You are here

Common interview questions for contracting jobs

If you’re preparing for a temporary position interview, have you considered how you might tailor your answers? Many candidates prepare for standard interview questions, which may be more geared towards permanent roles, but hiring managers might be looking for different responses from a temp candidate.

Temporary workers are expected to fit into the way of life straight away in the workplace, you don’t get the privilege of ‘settling in’ that a permanent member of staff is allowed. This means you may be asked more direct questions in your interview, as the hiring manager will want to know that you can make an immediate effect.

Interview questions for temporary positions might be along the lines of:

What was it about this role that made you apply?

Take a look at the job specification. Pick out a few of the key points and tailor your answer around them, so if the role involves lots of tight deadlines make sure you say you thrive under pressure.


How do you work as part of a team/what types of team have you worked in before?

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


Why do you want to work for this organisation?

This question is dual purpose. It will assess how much you’ve researched the company before the interview and what values you possess that align with theirs.


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

In any interview, employers are encouraged by a candidate who’s thought about their future but this doesn’t mean you should be dismissive of the value of temping, even if you’re only interviewing for the role because you need work.


Why do you think a temporary job is a good career move for you?

If this is your first interview for a temporary role, consider your motivations for applying. It could be detrimental to your case if you don’t have a good answer for this question. Concentrate on the benefits of temping, rather than the disadvantages of a permanent position.

In your answers you should constantly be demonstrating 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. Try and highlight a time when you were required to use these attributes in a previous role in your answers.

Another important aspect of being a temp is the ability to learn quickly and get along with whatever team you’re working with. So, to show these are qualities you possess think carefully about real life examples you can provide. Being a quick learner should go hand-in-hand with being adaptable, so you can discuss the two together. 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.

You should also be prepared to explain why you’ve chosen to apply for a temporary role instead of going for permanent employment. Don’t simply say; “there’s nothing out there”, give a valid reason that encourages the hiring manager to consider you for the role. You could say, for example, that you’re trying to build up experience in a range of organisations because you’re interested in working with different teams and on different projects.

For more information on contracting positions, take a look at our advice on adapting your CV for contracting roles and the benefits of contracting.