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Contractor Interviews

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    Contractor Interviews

    I just wanted to gauge the experience of other contractors based on something that happened to me today.

    I've officially got two more months on the contract I'm on and I've been told that come February I'll be offered an extension. I love the work, love the company. One of my favorite gigs to be honest. The downside is it's away from home and I'm missing the kids and wife. I got a call last week about a role close to home that will start end February. I was surprised to be asked to speak with the client now but was told that they were wanting get everything in place before the project kicks off.

    My usual experience of "interviews" as a contractor has been more of a friendly chat where I'll go in or speak on the phone. They'll go through my work, some really big projects I've delivered, talk about them and maybe reflect on how I'd do things differently. Have a chat in general about my experience, especially as my portfolio has grown

    I attended a meeting today that was essentially a test. The last time I had an interview like this I was fresh out of uni looking for my first job. It was almost like my work for the last nine years didn't count for anything. They were grading me via a test.

    I was super annoyed and maybe I was rash but I simply said that i found the whole situation a little insulting and that I wasn't interested. The agent wasn't pleased but I told him that I didn't expect to be treated like a fresh grad. My work should speak for itself, so should my references. He seemed to think that it was normal but I've honestly never had this as a contractor.

    What's the general experience of everyone else when lining up their next gig. Ate these kinds of tests normal? Have I just never had a proper interview/screening? More importantly, was I out of order?

    #2
    Originally posted by Illustrious View Post
    I just wanted to gauge the experience of other contractors based on something that happened to me today.

    I've officially got two more months on the contract I'm on and I've been told that come February I'll be offered an extension. I love the work, love the company. One of my favorite gigs to be honest. The downside is it's away from home and I'm missing the kids and wife. I got a call last week about a role close to home that will start end February. I was surprised to be asked to speak with the client now but was told that they were wanting get everything in place before the project kicks off.

    My usual experience of "interviews" as a contractor has been more of a friendly chat where I'll go in or speak on the phone. They'll go through my work, some really big projects I've delivered, talk about them and maybe reflect on how I'd do things differently. Have a chat in general about my experience, especially as my portfolio has grown

    I attended a meeting today that was essentially a test. The last time I had an interview like this I was fresh out of uni looking for my first job. It was almost like my work for the last nine years didn't count for anything. They were grading me via a test.

    I was super annoyed and maybe I was rash but I simply said that i found the whole situation a little insulting and that I wasn't interested. The agent wasn't pleased but I told him that I didn't expect to be treated like a fresh grad. My work should speak for itself, so should my references. He seemed to think that it was normal but I've honestly never had this as a contractor.

    What's the general experience of everyone else when lining up their next gig. Ate these kinds of tests normal? Have I just never had a proper interview/screening? More importantly, was I out of order?
    Some clients don't know what/who they want and consequently they have no idea how to interview candidates. I refuse to do tests, especially the timed ones. Codility and similar tulip. If my experience and a face-to-face interview doesn't give them a good idea of my "fitness for purpose" (or not) then a stupid coding test is not going to help.
    You're awesome! Get yourself a t-shirt.

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      #3
      Originally posted by squarepeg View Post
      Some clients don't know what/who they want and consequently they have no idea how to interview candidates. I refuse to do tests, especially the timed ones. Codility and similar tulip. If my experience and a face-to-face interview doesn't give them a good idea of my "fitness for purpose" (or not) then a stupid coding test is not going to help.
      /\ this /\
      I am what I drink, and I'm a bitter man

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        #4
        I can understand people interviewing now for a January start but interviewing now for a February start should ring alarm bells.

        The potential client today doesn't understand contractors and the test just proves it.

        Oh and I learnt as a permie if they make you jump through hoops doing tests the role is normally tulip.
        "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

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          #5
          Originally posted by squarepeg View Post
          Some clients don't know what/who they want and consequently they have no idea how to interview candidates. I refuse to do tests, especially the timed ones. Codility and similar tulip. If my experience and a face-to-face interview doesn't give them a good idea of my "fitness for purpose" (or not) then a stupid coding test is not going to help.
          Well I refused to do it. I'm of the same opinion that my experience and my attitude are my selling points. I wasn't told that it was a test environment. I think I was more annoyed that the agent didn't even think to say, oh by the way, they're giving you a test. I'd have told them I'd not be willing to go saving their time and more importantly, mine

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            #6
            Originally posted by Illustrious View Post
            Well I refused to do it. I'm of the same opinion that my experience and my attitude are my selling points. I wasn't told that it was a test environment. I think I was more annoyed that the agent didn't even think to say, oh by the way, they're giving you a test. I'd have told them I'd not be willing to go saving their time and more importantly, mine
            The agent probably didn't know and even if they did they don't care.

            Oh another thing that now gets my alarm bells ringing is if an agent describes the client person as "nice". As I expect people to be "nice" this means they are a $£*#.
            "You’re just a bad memory who doesn’t know when to go away" JR

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              #7
              I've had the whole range.

              Probably one of the best clients I had spanning a good 4 years on and off was on the basis of a 20 minute face to face chat with a resulting contract offer direct there and then. For one IB I worked at I had two 1 hour telephone interviews followed by a face to face - to be fair that was extreme though as I didn't realise at the time that 2 teams were interviewing me for very similar projects with the likelihood of getting a role in either at the end.

              I have had interviews where I've been given a paper based tests and computer based tests too which I've had reasonable success with.

              Typically I will attempt them all as what have you got to lose? Just because your CV shows you've got good names and experience I don't think you can take exception to people probing deeper to determine whether you actually have the skills you say you have.

              By far and away the worst interviews I find are the "who wants to be a millionaire" style, particularly obscure computer language syntax questions.

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                #8
                The only test I have ever done was based on certification questions from my SME tech skill.

                Online and timed, as you answered the questions and got them right, you would move to different subject areas, i.e. web based report development > metadata layer and data warehouse design > Security and AD LDAP set up, server config and database connectivity.

                Never been interested in the actual certifications, but did get a very good result in the above.
                Best bit its totally portable and recognised and the agency paid for me to do it.

                So not all "tests" are bad.
                The Chunt of Chunts.

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                  #9
                  YMMV in my opinion. Some clients do all sorts of stupid interviews and some its just a 20 min chat. As others have said, the gigs with just a chat tend to be the best.

                  I also get a bit peed off when I get asked stupid obscure technical questions by a young scrote trying to impress his boss and "beat the contractor" in interview. I think - hang on Ive been doing this 25 years so what if I dont know the exact command off the top of my head.

                  BUT, sometimes you just have to suck it up if you want the gig. Being in gig until end Feb and being able to sort something out now for a new one is golden imho. Even if its a bit weird. If it was me I'd have sucked it up and see what happened.

                  BTW - weirdest interview I had was 40 questions on 4 subjects (10 each). One of the four subjects I knew nothing about at all and then knew it. Still asked me the questions. I got 29 out of 40 apparently (even got 1 right from the 10 I knew nothing about). Gave the gig to some guy who got 30. Nothing else just a test. Weird.
                  Rhyddid i lofnod psychocandy!!!!

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                    #10
                    Some people can bulltulip their way through an interview but get caught out when it comes to being tested on something, particularly in a technical role - you might be wearing rose tinted glasses when you write a CV so it's fair enough if people want to check that you can actually do stuff IMO

                    Obviously if the test is nothing to do with your CV or nothing to do with the proposed role (like psychometric tests etc) then I'd agree that they're OTT for a contractor role

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