We aren’t all mercenary, jumping from client to client chasing a pay cheque. I much prefer to build longer term relationships across the complete project lifecycle.
However, my preferred mode of working is as an independent who brings an outside view point. This is very hard to explain, and even harder to convince an interviewer from across the table, so really this approach to engaging with clients, especially if being delivered remote in part, really needs to be built up over time with the client ideally before their need arises. Otherwise, it almost always just becomes a ‘part of the furniture’ arrangement (nothing wrong with that for some folks) out of lack of trust between client and contractor.
As an independent external, when I sign a contract I feel I’m there to give my client the very best of myself. Part of this is always trying to do the “right thing” – by your client, by your own principles, by what you see happening in front of you. It may be tricky to do this at times. And in the short term you may suffer financially. But my experience is that uncompromising adherence to good principles is a business investment that does come back to pay dividends. Even if patience is required.
For example, if I see bullying, I believe it is my duty to help the organisation eradicate it. This obviously can have an impact on my relationship with my client but I am happy enough to lose business for a good cause.
Ask any project manager about the key to their success, and they will say that delivering a project is often more like a "dark art" or by chance, than a predictable science.