Not every job is going to be a lifelong career. If you’re applying for something seasonal, or you are seeking a part-time or freelance gig, the game is slightly different from the standard job interview. These strategies can help you sort out those differences and nail the interview.
1. Change up your mental timeline
With temporary (or contract) jobs, you don’t necessarily need to present yourself as the best long-term option for the company. So you’ll need to adjust your thinking. Instead of emphasizing your willingness to commit for a long time, make sure it’s clear that you’re in it to win it for the short term, or however long the employer is seeking.
2. Understand what the employer is seeking
If the job description is at all vague, or you’re having trouble telling whether this is really a short-term position or a temp-to-hire thing, clarify the parameters with the interviewer. It’s better to be extra clear on expectations than to go down one interview path assuming one outcome when the company is hiring for another.
3. Hit your skills hard
If you’re interviewing for a short-term position, it’s likely that the company is looking for someone with very specific skills rather than an overall package. Make sure your relevant hard skills are very clear on your resume, and that you play them up during the interview.
4. Be flexible
Many contract or temporary roles require flexibility, so be sure to emphasize your ability to meet challenges with creative solutions on tough deadlines. Also, make sure to discuss with the interviewer whether there are specific scheduling issues that might fall outside of the normal 9-to-5 area, so that you’re prepared to schedule accordingly and let the interviewer know that you’re equipped to handle a nonstandard job.
5. Be ready to move fast
It’s likely that a temporary or freelance position is opening up to meet a specific and immediate need. This is unlike full-time hiring, when the company often has the luxury of weeks to accept, review, and interview candidates. You should be ready to negotiate, evaluate, and accept or reject the job on a quick turnaround, if you receive an offer.
6. Treat every job like a long-term opportunity
You may be interviewing for a position with a clear end date, but you never know what doors it might open (whether at the same company or in the same field). So while you’re emphasizing the short term, don’t dismiss the job as “one and done.” The interviewer will likely be able to tell if you’re not taking this seriously, and that could definitely affect your chances of getting the job. If nothing else, this will be a resume-booster and a chance to develop more skills and experience—so don’t underestimate it!
If you’re looking for a short-term job to bolster your skills or just pay the bills while you pursue your passion career, you should do everything you can to make it happen. Whether it’s for six weeks, six months, or six decades, you want your qualifications to be front and center. One thing never changes, no matter what job you’re interviewing for: you’re there to make sure they know you’re the absolute best person to get this done.