A reader sent this, about Contract Interviews, to our Feedback address, asking for our advice.
I have been to five contract interviews and I have failed them all. This is disappointing seeing as I have been out of work for 8 months. Do you have any advice?
The reasons given mainly have been that I didn’t seem keen enough, that I wasn’t animated enough, that I gave the correct answers at contract interviews but I could have expanded a bit more.
In each of the contract interviews that I went to I was an exact match for the job specs. So it is disappointing that I have drawn a blank so far with all 5 contract interviews when I need the money desperately.
What do they want me to do, start crawling for the job? Do they want me to have to go down on my knees and beg for it?
I’d appreciate your advice.
You really need a good kick up the backside!
Here you are at your wit’s end, out of work for 8 months, presumably with the wolf at the door, and yet you can’t even get a little excited at contract interviews.
You must sound like a real boring drudge has no really interest in doing the job, but just wants the money. You’re just the kind of person that project managers don’t want working on their project.
There’s no such thing as anyone owing you a contract. So, you have to sell yourself.
You’re the Man
You have to, therefore, make them believe that you are the guy, that they must have you, that you will be a big boon to their project, for your ability, your knowledge, your hard work and for your enthusiasm about the project.
It doesn’t really matter that much if you are not that interested in their project and really do just want the money.
They won’t give it to you anyway unless they are convinced that you are the man.
You are very lucky to have got 5 contract interviews in the last few weeks.
It looks likely that you will get other opportunities. Don’t waste these too.
Contract Interviews Preparation
Prepare beforehand. Ask your agent what type of people the interviewers are and for reasons why they have taken on people, or turned down people, in the past.
Ask the agent for any feedback that they’ve had from people that they’ve sent there for contract interviews in the past.
Look at the skills that the company want. Try to think of a good reason why you want to use these skills again, and bring this up at the contract interview.
Find Out About Company
Find out something about the company. Try and think of a good reason why you would love to work at the company. Say this at the contract interviews.
If you happen to have been taken through the part of the building where you have been working and saw some of the people you would be working with, say that the office conditions look good. Say it seems like a good bunch of people there. That’s especially if you have talked to one or two for some reason or other, even if it was just while getting a cup of coffee.
Companies always want to gauge whether new people will fit in with their existing employees and contractors. This will help to make up their minds in this direction.
Look Interested at Contract Interviews
And above all, look interested in what they are saying and ask a few questions as they go along.
At the end of contract interviews when they say that they’ll be in touch with your agent, say that you are keen, that you like the people, the location, the office and anything else that you can think about (but not the crumpet), and that you will await their decision in hope.
No one owes you a living. You haven’t got the contract just because you have a skills match.
They don’t have to give you the contract. You have to go out there and earn it.
So next time you go for a contract interview, be ready, be prepared. And give it your best shot, with all the enthusiasm that you can muster.
Here’s some Contractor Interview Tips for you.
And have a look at Bluffing Interviews – Can I Bluff My Way Into a Contract?