Setting up as a Contractor: acing the interview

Once you have powered up your CV you need to deliver on the wonderful contents of that document at a face-to-face interview.

Job interviewing is a significant subject matter, the details and nuances of which are beyond the scope of this week’s 5-minute insight. This is however covered in detail in a recent eBook we published called ‘The Art of Interviewing’. This resource is equally powerful for interviewees as it is interviewers. Download your copy of 'The Art of Interviewing'.

The goal today is to provide some key areas to tweak your existing interview style to strengthen your ability to position yourself as a professional contractor.
As with last month, it’s all about putting yourself in the shoes of the interviewer/hiring manager. They’ll most likely have a discrete, fairly well defined piece of work in mind that will have some time pressure on it. They need to see someone who comes across as increasing the chances of the project’s success and lowers the risk. What kind of person do you think would create that impression?

It’s not hard to come up with the following wish list:

  • Someone who it seems could relate easily to anyone and build some rapport quickly – tick the people/team integration box.
  • Someone who is very together, answers questions with ease, and provides poignant detail (vs vagueness) without being verbose – tick the competence and confidence boxes.
  • Someone who demonstrates specialist expertise, whose answers are laced with deep knowledge and pragmatic realities – tick the skills and experience boxes.
  • Someone who listens well and gets on the same page rapidly, gets right to the heart of the project challenges and speaks evenly (not unrealistically) about getting past these – tick the box for ‘hits the ground running’.
  • Someone who is honest and will discuss their own limitations – tick the box for self-awareness.


It may seem that this box checking interviewing approach is a little mercenary. However, most of us will agree that contract hiring decisions are much more like this than the permanent equivalents. Interviewers want to see contractors who obviously meet the challenges of their projects and environment. The operative word is ‘obviously’. If it’s not obvious, there is doubt.

We offer coaching following each interview we conduct so if we’ve not already, hopefully we’ll get the chance to contribute to your interviewing capability.

Once you have aced the interview, find out how to set up your business as a contractor.