Contractor Interview Tips
If you’ve been in your current contracting role for some time, you might out of touch with current interviewing techniques and a bit rusty sitting in front of an interviewer. Find below a comprehensive candidate check-list which tells you how to prepare, what questions to expect and how to conduct yourself during the interview.
How to prepare for a contractor interview
There's a lot to think about before an interview, so here's how to get up to speed:
Find out about the company
Before your interview, you should find out the following about the company:
- What are its products or services
- How big is the company?
- Who are its competitors?
Aside from the information your agency can provide, you should do your own research from company literature, online searches and word of mouth, if possible.
Find out what structure the interview will follow
Pick out your skills or achievements that are directly relevant and rehearse these ahead of the interview. Find opportunities to sell yourself, relating your skills to the role you are applying for.
Most interviews follow a similar format:
Questions based on your CV to explain your career path and ambitions
- Rehearse skills and achievements that are directly relevant;
- Be prepared to explain any unusual parts of your CV, such as any long periods of time taken out for education or travelling etc
General questions about you
Some examples include:
- How much do you know about this position?
- What interests you about the job?
- What experience or skills do you have that makes you right for this job?
- Tell me about/why did you leave your last contract?
- What interests you about this company?
- When have you had the opportunity to show initiative?
- Who and what were you responsible for at your last job?
- Give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
- Do you prefer to work as an individual or as part of a team?
- What are your three biggest achievements so far in your career?
- What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your long term goals? How are you going to succeed in achieving them?
- Are you considering any other roles?
What information will you be given during the interview?
Informing you about the position and company
- Which department the vacancy is in and how that fits within the company
- Who you would be working for and with
After the interview
- Please call your consultant as soon as possible with your feedback.
How to handle nerves before an interview
Most people have a conditioned response to interviews known as “nerves”. Here are some tips to make the best use of nerves:
What resists persists
There is little point wishing you didn’t feel nervous or thinking of all the “bad” things that might happen as a consequence. What we resist tends to persist. If we try to push nerves away, they will stubbornly hang around. So, acknowledge and accept them.
Use nerves to stay alert
Ask most actors and they will tell you that nerves are vital to a good performance. They keep you alert and on the ball. Without nerves, actors can feel over-confident and complacent. So value your nerves, and place the focus on how they are keeping you alert.
Treat them as nothing special
Treat the nerves as nothing special. Give them equal value to the colour of your shirt and the state of the weather. Acknowledge them and do what you need to do anyway. By taking the attention off, in this way, nerves soon lose their momentum.
Breathe gently and deeply
Just before the interview, you can easily calm yourself down using a simple breathing technique. Breathe into the count of 4, hold for a count of 2, then breathe out to a count of 4, hold this for a count 2. Do this 5 or 6 times, but no more. Then sit for a minute, before setting off.
Developing an interview routine
I would encourage you to develop an interview routine. A simple method for getting you into the best state of mind and being for the interview. Golfers do it. Actors do it. Rather than leave their state of being to chance, they have developed simple mechanisms that work for them. Everyone is different, but here are some suggestions to develop your own interview routine.
Do all your technical preparation before the interview. You don’t want to be swotting in your car about the various techniques for bouncing a database. If you have done your preparation well, then you will feel good that you know what you know, and what you don’t know, you can learn.
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