Arriving at an interview as a contractor as opposed to a potential employee is a very different experience. There are many similar elements but there are other parts that you can develop specifically as a contractor rather than a regular employee.
Our tips are all based on getting the best results from your contractor interviews and the key element behind all of our advice is be prepared. Preparation is absolutely essential for a successful interview. Here are some top tips you need to keep in mind if you want to ace those interviews.
Back to Basics
You’ll be surprised how many people forget the most basic elements of an interview. Especially in a world where you work for yourself as a contractor you may forget the importance of smart dress for interviews. It’s easily done, especially if you know you won’t be expected to dress smartly when carrying out the work. It’s also important to value timeliness. Arriving on time is part of the impression you make as is the courtesy you provide to everybody you meet. Have all your basics in order and you’ll initially be less stressed anyway.
Interview Tools at the Ready
Your CV is your key tool for success in an interview. Your interviewer will have picked it to pieces so you need to make sure you know it inside out. Other documents handy to have available including any references you wish to share and your portfolio. Having them to hand makes you look professional and organised if they are asked for.
Know who you’re talking to
This again may sound a bit like common sense but make sure you know everything there is to know about your potential client. The internet is a wonderful thing and you’ll be surprised how much you can find out about the company with a little digging. The more information you have the better prepared you’ll appear and it will also give you scope to ask more questions as the interview concludes.
Prepare those easy questions
There are some questions which are guaranteed to come up in one way or another. You’re bound to get questioned about your strengths and weaknesses for example so ensure you have an in depth and easy to tailor answer prepared for this type of question. You also need to ensure you have an explanation for the conclusion of each of your previous contracts. The interviewer is simply trying to build up a clearer picture of you as a business partner.
List your Questions
Before you arrive you should have a list of need to know points in your head. These are things you want to know about the client and they may become apparent throughout the interview. If they don’t then it gives you the chance to ask open questions in conclusion. Interviewing is a two-way process and there’s nothing wrong with getting to the end of an interview and realising even if you are offered the contract the client isn’t right for you. You’re learning as much as they are.
You’ve got to be yourself. Putting on a performance is one thing but remaining true to your own personality at the same time is necessary. Yes, you may have learned your script off by heart but don’t let them know that. Sounding like a robot doesn’t impact positively on you. Having a perfect façade will be completely see through to seasoned interviewers so you’re better being yourself and accepting the trips and slip ups along the way.
The most important thing for you to remember is to sell yourself. You’re a business person after all and as a separate person in the busy market your client will expect you to have a degree of commercial understanding. You should be able to demonstrate your understanding of the client’s position in the market and how your professional specialist skills can improve their position.
That’s everything you should do but what about what you shouldn’t? Key things here are:
•Avoid fidgeting or fiddling – which is harder than you may think when you’re nervous!
•Never badmouth former clients – it’s unprofessional so even if a deal ended badly simply describe it as a parting of ways.
•Never stray too far from the topic in hand – rambling doesn’t look good, it’s as simple as that.
Keep all these points in mind and you’ll feel much less nervous when interview day arrives.