you address their problem and, specifically, how your experience can solve it.
  • Make sure you answer the questions being asked and don’t go off on a tangent.
  • Do your research & target your answer specifically to the interviewer. Don’t use technical jargon if they’re not going to understand & make sure you bring out any relevant topics that will resonate with the person in front of you.
  • Follow the 50/50 rule. Share the talking and make sure conversation is balanced and flowing.
  • Never interrupt, as your eagerness may be perceived to be rude
  • Don’t be a know-all. Be honest, never brag and NEVER lie.
  • Show that you know technology, know the future of the industry and that you have good business acumen.
  • Be prepared. Research the company and show your interest in what they do.
  • Ask questions that will open up the opportunity for you to sell yourself.
  • Remember, your interview is a sales pitch: assess what the client needs, sell your solution, then close the deal.
  • Never bring up money at the interview stage, always refer to your agent if asked.
  • Don’t be boring. You’re allowed to have a sense of humour!

Karen has seen it all

You’ll be hard pushed to find anyone with more experience of contractor interviews than Karen. Here’s just a little taster of what she’s dealt with over the past 20 years:

  • 19 clients
  • 10 psychosomatic tests
  • 30+ interviews

She’s experienced some good interviews, some bad and a lot of everything in between. The best one took place in a pub, with someone who became a lifelong friend. And the worst? Being referred to in the third person for 90 minutes straight. She’s had face-to-face interviews, phone interviews, Skype interviews, given presentations, completed verbal and numerical reasoning tests, had five interviews and a panel assessment for one role – you name it! It’s no wonder she’s so sought after to help contractors to find and get the role that’s right for you.

How we can help you

With Karen’s expert knowledge, Contractors Anonymous can help you to fully prepare for any interview, because there’s nothing that she hasn’t seen before. Feel like you could do with some extra support and advice when it comes to being prepared for your next contracting interview? Get in touch and benefit from the guidance of Karen and the rest of the Contractors Anonymous community.

Join Us & let nerve-wracking interviews be a thing of the past.