What should I say in my interview about my contract job?

So I’m just finished the second week of about 8-10 of a contract job (a “sequel” to a much longer one I had last year with the same company, same department, etc). I just got an e-mail from Amazon asking for a phone interview.

Now, I’ve been applying to Amazon jobs off and on for a while now, and this is the first time I’ve ever gotten anything but stony silence, so I’m quite surprised. I’ll have to take the call at work on my pay-as-you-go cel phone ($15 estimated cost, but hey, I consider it better odds than a lottery ticket), but that’s not what’s on my mind.

What should I say about my availability? My contract sez that I can terminate at any time for any reason on my end. Should I work in any notice? I’m not concerned (yet) about burning bridges; I did really well and got along with everyone during the longer stint last year, and considering this interview would be for a full-time position, I’m certain they’d understand.

But my absence could mean that they might need someone to replace me, since the project has deadlines. OTOH, Amazon being a large company, and this only being the first step in a longer process that includes an evaluation based on the phone interview, then arranging at least one round of in-persons, I can easily imagine I might be done/almost done with the contract by the time I know if I’m hired or not. Plus, frankly, I’m realistic about my chances to begin with; I can easily imagine Amazon interviewing someone with more (relevant) experience than me in ANY economy.

Given all that, I’m inclined to just say “immediately available,” but that leaves the notice issue. Thoughts?

How about saying something like, “Contractually, I am immediately available, but I’d like to be professional and give my current employer reasonable notice.”

Not bad! A friend pointed out to me just now that I don’t want to come off as someone who drops commitments casually because something better came along. That may help!

ETA: I obviously won’t bring this issue up on my own if they don’t ask; they could very well not do so until the in-person stage. I just want to be prepared.

Yessiree, that’s exactly what I did, not with a contract job, but with regular full-time employment that I am sick and flippin’ tired of. When asked about availability, I said I can start now, but I would like to give my current manager two weeks’ notice. That was apparently a good answer.

Would your present employer release you without notice? If so then you’re under no obigation to provide them with notice.

Always put down today’s date as when you can start. I’ve had jobs where I’ve arranged for two weeks notice, and the day I give notice, they “walk” me out the door. Now I am out two weeks pay for my consideration to that company.

You won’t come off as someone who drops commitments, 'cause you can always just say “I gave two weeks notice and they said I could leave immediately.”

I know when I worked as an IT manager for a large hotel chain, I was shocked that when I quit and gave two weeks notice they didn’t walk me out the door. I had access to everything, and most surprising was no one was hired to replace me. They outsourced the job to India so the two weeks was a waste of time.

By not giving notice you’ll be put on that company’s “s-list” and perhaps put down for not-eligible for rehire, but if you don’t plan on working for them again, don’t place your own needs at the mercy of a company that can get along fine without you.

So put down you can start ASAP or “Two weeks notice,” or “Open.”

A starting date is something most companies will be flexible with.

I would just take it as given that a company like Amazon will give you 2 weeks to give your employer notice. You’ll probably be dealing with an internal recruiter or HR person who oversees the details, that person will have a procedure to follow and 2 weeks is pretty standard. If they really needed people right now they’d have asked when they called if you can start ASAP, just so they don’t waste their own time.

Do make sure you have a quiet and private room for that phone interview. I’ve done a bunch and I’ve found I can get distracted pretty easily (ie, my boyfriend walks in to the room to get his phone) and the person interviewing you is is going to expect to have your full attention.

Perfect. Most companies are aware that full-time, permanent positions are more desirable than contract work and employees will choose the former over the latter. Then you get jerk temp agencies that threaten to sue you when you quit a temp job with only a week’s notice for a different position paying three times as much, in spite of the fact that temp agencies can and do fire you with zero notice for no reason…but that’s not important right now. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure that’ll be possible, given, for obvious reasons, I’ll have to take that call at work, and there are a limited number of conference rooms. But I’ll do my best.

Thanks for the suggestions so far! More thoughts are definitely appreciated!