Whether you’re interviewing for your first temporary role or are already a seasoned contractor, you need to expect your interviewer to get straight to the point: Can you make an immediate impact?
Your job, in the interview, is to convince them how.
Temps are often brought on during peak business times to cover absence or to help out with large projects. So you won’t have the luxury of settling in the same way that a permanent hire might.
Use your interview as a chance to show your prospective employer that you will be a valuable member of their team for the duration of the contract.
Here’s how to prepare for five of the most common temp job interview questions.
What was it about this role that made you apply?
Pick out one or two aspects or responsibilities about the job that attracted you to the role. This could be the company itself, the project you’ll be working on, or the fact that the job description was a great match for your skills and experience.
Example answer: “I was initially attracted to the role as I know X company has such a great reputation and I’ve always hoped for the opportunity to work here. But what led me to apply was seeing how my skills and experience were a perfect fit for the role based on the job description. That assured me I'd be able to meaningfully contribute to the company’s success in my time here.”
How well do you work as part of a team?
Explain why you don’t need lots of time to feel part of a team and that you can easily fit in anywhere to make an immediate impact. You might need to describe your personality traits and qualities (as well as showcase them, if possible) during the interview to make more of a case.
Example answer: "As someone who’s taken on various temp roles at different companies, I enjoy working in new teams and find it easy to fit in quickly in almost any environment. In fact, I’m happy to say I have an extensive professional network now thanks to contracting and getting to know some great people along the way.”
Why do you want to temp for this organisation?
Explain what appeals to you about the company (having researched their website, social channels and any media or news coverage). But also align how your skills and experience will make a valuable contribution for that particular type of business.
Example answer: “This is an opportunity to contribute to an exciting/forward-thinking/fast-growing company, and I thrive on being able to contribute ideas and make a difference within a short period of time. I’m confident I can do so through my [insert relevant skills/experience]...”
What direction would you like your career to go?
It’s okay to say that you want to look for a permanent role eventually – but be sure to state what you’re hoping to get out of temping for the time-being. Otherwise if you see yourself in contract roles for the foreseeable future, let them know what you get out of it.
Example answer: "I hope to back move into the right permanent role much later down the track, so right now I’m enjoying the variety of experience I’m getting through temping. I like being able to grow my skill set and take on interesting new projects, which is why I hope to take on this role too.”
What soft skills do you possess that make you a great temp?
Being a quick learner is vital for temp roles, as well as the ability to get along with whatever team you’re put into. Enthusiasm and attitude, clear communication, problem-solving skills and even initiative are all strong soft skills that you should mention with examples.
Example answer: “I’m a fast learner, which is why I pick up new tasks easily and enjoy tackling challenges. I enjoy meeting new people and have the adaptability and emotional intelligence to fit into all sorts of team dynamics. I often take the initiative and offer support to team members wherever it’s needed.”
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