These days, it’s not unusual to find many PR/Communications professionals consulting. All professions have shown a huge increase in non-permanent positions. In April, the New York Times reported that 76% of all American university professors are adjunct faculty. Some consultants wonder how freelancing will be viewed when interviewing for a full time position. How can you put a positive spin on your consultancy?
Be positive and be proud!
There is no shame in consulting. In fact, many organizations view their consultants as secret weapons. Let the interviewer know that your consulting experience will enable you to bring new and valuable perspectives to the company.
Embrace your expertise during an interview as much as you would during a pitch for new business. There’s a reason you’ve been hired as a consultant. You have the knowledge and the skills that somebody needed. And remember, you are at this interview in the first place because someone saw something they liked on your resume, or someone has recommended you for the job.
Answers to 3 tricky questions:
1. Why were you laid off?
If you’ve been consulting because you were downsized, just say so. Draw the interviewer quickly back to discussing your expertise and skill set. The longer you spend explaining a negative, the more negative it will become.
2. Why did you leave full time employment?
If you have been a consultant because you left a job for personal reasons, whatever they may be, be prepared to give an honest explanation and then the reason consulting is no longer right for you.
3. Why didn’t your consulting client hire you full time?
Be ready to explain the circumstances. Make sure to include success stories, positive results, measurement, or metrics, as well as examples of being asked back to the same company for additional work.
The trick is to talk about your consultancy in a positive way. Allow the interviewer to see your consultancy background as adding skills that their current employees or other candidates do not have.
Chaloner, founded in 1979 as Chaloner Associates, is a national executive search firm that focuses on recruiting mid- to senior-level communications, public relations, marketing and investor relations professionals.