How Do Interviews for Contract Jobs Tend to Differ from Those for Permanent Jobs in Software Companies?

If you have been working as a front-end designer in the software industry for a while, you may be tempted to start contracting. Contract work can often come with exceptionally good pay and this is something a lot of professionals are willing to sacrifice job security and employee benefits like annual leave, health insurance and sick pay for.

Contracting can also give you more flexibility and freedom, and allow you to gain experience with lots of different companies, without your resume showing you as a flighty employee.

If you have decided to make the jump from working as a permanent employee to contracting, it is worth knowing what to expect in the interviews, as they tend to be very different from the processes usually used to recruit permanent staff.

Shorter Interview Processes

One thing that you may be pleased to hear is that interview processes for contractors are far shorter than for permanent staff. You may well only have to do a telephone interview and one face to face interview with the manager directly responsible for the role you are applying for. In some cases, where the role needs to be filled urgently, there may even just be one stage.

This is because the company makes very little commitment when they hire a contractor, and while they want good people for the money they are laying out, they can essentially get rid of you instantly if they’re not happy with your work, so they don’t need to spend a lot of time making sure everyone in the department is happy with the decision.

More Technically Focused

Since the company doesn’t need to worry about whether you are likely to stay long term, or what your goals are in terms of personal development, there will be far fewer questions about you and your life than in an interview for a permanent role. You are also unlikely to be asked many of the standard interview fodder about why you left your last company or what your strengths and weaknesses are. You will, however, need to show that you are good from a technical point of view and can hit the ground running. Businesses do not tend to want to spend time on orientation and training for contractors beyond explaining any internal systems and the project you are working on. You can check out itinterviewguide.com for advice on how to present this side of yourself well at interview.

Quick Decisions

Another thing to expect is that a decision will normally be made quite quickly. Generally, companies don’t interview lots of candidates for contract jobs, as they are usually roles that need to be started quickly. Interviewing lots of people for a short-term job isn’t a good use of management time. You may hear back the same day through your recruitment agent as to whether you have the position and will be expected to start soon if you do.

Contractor interviews are generally far easier than ‘permie’ ones, but you do need to make sure you are good at demonstrating your technical skills succinctly.

Mars Cureg

Web designer by profession, photography hobbyist, T-shirt lover, design blog founder, gamer. Socially and physically awkward, lack of social skills, struggles to communicate with anyone who doesn't have a keyboard. Willing to walk to get to the promised land. Photo and video freelancer, SEO. Check out more on my Google+

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