As a contractor, much of your success relies on making strong professional relationships. Forging solid connections with hiring managers and colleagues can improve your chances of being hired and afford you new opportunities for continued employment. A first step toward building professional relationships is perfecting the interview process. It is critical to hone your interview skills and make a strong first impression. This can be difficult, especially if interviewing is not your strong suit. Here are three common mistakes contractors make during their interviews and how to avoid them:
Mistake #1: Focusing on how the contract can benefit you – not the client
Working exclusively as a contractor can cause you to have your professional guard up when faced with your next interview. It’s normal to contemplate how the position will benefit your career and what the compensation will look like. However, it’s important to remember that the work you take on is representative of a partnership between you and the client. So, while you want to ensure that your career objectives are being met, it’s important to remember that the client wants to know how they will benefit from bringing you on board. Be sure to focus your interview conversations on how your skills and experience will enable you to deliver what the client needs for the project or assignment. Never bring up compensation, and if the client wants to discuss it, revert them back to your CDI recruiter. Contractor Calculator magazine explained that it’s very common for contractors to get overly wrapped up in discussing how the arrangement will benefit them, while they should shift the focus to how it will help the client.
Mistake #2: Not having a well-tailored resume
If you have a lot of experience working as a contractor, you may have a hard time choosing which previous positions to showcase on your resume. While it’s tempting to create a one-size-fits-all resume to bring with you to all interviews, this is not an effective technique. “To increase your chances of creating a solid connection with the client, review the job for which you are applying”, says Brenda Smith, Fulfillment Manager for CDI. “Think about what recent and relevant experience you have that most closely mirrors your potential responsibilities in the new position, then customize your resume to highlight those projects, using the STAR method, which is explained in the October Contractor View. Also, adding a summary at the top of your resume which establishes your strengths, tailored to the opportunity, will make you stand out to the hiring manager.”
Mistake #3: Failure to sell yourself
While your work focuses on IT or engineering projects, you still need to showcase your sales and communication skills before you can land a position. As a contractor, you are responsible for selling yourself and demonstrating your value. The interview is where you highlight your expertise and accomplishments, so it is especially important to market yourself well during this process. Prior to going on interviews, review your skills and your relevant experience in relation to the job description so you can concisely point to the reasons a client should want to work with you. Not only will you have clear answers for many interview questions, but you will exude confidence that can help clinch the deal.