Once your company gets big enough, hiring will become a full-time, year-round process. It's why most large-scale tech companies have their own dedicated hiring managers whose duties are to handle the process.
As the possibilities of the technology industry expand further and further, jobs in the industry become more desirable and, by proxy, more competitive. Make sure you're walking into each interview with a set of questions that will fully assess whether candidates are ready to hit the ground running.
Tech is a sought-after industry, but it's a tough one. You need the very best people to keep your daily operations running smoothly and your bottom line increasing. So how can you ensure the individual is a good fit for you and your company? These are 20 of the best tech interview questions to ask your prospective client!
1. Why Do You Want This Job?
It should be the simplest question, but often we see past what's right in front of us to focus on the granular details.
Assess the candidate's ability to slow down, zoom out, and see the big picture. You might be blown away by their sincerity, and you might as easily spot a red flag in their inability to answer the question directly.
2. What Unique Skills Do You Bring to the Position?
This is your opportunity to test the prospective employee's genuine interest in your company by assessing how closely they read the original posting.
Some will paper the industry in resumes during a job search. You can't blame folks for being desperate, but a desperate willingness to work anywhere does not a dedicated, passionate employee make.
Check to see how closely they describe their skills in comparison to the skills asked for in the posting.
3. Where Do You Get Your Tech News?
There are tons of places to get industry news and some more reputable than others. There's no wrong or right answer to this question, but it does give you a window into the operating system, so to speak, of the candidate.
Are they plugged into the pulse or still reading stuffy, antiquated opinions in Bloomberg or AdWeek?
4. What's Your Favorite Piece of Technology, and Why?
Give them the opportunity to talk up their knowledge of software, hardware, and operating systems. Do they enjoy it as a consumer or as a programmer? Are they focused on the inner workings, the interface, or the design?
Answers to these tech interview questions will tell you a lot about the candidate's priorities and their aptitude for problem-solving.
5. Do You Work Best Alone or as Part of a Team?
This is a question that you'll need to tailor per position. If you're looking for a software developer to be one part of a large group of team members, you're going to want to hear a different answer than if you're looking for a research scientist that'll be cranking away in isolation.
New research shows that focusing on teams is far more conducive to overall productivity than focusing on individuals, however. So do with that knowledge what you will.
6. How Would You Describe Our Product to Someone Who Doesn't Speak Tech?
Being able to translate technical speak is a hugely important skill for IT, HR, sales, customer support — practically any position within a standard company in this space.
Think of each of your employees as brand representatives, whether they're on or off the job. Their ability to articulate what the company's product does and why it matters in plain English is an invaluable technical skill. Conduct a mock conversation in which you ask layman's follow-up questions to really test their skill with both “languages.”
7. What is the Worst Part of Our Product? How Would You Fix It?
Not every question should be a softball, where the candidate gets to talk up their skills and qualifications.
Tech interview questions like these sound deliberately tough, but they're really not. Every person you hire is a future problem solver. Ensure they are capable of identifying technical problems, knowing how to solve them, and, most importantly, can speak up when they see them.
8. Describe Your Quality Control Process.
Each company is going to have different quality control expectations and different protocols for achieving them. Ask your candidate which of these processes worked for them in the past, which didn't, and what they're bringing forward with them.
It will give you a sense of how they'll meet deadlines, how they might engage with leaders, and where their skills are vis-a-vis quality.
9. How Did You Learn to Program, and What Was the First Thing You Programmed?
Here, you aren't testing the candidate's technical understanding of programming. At least not as much as you're surveying their passion for it.
Note how the candidate answers this question — the cadence, their tone, what details they choose to include. New hires that have a passion for their work tend to outlast those who just got the job to have a job.
10. Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?
One of the dreaded tech interview questions, but an important one. If they got fired for insubordination or at-work inebriation (and are willing to tell you about it), it's unfortunate, but you need to know.
Candidates often surprise with their candor on this one. An honest, courageous answer here can make or break an interview.
11. Describe the Best Leader You've Ever Had.
You'll want to make a note of the candidate's answer to this interview question. Down the line, should they move forward with the position, you can reference this stated preference when sorting them into a led-leader relationship.
People are like plants. They'll only grow if they have the right care and environment.
12. How Do You Like to Receive Feedback?
Similar to the previous question, asking about a candidate's feedback preferences reveals more about their ability to engage with team members on projects more than any direct questions on teamwork might.
Constructive criticism is part of the job, and most new hires will endure a lot of it on their first projects. Make sure you're bringing on someone who can handle it, and that once they're hired, make sure you're not pelting them with the wrong kind of feedback and then judging their inability to take it well.
13. Do You Work on Any Projects in Your Spare Time?
You're looking for a candidate who lives and breathes tech, not just someone who will clock in, cross each task off their list, and leave.
Asking questions about projects is a way of assessing passion, as well as a chance to learn about technical skills in the development stage that may benefit you in the long run on company projects.
14. What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Working in an Agile Environment?
Agile is currently the most popular Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) method in IT. That means lots of meetings, lots of feedback, and demand for smooth communication on all projects.
But the method is highly malleable and open to change. This is a great tech interview question for a second or third interview. Don't just ask it as a question. Strike up a conversation around Agile to get a sense of the candidate's attitude toward communication and collaboration.
15. What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of Remote Work?
Since 2005, the number of people who telecommute, or work from home, has increased 140%. It's simply a matter of course in the times we live in.
Some projects will allow for remote work, and some projects require on-hand collaboration. Assess the prospective employee's experience with remote work to see if they're ready to take it on as needed.
16. How Would You Manage Work/Life Balance if We Asked You To Work From Home?
Ensure you've got someone on your hands who won't under-deliver or fall apart under the strange strain of remote projects.
No one can be expected to be hyper-productive right hours a day, even while at the office. But remote work can actually be used to your advantage. It cuts costs, and you'll find many actually work better without having to wake up three hours earlier to commute.
17. What's the Biggest Issue Facing the Tech Industry Today?
A nice follow-up to the softball of asking about where they get industry news, this interview question gets at whether they put all that reading and thinking to good use.
Are they a passive information sponge, or does their problem-solving brain come alive when considering tech's existential dilemmas? You want someone who views problems as projects.
18. What Technological Advances Do You Think Will Impact Your Position Most, and Why?
The industry might be robust and lucrative, but its jobs aren't always stable. A group of software engineers making 100k one month might be in the unemployment line the following month with how fast technology develops. No matter their skills.
Quiz the prospective employee's big-picture grasp of industry trends with valuable tech interview questions like these. Someone who can see problems coming — and has workaround solutions in mind — is someone worth bringing on.
19. How Does The Internet Work?
Another case of the simplest tech interview questions being the best. Maybe they can create a blueprint of the company's entire data management system, but can they tell you how Wi-Fi works?
This is the tech version of “knowing where your cow comes from.” Don't bring someone on to handle the high-level stuff who can't explain the basics.
20. What Questions do You Have for Us?
This question is for you, too. It's a great sign when candidates prepare proactive questions to reverse the interview process. It shows they're engaged in their job search, that they're passionate and career-oriented, not just looking for their next paycheck.
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