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Top 5 Interim Interview Questions

by Emily Cunningham August 26, 2011

[This article was updated in March 2022 in order to keep it remaining relevant and accurate for our readers, as well as reflect our reputation for quality.]

Like a trip to the dentist, interviews for any job seem to have a knack for inspiring fear in even the most confident candidates. Interim Interviews are no exception. By its very nature, short-term work can be quite daunting, offering high rewards but at the price of much less security and predictability.

Interview questions for temporary positions can also be varied depending on the industry and seniority of the role you applied for. 

However, thinking directly about the key skills you need to thrive as an Interim employee is a great way to shed light on what sort of path an Interim interview is likely to follow, especially for research, analytical and consulting roles. 

Here are 5 common interim interview questions…

For candidates who want an extra dose of interview preparation, consider what temp job interview questions a hiring manager may ask based on experience, soft and hard skills, personality, and additional requirements highlighted in the role brief. And use this information to your advantage. 

By pre-empting specific questions, you can spend quality time preparing answers or topics you wish to highlight during the interview, whether it's on zoom or in-person.

It’s worth noting that questions can vary dependent on the seniority of the potential role. For junior candidates, interviewees are largely interested in technical expertise. They want to know that you can manage programs such as advanced excel or understand functional expertise within a skill-set like research. In essence, they want reassurance that you can deliver on essential KPIs and targets. 

For senior candidates, personality type and management style become more important considerations. You may be asked about your ability to manage teams, communicate with key stakeholders and other soft skills.

Below, we highlight 5 temp interview questions candidates may be asked when interviewing for roles within professional services. 

1) In what ways would you make an immediate impact if hired for this role? 

Firstly, remember that as an interim employee, you are expected to really dive in at the deep end. To this end, a potential employer will want to see evidence that you enjoy taking the plunge. Look out for questions testing your ability to jump headlong into a situation and really give it a go. Giving real-life examples from your previous experience is a great way to answer this question, as it offers the interviewees a tangible insight into your ability.  

2) Have you ever failed to reach a project deadline or KPI?

As an interim worker, you need to be able to make an impact fast. There’s no lengthy training and settling in time, but rather employers will want to see results from day one. Equally, most interviewers understand that goals don’t always stay on track. In this instance, they want to see how you handle not meeting KPIs, both in reference to mentality and in practical steps needed to get work back on track. All employees make mistakes, but as an interim worker, employees expect you to think on your feet and find a solution quickly. 

3) Do you have the practical skills needed for this role?

An employer will have little time to invest in polishing up a rusty skillset, so be really clear about what hard skills you can offer. For instance, this may involve knowledge of Python or another programming software for analytical roles. You’ll get a good indication of what the company wants by reviewing their role brief. Additionally, this is an excellent springboard question to show off previous experience; be prepared to outline examples of exactly how you have used these skills within a recent role.

4) What are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?

Interviewers may want you to demonstrate comprehensive sector knowledge, whether that’s highlighting current problems within the retail sector or projected growth within financial services. This is a chance to show a deep understanding of the industry as well as foresight; you can take an analytical approach and explain how potential problems in the future could be tackled. 

5) What would you do if someone on your team was performing below average? Would you take any action?

Typically targeted toward a more senior candidate, the interviewer wants to see your people management style and communication skills. In this instance, try to back your statements up with previous experience and keep the tone positive. For example, you could mention training, upskilling and encouraging team members, as well as preventative tactics that could be used in the future. 

Top Tip: Interviewees may ask candidates for information that is readily available on their site - this is often a test of analytical skills. That’s why it’s important to research a company before your interview and retain as much information about them as possible, such as company ethos, strategy and growth plans.

Final Thoughts on How to Answer Top 5 Interim Interview Questions

Temp role interview questions can be extremely tricky, especially when you haven’t prepared. Giving yourself time to rehearse interview questions, prep an appropriate outfit, think of questions to ask your interviewer and analyse the role brief can help quell those nerves. 

And even if you don’t receive positive news post-interview, regard the experience as a learning curve. Many hiring managers are open to providing feedback that may help you manoeuvre future interviews. 

Finally, don’t be afraid to show off your personality. An interim interviewer will want to see who you are and what sort of qualities and characteristics you can bring to the table. If you’re a Freshminds candidate, you will most likely have some great transferable skills that could really give you the edge in an interview- resilience, spark and flair, and drive to succeed.

For those interested in interim work within research, analytics, or consulting, explore the Freshminds job board and recharge your career.

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