IT talent: 4 interview questions to prep for

Whether you're an IT manager looking for a key hire or looking to land your next tech role, here are four insightful interview questions to consider
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Our rapid adoption of remote work has had many unintended consequences. From the proliferation of video conferencing and using Zoom as a verb to a mass exodus of people leaving cities to live in more rural locations, the way we work has dramatically changed. As a result, the remote interview has become part of companies’ everyday hiring practices, opening up hiring managers to larger talent pools unrestricted by geographical location.

As companies look to scale, one challenge that may seem daunting is sifting through resumes and applications to find truly qualified IT candidates. Interviewing efficiently may be part of the solution, but that requires asking candidates the right questions about both their hard and soft skills. For IT candidates, the interview process is a valuable opportunity to highlight their technical expertise and show how they are a good fit for the company’s culture.

4 interview questions for IT candidates

Here are 4 questions interviewers should ask and candidates should be prepared to answer in an interview for an IT role.

1. What relevant skills do you have for this job?

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it is often overlooked as hiring managers may stick to the candidates’ resumes to find out about their skill sets. But by asking candidates straightforward questions regarding their capabilities, recruiters will be able to quickly learn if the candidate is truly qualified for the job.

[ Also read 7 'stay interview' questions to gauge employee satisfaction. ]

Likewise, candidates should not assume that recruiters have memorized their resumes ahead of time, and they should come – whether in person or via video conference – prepared to discuss their qualifications to perform the job role sufficiently. By explaining skills in more detail in an interview, candidates will help hiring managers understand the full scope of their experience beyond what is listed on their resumes.

2. What coding languages do you know?

Again, this may seem like another obvious question, but IT candidates should be ready to discuss their coding experience. As the way we work has become more digitized these past two years, candidates with a range of coding experience are widely sought.

[ Related read Software development trends: What's flourishing and what's fading ]

Candidates can use this question to go further than explaining their coding language fluency and to present how they can leverage these skills to contribute to innovation. Technical questions present opportunities for candidates to show concrete evidence that they are qualified for these roles.

3. What kind of work environment do you prefer?

To assess candidates properly, hiring managers must ask technical and skills-based questions. However, with much focus on workplace attrition today, savvy hiring managers are also asking candidates about their personal working preferences.

With much focus on workplace attrition today, savvy hiring managers are also asking candidates about their personal working preferences.

More than ever, businesses are making greater efforts to meet candidates’ needs in order to avoid employee turnover. Ensuring from the outset that both hiring managers and candidates are comfortable with the proposed working environment – and even managers’ management style – will help prevent any surprises once the candidate accepts an offer.

[ Read next Hybrid work: What's changed – and what hasn't ]

Whether managers have a more hands-on approach or allow their direct reports more autonomy, identifying this during the interview process is in the best interest of both parties. Additionally, some candidates thrive in an office, while others are hoping for a completely remote position or even a hybrid option. Discussing and defining preferences and working environments helps clarify candidates’ expectations for their roles. It also benefits hiring managers, prospective employees, and the companies, which can avoid high turnover rates by being transparent in their recruiting phase.

4. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Let’s face it – people generally love to talk about things that make them proud. By asking this question, hiring managers allow candidates to talk about who they are as individuals rather than just what they bring to the larger business. Obviously, pride can encompass past work projects, but some candidates might also cite volunteer contributions, family achievements, or other accomplishments.

Overall, candidates should always be prepared to discuss experiences that have contributed to their growth. Employers want to understand how candidates approach their journey to success and how they’ve learned from any failures along the way.

Finally, when interviewing for a new role, candidates should freely share with hiring managers the factors that motivate and help them achieve success. While some employees are motivated by career growth, others just want to know they’re appreciated.

Finding the balance

The interview process – arguably not easy for either hiring managers or candidates – provides an opportunity for clear, up-front communication that can define the future relationship for both parties. Candidates have a chance to evaluate prospective employers as much as the opposite is true.

With conversations that explore candidates’ technical, problem-solving, and communication skills, hiring managers can evaluate better their fit within the organization. Similarly, by asking questions about the work environment or management style, candidates can make a more informed decision before accepting a potential offer.

[ Check out essential career advice from 37 award-winning CIOs! Get a variety of insights on leadership, strategy, and career development from IT executives at Mayo Clinic, Dow, Aflac, Liberty Mutual, Nordstrom, and more: Ebook: 37 award-winning CIOs share essential IT career advice. ]

Sachin Gupta is the CEO and Co-Founder of HackerEarth. Sachin is a former software developer at Google and Microsoft, and now heads sales/marketing/operations at HackerEarth. A developer by trade, he is passionate about the developer community and ensuring every developer is connected with the right opportunity.