Questions Contractors Should ask at Interview – Stage of Project
There are a number of questions contractors should ask at interview.
For instance, what stage of the Project am I coming in at?
Start of the Project
It is one of the questions contractors should ask at interview but often forget to ask. However, asking it can give you a good insight into the project.
If you are a Project Manager you want to be coming in at the start of the Project obviously.
As a Project Manager they are likely to tell you the stage the Project is at during the interview.
Replacement of Contractor or Project Manager
If they are well into the project you could be taking over from someone else that they got rid of, if it was a contractor, or moved elsewhere if it is a permie.
This can be good or bad depending on how you play your hand.
If you simply go in and take over the previous disgraced Project Manager‘s estimates then you could be heading for trouble.
If they have gone to the trouble of getting rid of the Project Manager mid project then there must be something seriously wrong.
Take Your Opportunity
What you should say that the first thing you want to do is to make an assessment of the schedules and timetables for the project.
That gives you an opportunity to tell the management that the system is not as far forward as the previous guy told them.
You don‘t have to worry as the previous Project Manager probably made the estimates and his or her credibility is completely shot.
When you tell them that the project will actually take much longer than they had been led to believe they are likely to say ‘We suspected that’.
Make sure that the new schedule is one that you can deliver though.
Analyst – Start of Project
If you are an analyst, you would hope to be coming in at the start of the project.
If you are not, it maybe because there has been scope creep. Either that or they have fallen behind in the project which should ring alarm bells for you.
However, you should so the same as the Project Manager. Make an immediate assessment of the word done to date and the schedules.
Developer on a Software Project
If you are a developer you would want to be coming in at the early stages of development.
Often they bring in developers later on.
That is usually because the project is running behind schedule.
That‘s not a big deal to a developer as they are only responsible for their own programmes. So, it doesn‘t really matter what other people are doing and how they have done.
However, developers should examine any schedules they are given. They should say that the schedules are tighter than they are used to, creating themselves a safety net in case of failure.
Alarm Bells on IT Project
The analyst and the developer will not be so keen to come in and replace someone who has been sacked – especially if it is another contractor.
You should always ask the reasons why they have been got rid of as it may give you an idea of the kind of site it is and their attitude to contractors.
‘He was just a nine-to-five guy’ would be ringing alarm bells for me.
‘We expect so much more form a contractor’ might be another one.
Replacing a Sacked Contractor
It happened to me on my first day that the other guys told me that I had replaced a contractor who had been sacked.
Firstly, I had to take over his programmes which he had already written and not tested.
Secondly, I think that the previous contractor was the only contractor there and had had a hard time from the permies.
It was not the best contract I was ever on as they had a bad attitude to contractors.
It was away from home and they used to go out with each other and not invite me.
Invited by Project Manager
One time at the beginning the Project Manager invited me along for a meal.
It was a good enough night out but when the Project Manager was paying the bill one of the permies demanded that I should pay for my meal as I was a contractor.
The others seemed to concur although they didn‘t say anything.
I didn‘t, of course, he having invited me out.
However, i was never invited along again to any of their frequent nights out.
Pressure must have been put on the Project Manager.
Ask questions about attitude to Contractors
If the previous person in your job was a contractor who had been sacked you need to ask more questions like ‘Are there many contractors here?’ and ‘what is the attitude towards contractors here?’
If they tell you one thing and it turns out to be another you can always use that as an excuse if you want to leave the contact early.
Too many contractors have had to spend too much time at bad contracts when they could have avoided that with the right questions contractors should ask at interview.
If you are really desperate you might take the job anyway but at least you‘ll have some idea of what you are letting yourself in for.
Of course, if you have another contract you can go to, you might well decide to take that one instead if you have a bad feel after the questions above.
Those are some questions contractors should ask at interview.
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