The bluffing interviews article was posted to our Comments section where readers can ask for advice.
New IT Contractor Reader
I am a complete newbie to the IT contracting game, so I’m sorry if this is a dumb question.
However, I find myself with skills that are marketable right now (VB6, ASP), but will become obsolete within the next year or so.
So, I have played around with .NET (ASP.NET with C#), and I think with a little more work I will be proficient, but I cannot honestly say that I have commercial experience of it.
As such, what is the best way of getting a contract with these skills?
Should I bluff my way through, or is there a more honest way?
Plenty of contractors work for long enough periods where they must be learning new skills on the job and putting them to use in new contracts.
Just how is bluffing interviews done?
Dr. McLaughlin’s Contractor Surgery
You can very seldom get a contract without commercial experience of the skills. That’s why contractors seldom go on training courses.
There’s no point. They just wouldn’t get a contract out of it – unless it is a very rare skill.
It’s a shame that your skills are about to become obsolete.
Would you not be best to try and get some more up-to-date skills within the company you are in?
How did you get the .NET skills? Do they have .NET at the company where you work?
Successfully Bluffing Interviews
If they do, and you were a little dishonest, AND you were confident that you could really use .NET, then you could just put it on your CV.
Probably the only check agencies or companies would make would be to check if they used .NET at your company.
If they ask for a reference, you’ll have to give them the name of a mate of yours at the site who is in on the act.
Bluffing Interviews is risky, though, (although you’d probably get away with it) and you’d probably be best to try and get some better skill at the company you are working for – or take a permie job elsewhere with better skills, before considering becoming a contractor.
Pass the Interview
Once you pass the interview you’ve then got the problem of having to use the skills at the client’s site.
Often contractors are expected to be experts at what they do and more knowledgeable than permies in the skills they use.
It’s fine if there is another contractor there who will help you out – but if there isn’t you could be in trouble.
See Difficult Interview Questions – Six Ways to Handle Them
To retain 85% or more of your money see Offshore Umbrella Companies
You could restructure your CV to make yourself a developer first and the programming languages second. You can also evolve during a contract to adopt new technologies. I would avoid bluffing at all costs, it will likely not do you any favours.