In a previous article we explored how to successfully interview with a staffing agency. In this followup post I provide smart questions to ask in an interview for a contract job.
Contract interview questions for the recruiter:
You may not get a chance to ask this many questions, so decide in advance which ones are important in your situation.
- Why is this role open? (Their answer may provide clues re: permanent opportunities, e.g. if you’re replacing someone who left the company or is on family leave.)
- What is the end date?
- Is this a temp-to-hire position? If so, what’s the timeframe for converting the contract to a permanent role?
- Is the job remote, on-site, or a combination of both? If it’s remote, who is providing the equipment?
- What are the hours?
- Will I be paid for hours worked over 40 hours/week? Will that be at straight time or time and a half?
- Are any benefits available? What is the cost of health benefits and is my contribution pre-tax?
- How many clients do you have in (my desired industry)? (This will help you assess their ability to help you land additional contracts after this one.)
- What percentage of your consultants do you place in second and third positions?
- Is there a tenure rule at the client? If so, how long can I stay, and how long do I have to be out of the client company before I’m eligible to return?
- What is the pay range? (You will probably be told this without asking. Any negotiation should happen in this meeting, not at your interview with the client company.)
- When does payment occur?
- Will I be an employee of the client company or of the agency? Will I receive a 1099 tax form or, as is increasingly common, a W2? (Be aware of the differences in terms of pay, benefits and tax responsibilities.)
Questions for the hiring manager at the client company:
- Why is this role open, and how long do you expect to need me? (Even though you asked the recruiter, you may want to ask the hiring manager too, to ensure there’s no misunderstanding on these crucial points.)
- What is the most important part of this role? And what’s the most urgent priority?
- What will a typical day look like?
- Who will I be working with?
- What should I know in order to work effectively with you and/or the team? For example, how do you prefer to communicate?
- What’s the difference between doing a “good” job in this role versus doing an outstanding job?
- What changes are likely to occur in this organization during the period of the contract?
- Who will provide any equipment needed (e.g., a laptop)?
Asking the right contract interview questions helps ensure a good fit between your needs and the role. Now, don’t forget to read the article, How to Interview for a Contract Position through an Agency.