It’s a good time to be a contractor. Ongoing talent shortages mean that 25% of businesses struggling to find suitable workers to complete key projects. These companies are now turning to contractors to harness the niche skills they require.
Although contractors are in high demand, 30% of Australia’s workforce is contingent, making it a very competitive landscape. Even if you’ve made it to the interview stage, you’ll need to undertake extensive preparation to land the job.
This preparation needs to take into consideration the specific requirements of contingent work – you’ll need to clearly articulate how you can hit the ground running, with minimal training and development.
Read on to see our top tips for how you should prepare, questions for contractors to ask at an interview and how you can link your skills with the job requirements.
Learn about the company
Well before your interview, make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of the company you’re applying for. This includes:
- Their various product lines and how they position themselves in the market. Look through their website, social media pages and interviews.
- Their culture and values. Usually this is found on the company’s website.
- Major stakeholders in the business, especially the background of your interviewers. This information will either be on the website or their LinkedIn pages.
Articulate how your skills align to the company
This is perhaps the most important part of prepping for an interview. Once you’ve learnt everything you can about the company in question, from their strategy to their business objectives, try to link that to your qualifications and skills.
Why should the interviewer care about your past experience? Make sure to articulate how, specifically, you will benefit the company.
You may be surprised how seemingly irrelevant experience might be used to demonstrate skills for your prospective job. For instance, if you have experience in changing lightbulbs, position it so you single-handedly managed the successful upgrade and deployment of a new environmental illumination system with zero cost overruns and zero safety incidents!
Prepare your answers to contractor interview questions
This is your opportunity to relate all your preparation to the interviewer and convey why you will be the best person for the job.
There’s plenty of guides out there to help you prepare for standard interview questions, but as a contractor, you should also watch out for:
- What has drawn you to contracting? You may want to use this question to demonstrate that you’re adaptable suited to flexible roles. Or, you may enjoy the variety of experiences and industries that contracting provides.
- How do your skills prepare you for this assignment? As a contingent worker, you should be able to articulate your ability to quickly understand requirements and be able to quickly deliver results.
- Are you open to future roles at the company? With companies looking to retain quality contractors through redeployment, and with new rules around casual conversion coming into play, many hiring managers may be looking for contractors that can stick around.
- Why did you leave your last contract? The nature of contingent work means that you can explain away short tenure at many different companies; however, clients may want peace of mind around potential risks of leaving halfway through a project.
Regardless of what you want to say, you’ll need to first satisfy the requirements of the question. Your responses should highlight your skills, have examples that demonstrate your capability, as well as showing your personality.
Questions for contractors to ask at an interview
It pays to prepare some questions to ask the interviewer, that demonstrate your interest in the role and highlight your ability. Try not to ask questions that you can easily find online, however.
Some good ones for contractors include:
- What are your expectations of me in the first month at this company?
- What other contractors and employees will I be working with?
- What, if any, technology or equipment will you provide me with? What will I have to provide?
- Have their been any challenges in completing this project so far?
For more tips on how to be competitive for any prospective position, see our recent blog post: Six tips on how to hone your contractor skills in preparation for 2021
As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutions, CXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce engagement. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your engagement.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help please contact us here.