You just got an email from the recruiter indicating that the client would like to interview you for a consulting position. While we have all interviewed for jobs, interviewing for a consulting position is slightly different. For one, consultant positions tend to be more specific in terms of job description, as they are looking for someone to temporarily fill in a gap. Also the turnaround time for these positions tend to be a lot quicker, as more often than not, clients will be looking for a more immediate hire. That being said, here are ways you can nail that interview and sign your next (or first!) contract.
Preparing For Your Interview
It is important to make sure you review the opportunity for which you are interviewing. Most openings will have a specific list of items that the client is looking for help with. Be prepared to discuss specific examples of your experience with each item. The recruiter/client will be interested in hearing how you have dealt with each item in the past or what experience you have with it. Be honest and straightforward with your experience.
One way to prepare is to jot some notes of scenarios you have dealt with related to each item on the job opening. That way, even if you are nervous for your interview and your mind goes blank, you will have notes to help jog your memory. It also helps focus you on what you want to express so that you don’t get down a rabbit hole and never get to what you really want to talk about with the recruiter/client.
Questions to Expect
Most interviews will start with the interviewers introducing themselves and explaining a little bit about the position that they are looking to fill. Next, they will ask you to give an overview of your experience as a consultant or your relevant experience, if you are not yet a consultant.
In general, the interviewers will then start running through questions related to the areas they are trying to fill. While this seems obvious, it is to make sure you are the right fit for the position they are looking to fill. It is also important to be honest about your experience and background. It is ok to say that you have limited experience with an item and that you are willing to build on that experience if you are chosen.
Questions To Ask
It is always important to ask questions regarding the contract, along with expectations. Be sure to ask what they are looking for in consultant. Be sure to understand the expectation around specific hours they may want you to work. This type of question is often overlooked, but it important to ask about as not all contracts are identical.
There are contracts that are more project management focused, while others may require you be more build oriented. Some may be fully remote, while others may require travel. While the recruiter will do their best to provide these answers, these things tend to be in constant flux, meaning the client’s needs might have shifted by the time you talk to them. As such, it is critical to clarify the expectations regarding role and travel before deciding whether you want to sign with them if offered a contract.
What not to do
Unlike other more typical job interviews, do not bring up rates. The recruiting firm has already negotiated a rate with the client, and as such clients are not part of the discussion around your take home rate. You should have agreed on a rate with the recruiter prior to going into the interview.
While many jobs interviews are relatively similar across the board, interviewing as a consultant is different. This is due to the transient nature of the job, along with the fact that most contracts are more about completing a specific task instead of keeping you on for the long term.
Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments about interviewing. We’d love to hear from you!