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 for more rural areas, the way we work has changed dramatically. As a result, the remote interview has become a part of everyday corporate hiring practices, opening hiring managers to larger talent pools that are not constrained by geographic location.
When companies want to scale, one challenge that may seem daunting is sifting through resumes and applications to find truly qualified IT candidates. Effective interviewing can be part of the solution, but to do this you need to ask candidates the right questions about their hard and soft skills. For IT candidates, the interview is a valuable opportunity to showcase their technical prowess and how well they fit into the company culture.
4 interview questions for IT candidates
Here are 4 questions interviewers should ask and candidates should be prepared to answer in an IT role interview.
1. What relevant skills do you have for this position?
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s often overlooked as hiring managers may look to candidates’ resumes to learn more about their skills. But by asking candidates simple questions about their skills, recruiters can quickly find out if the candidate really is qualified for the job.
[ Also read 7 ‘stay interview’ questions to gauge employee satisfaction. ]
Likewise, candidates should not assume that recruiters have their resumes memorized in advance, and they should be willing—whether in person or via video conference—to discuss their qualifications in order to perform sufficiently well for the job. By detailing skills in an interview, candidates help hiring managers understand the full scope of their experience, which goes beyond what is listed on their resumes.
2. What programming languages do you know?
Again, this might seem like another obvious question, but IT candidates should be prepared to discuss their programming experience. As our way of working has become more digital over the past two years, candidates with a range of programming experience are highly sought after.
[ Related read Software development trends: What’s flourishing and what’s fading ]
Candidates can use this question to go beyond demonstrating their mastery of the programming language and present how they can use these skills to contribute to innovation. Technical questions provide candidates with an opportunity to provide concrete evidence that they are qualified for these roles.
3. Which working environment do you prefer?
To properly assess candidates, hiring managers need to ask technical and competency-based questions. However, with much of today’s focus on workplace turnover, savvy hiring managers are also asking candidates about their personal work preferences.
With today’s emphasis on workplace turnover, savvy hiring managers also ask candidates about their personal work preferences.
More than ever, companies are trying to meet the needs of candidates to avoid employee turnover. From the start, make sure both hiring managers and candidates are comfortable with the proposed work environment—and even the manager’s leadership style—to avoid surprises once the candidate accepts an offer.
[ Read next Hybrid work: What’s changed – and what hasn’t ]
Whether managers are taking a more hands-on approach or allowing more autonomy for their direct reports, it is in the best interests of both parties to recognize this during the interview process. Additionally, some candidates thrive in an office, while others hope for a fully remote position or even a hybrid option. Discussing and defining preferences and work environments helps clarify candidates’ expectations of their roles. This also benefits HR managers, potential employees and companies, who can avoid high fluctuation rates through transparency in the recruitment phase.
4. What achievement 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 organization. Of course, pride can include previous work projects, but some candidates may also cite voluntary contributions, family accomplishments, or other accomplishments.
Overall, candidates should always be willing 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 mistakes along the way.
Finally, when interviewing for a new job, candidates should be open with hiring managers about the factors that motivate them and help them succeed. While some employees are motivated by career growth, others simply want to know that they are valued.
Find the balance
The interview process – arguably not easy for hiring managers or candidates – provides an opportunity for clear, open communication that can define the future relationship for both parties. Candidates have the opportunity to evaluate potential employers, as well as the opposite.
With interviews that examine candidates’ technical, problem-solving, and communication skills, hiring managers can better assess their suitability for the company. Similarly, asking questions about the work environment or leadership style allows candidates to 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. ]