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However, these interviews differ from those conducted for a permanent position. While they’re usually not as long, they are heavily focused on the skills that you can immediately bring to the table, filling whatever skills gap necessary. Because there is less time put aside to onboard you, the hiring manager will also need to know how quickly you can adapt to new processes and people, hitting the ground running.
This requires you to do your homework to prepare for likely questions and, crucially, think of examples from your work history that prove your expertise. So which questions should you prepare for?
The interviewer wants to know that you haven’t just taken on this assignment for the sake of it and that this role actually aligns with your career ambitions and interests. This will reassure them that, despite being a temp worker, you will still showcase a strong level of commitment to the project.
Before the interview ask for a copy of the job description or, if one isn’t available, ask your recruiter what specifically is required and what you’ll be doing in the role. You’ll then be able to answer this question by demonstrating how the assignment matches with your expertise and long-term career goals.
Temps and contractors must be able to adapt quickly to a new office and its processes. You should research the organisation before the interview; tell the interviewer what you have learned about its culture from your research and how this knowledge will help you hit the ground running.
You could also explain your strategy for quickly getting up to speed in each new workplace – for example, do you learn fast by asking questions and observing the environment in order to decide how to best fit in? Know what your strategy is, and have some examples up your sleeve of a time you put it in practice.
We always encourage our clients to assess personality fit for any type of role. This is because research has shown that this is often the reason a new hire doesn’t work out. Whilst you may not be with the company for a particularly long time, you will still need to get along well with existing employees for the sake of team morale and productivity. Prepare to describe how you work well with a range of different personalities.
As a temp or contractor, your skills and ability to immediately apply them effectively and efficiently are your selling point. When preparing for your interview, think of examples you can share that demonstrate your proficiency for each skill the assignment requires. Provide specific details as evidence of your ability to apply your skills to meet objectives.
You are then likely to be asked a range of specific technical questions related to your area of expertise. These questions are usually the most important because they reveal if you have the precise set of skills required for the employer’s immediate short-term need. Remember, they’re hiring external support because their permanent team lacks certain skills that are needed right away.
Therefore, give as many examples as possible of similar work you’ve completed in the past. Be specific when describing your duties, the skills you used and your outcomes. This is your chance to prove you will fill their skill gap and get the job done.
Link your answer back to your career goals. For example, do you want to gain experience in a wider range of industries or on different projects? Make sure the reason you provide is valid and doesn’t eliminate your possible consideration for any future roles the organisation may have.
Lastly, as with any interview, remember to ask your own questions at the end to demonstrate your interest in the role. These questions could be about the particular project or duties, if the organisation has used temporary or contract staff before and how your success in the assignment will be measured.
In general, you should prepare for these interviews just as well as for interviews for permanent employment. Temporary jobs offer great opportunities to make contacts, achieve quick success and concrete results. They also allow you to find out what you would expect from a permanent position. So why not take full advantage of these opportunities?