Interview questions for a contractor to permanent employee conversion?
October 2, 2008 11:40 AM   Subscribe

What kind of questions should I expect in an interview going from contractor to permanent employee

This is the first time I've ever had to do this. I've been contracting at a place for almost a year and a half now. A permanent position is opening, they've advertised it to both the current contractors and outside people. Now a couple of us contractors and a external person are being interviewed. It's the same job responsibilities I've had as a contractor, so they should know I'm technically qualified at this point.

The only thing I can think of is some soft people skills question like why do you want to be a permanent employee, what can you bring to the table as an employee that you can't as a contractor and things like that.

The first of those, I think I have covered. The second I'm not so sure. So, if you've done this before, what has been asked of you? If you were the interviewer, what would you ask? Any suggestions on a good answer for the second question I thought of?
posted by Karmic_Enigma to Human Relations (7 answers total)
Be prepared to awith an explanation for your less than adequate work (if any), the highlights of your successes, and how you've helped the bottom line.
posted by Pants! at 11:53 AM on October 2, 2008

I recently made the same transition and I'd like to offer the possibility that the interview is just a formality since companies tend to prefer what they're familiar with...

BUT: since you're competing with other current contractors for one permanent position (and you'll probably all still be working there afterward), you'll want to prepare a bit on what sets you apart from & above the others in your current position. Without disparaging them.
posted by kittyprecious at 12:03 PM on October 2, 2008

I have been making a list of all the projects I've either headed or been a member of, funny how long it can get when you actually think about it.

Really I've only had one less than stellar performance issue here, and that was actually from not having been told the procedure here when I first got here. What I did was a perfectly acceptable way of getting the situation resolved, just not the way it's done here.

It is a technical position, and the other current contractors are from other teams, and don't know the server side of the application as well as I do, but they have been contracting here much longer than I have, so that could work against me.

One of the interviewers actually had to recuse himself from the whole process because we've known each other for 10 years, worked with each other at 4 jobs, and he's the one that got me on here as a contractor when my current position opened.
posted by Karmic_Enigma at 12:12 PM on October 2, 2008

If those projects you headed were on time and under budget, that's a winning point to make, especially if you can tell a story about how you made sure it ended up that way.
posted by Pants! at 12:21 PM on October 2, 2008

I held a contract position for a year at a large corporation that suddenly became an opportunity to become full-time, and they put me through a full interview loop - five people with an "as appropriate" (decision-making director) at the end.

The questions ranged from, "how will your contribution change if you go from contract to full-time?" to a random puzzle question regarding a train and the interviewer's bloated sense of self-importance, so I'm convinced the questions you'll face will range the gamut of things people can think of.

In general, I think you'd get a lot of value out of reading this page over.

I'll have to leave the rest to others/'til later, as I'm too preoccupied to be useful beyond that.
posted by batmonkey at 12:36 PM on October 2, 2008

I agree that they probably already have a good idea if they want to hire you already.

The biggest question mark I have with people that have been working contract is that they may not like to stay in one job for an extended period of time. So how can you give them confidence that you're in this for the long haul?

I have chosen not to hire several people because they gave shaky answers to that question alone, even though they were the most technically qualified.
posted by albolin at 1:14 PM on October 2, 2008

I've been there a few times. Since you're competing with other contractors, I would expect a full typical interview loop, with additional questions about why you like working there and why you want to stay. They want to know you are passionate about what you are doing and are unhesitant about commiting the next 5 years of your career to their company. It's ok, if you really don't know where you want to be in 5 years, but you want to have a passionate and ambitious answer to where you want to be in 5 years that includes working for your company.

Every company interview culture is different though. Your company might have interview guidelines on your intranet. They can be invaluable to understanding what your interviewers are looking for in questions.

As a contractor, you have a lot to bring to the table, mostly in that you don't need any training to continue to do the job you are doing. You are familiar with your companies tools and processes. You are also familiar with the people at your company and know you fit into the company culture.

That last time I was asked in an interview why I wanted to go permanent. My answer was I really liked working with the people on my team. I was told that wasn't good enough. I needed to be passionate about the company and product. Good news is my pay doubled on my next contract.

Good luck!
posted by TheSlate at 11:23 AM on October 7, 2008

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