By Lynne Gowers on 20th May 2014

Interview tips for contractors

You may be one of the best contractors in the country within a certain field. You’ve got bags of experience and your CV has been painstakingly crafted to reflect this. This is all very well and good but you should never underestimate just how important an interview is for winning a contract. Here’s a number of interview tips for contractors.

To get the best paid and most interesting work you have to combine your skills and experience with an interview technique that will leave your prospective client with no doubt in their mind that you are the perfect candidate for the role.

Interviewing is not an art form, far from it, it’s mainly just common sense. However, as contractors undergo so many, it can be easy to become complacent, and that’s when little bad habits tend to creep in and spoil the party.

Here are a few tips to keep you sharp, focussed and ready for your next interview, even if it’s at short notice.

Do your research

This is the most important rule for any interview. If you turn up on the day and they ask you about a part of the role you haven’t looked into properly, you’ll look unprofessional and it could be curtains there and then.

Make sure you know exactly what will be expected of you and whether or not you will be able to deliver what the client is expecting.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to look into the business. Who are they? What do they do? What are their values? And so on. By showing that you know a little about the firm it’s likely that you’ll ingratiate yourself with the interviewers – remember,  you’ll be up against other candidates so making yourself stand out (in the right ways!) is very important.

Plan your journey

How long is it going to take you to get to the client’s site and how are you going to get there? Plan in advance to avoid any delays. Look into the area’s public transport options if you’re taking the train or factor in parking if you drive.

It can also be a good idea to get hold of the client’s contact details in the event that you come up against an unavoidable incident that means you are going to be late.

Understand the client’s wants and needs

The client has a problem and you are the solution. This is something you need to get across in the interview without coming across as arrogant. Likeability is still a massive factor so it’s important to come across as affable as well as skilled and knowledgeable.

You should have a few questions prepared about the client’s situation and you can use these when discussing the project. At this point you can use your expertise to suggest a diagnosis and how you will deal with it.

Fact finding is very important but you don’t want to over do it with the questions. Seek out the relevant information you need to make an educated assessment of the problem. At this stage you can confirm with the client that you are qualified to undertake the work.

Ending the interview

When the interview comes to a close thank the client and express your interest in the project. Inquire as to when the client will make their decision and when you can expect to hear from them. Lastly, ask if the those who interviewed you have any questions about your skills or your ability to fulfil the project.

This may be your last chance to show you are right for the role.

Interview definite don’ts

There are some interview faux pas that can wreck your chances in a matter of seconds, so just be wary about how you carry yourself.

  • Don’t lie or embellish your skills, you’ll only get caught out when you come to doing the actual job.
  • Don’t interrupt constantly.
  • Be aware of talking too much, if you’ve addressed the question, leave it at that.
  • Don’t dress too casually. Dress appropriately and ensure that you look smart and professional.
  • Don’t tell too many jokes. One or two light-hearted remarks may be perfect to break the ice but if you make a joke every other comment it may be very hard for the client to take you seriously.

Do you have any interview tips you’d share?

Written by Lynne Gowers
Disclaimer Although we attempt to ensure that the Information contained in this publication is accurate and up-to-date at the date of publication it may not be comprehensive, we accept no liability for the results of any action taken on the basis of the information they contain and any implied warranties, including but not limited to the implied warranties of satisfactory quality, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement and accuracy are excluded to the extent that they may be excluded as a matter of law.

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