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If you’re preparing for a contract job interview, it is crucial to consider the questions you might be asked beforehand. Many candidates tend to prepare with standard interview questions typically geared towards permanent roles.

However, hiring managers are looking for different responses from a contract or temp candidate due to the nature and outcomes of the work.

Temporary workers are expected to hit the ground running in their new workplace – they don’t usually get the privilege of ‘settling in’ that a permanent staff member is afforded. You may be asked more direct questions in your interview, as the hiring manager will want to know you can make an immediate impact.

Related: How to use the STAR technique to excel in job interviews

Here are some of the most common questions you might be asked in a contracting job interview and how to answer them well.

Common interview questions for contracting jobs

1) What attracted you to this contract role?

Take a look at the job description carefully and study it several times. Pick a few key points and tailor your answer around them. For instance, if the role involves many tight deadlines, share strong examples of how you handle and thrive under pressure. This question is also an excellent opportunity to highlight your specific skills for this contract role and why you’re an ideal candidate.

2) How do you work as part of a team?

As a temp or contractor, employers will want to make sure that you’ll slot into the team nicely, so your contribution can have an immediate impact.

Use examples from your past jobs or experiences to show how you function in a primary team and across teams since you may have been involved in distinct projects or ad-hoc business requests.

3) Why are you interested in contracting for our company?

This question has two purposes. It will assess how much you’ve researched the company before the interview and whether your values align with the organisation.

Thorough research on the company before your interview is critical. Be sure to highlight any values or attributes about the company that resonated with you during your discovery process.

Related: 8 guaranteed ways to stand out during the hiring process

4) What direction do you see your career going in the future?

In any interview, employers are encouraged by candidates who have thought about their future. However, this doesn’t mean you should be dismissive of the value of temping or contracting – even if you happen to be interviewing for a contract role because you need immediate work.

If you’re unsure whether contracting will be a long-term play, highlight the positive opportunities and experiences this temp role will add to your CV.

5) Why are you interested in temp work?

If this is your first interview for a temporary or contract role, consider your motivations for applying. Concentrate on the benefits of going temp, rather than the disadvantages of a permanent position.

In your answers, you should constantly demonstrate how you are a good match for a temporary role. For instance, employers will want to know that, as a temp, you’re flexible and adaptable. In your answers, try highlighting a time when you were required to use these attributes effectively in a previous role.

6) Tell me about a time you’ve had to quickly adapt to a new environment.

Temp workers must be able to quickly fit into a new team, new office, and new processes. Whether you’ve contracted in the past or this is your first potential temp role, have an example of a situation in which you’ve had to hit the ground running.

This could be slotting into a new team at work, taking on an unplanned, ad-hoc project, or adjusting your work approach to suit changing priorities. The goal is to demonstrate adaptability and flexibility – essential traits for any contract worker.

Related: 15 job interview mistakes to avoid

Preparing for a contracting job interview

An essential aspect of being a contract worker is learning quickly and getting along with whatever team you’re working in. To show these are qualities you possess, think carefully about real-life examples you can provide.

If you’ve been in a situation before where you were plunged headfirst into an ongoing project and had a successful result, emphasise the effect you had when you joined and the relevant aspects of the teamwork involved. Being a quick learner should go hand-in-hand with being adaptable, so you can discuss the two together.

Related: 15 ways to prepare and succeed at virtual job interviews

You should also be prepared to explain why you’ve chosen to apply for a contract role instead of going for permanent employment. Don’t simply say, “There’s nothing else out there,” even if you believe that.

Instead, give a valid reason that encourages the hiring manager to consider you for the contract role. You could say, for example, that you’re trying to build up experience across a range of organisations because you’re interested in working with different teams and on various projects, even in different company structures and industries.

Ready to apply for a new role? Check out our current contracting opportunities here, submit your CV or get in touch with a specialist Page Personnel recruitment consultant today.