Interviews: What You Should Be Asking

What makes for a good tech hire? The answer to this question is varied but we’ve tackled this topic in previous blog posts. In those posts we talked about the underlying traits we feel hiring managers should be cognizant of such as a candidate’s practical experience, their ability to adapt, and their passion for the work that they’re doing (The Traits That Make Up a Good Tech Hire). We also highlighted a few areas that hiring managers need to be paying attention to such as the longevity of a candidate’s assignments, their relevant industry experience, and the types of degrees and/or certifications they may hold (Do You Know How to Spot an IT Superstar).

What we have yet to go into detail about, though, is the types of questions hiring managers should be asking of candidates in order to gain a more in-depth understanding of each individual. So below, we’ve posed a handful of questions we feel hiring managers should be asking of candidates to ensure they hire the right technical and cultural fit for their organization. They are:

Can you tell me about a recent project you helped to improve and/or make more efficient?

When you’re looking to make a hire, especially for the long-term, you need a candidate who understands the value of their work and how it affects the business. This question is designed to do just that. A candidate who has had past successes should be able to talk about them in detail.

Walk me through your biggest challenges and what you did to overcome obstacles – how did you find the resolution?

Whether they be technical challenges or dealing with a difficult team member, this question will shine light on a candidates reasoning and resolution skills. Two skills that are essential for any successful employee.

Can you walk me through all the jobs on your resume?

Here we have a question designed to weed out the pretenders. Any candidate worth their weight should be able to go back through all the jobs on their resume listing their manager’s names and titles, the departments they worked in, and the types of technologies they worked on. It’s important for candidates to know their past and be able to speak to it in a fluid nature.

When working with new technologies, how do you bring yourself up to speed?

This question will provide insight into how a candidate handles technology products and reveal to you an inside look at their thought process.

How do you keep your technical skills current?

Are candidates going above and beyond to take classes or become certified? Are they volunteering for projects in order to gain additional experience? These are the questions that will be answered by asking this one.

Where do you get your tech-related news?

This question is really just to ascertain a candidate’s interest in technology. It answers whether or not they’re staying up on trends and will confirm their passion for technology.

What are your favorite tech products?

Again, this is another question designed to find out a candidate’s passion for technology. As an added bonus, if your organization uses any of the products the candidate mentions, then you’ll know they may be the right fit.

Why do you want to work here?

This question more relates to full-time hires, but a candidate should be expressing a passion for your organization and the work that you do. Answers should never revolve around salary or the company’s location. While that may hold some truth, it’s not the type of answer a hiring manager should be looking for. And more importantly, it’ll shine light on the candidate’s passion and desire to work for your company. When making a long-term investment, these are the questions you’ll need the answers to in order to ensure your choice of hire is in it for the long haul.

So, while there are many other questions hiring managers may like to ask, these questions will answer whether a candidate is both the right technical fit as well as cultural fit for your organization.

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