8 Jul

4 Great Questions to Ask IT Candidates in an Interview

Posted by John Brandwagt

Information technology can be one of the hardest fields to interview for if you don’t have the right kind of know-how. Not only do you have to ensure that your candidate has technical aptitude and the experience to do the job right, you also have to determine if they’re the best cultural fit for your team.

Asking your run of the mill “Where do you see yourself in five years?” questions aren’t going to get you very far in your search for your new employee—you need to know the right questions specific to context. Here are four of the best questions to ask IT candidates to gain better insight as to whether or not they’re the right fit for the job.

1. Why Do you Want to Work for Our Company?

In every industry, this question should take precedence before all others. While you’re not going to be able to discover their skills and abilities through this question, asking why they want to work for you can give you a much better idea of their motivations and whether or not they’re going to be passionate in their role. If you get a sense that they’re only applying to you for the paycheque, beware. You should get an impression that they’ve at least done a little bit of research on your organization, and ideally they’re a fan of what you do or produce.

2. What Skills Do You Want to Learn or Improve Upon?

If they’ve sent you a resume and cover letter, you’ve already got a pretty good idea as to what skills and qualifications they have. During the interview, it’s time for you to learn what your IT candidates think they need to improve upon and how you can help them get there. If they reply with something about learning how to work on a team better, you can consider this a good sign that they’ve got the right kind of attitude for self-improvement and are looking towards the future. If they say they want to learn a certain coding language that is crucial to the job role, maybe look for a different candidate.

3. How Do You Approach the Use of New Technology?

Most IT candidates are passionate about the industry and want to learn about new tech—but there are the odd few who are just looking to head to where the money is . If your candidate seems excited at the prospect of working with innovative new technology, you can take this as a good indication that they’ll be constantly keeping up their knowledge and improving upon any gaps in their learning experience. You can also get a better sense of how they work during the interview; oftentimes in tech the process can be just as important as the result.

4. What Are You Doing to Keep Your Skills Current?

With the rate of innovation in technology, specialized knowledge can very quickly become out-dated if not kept up with. A lot of IT candidates will simply demonstrate an aptitude for learning new skills, but they’ll also need to show that they’re willing to take new training courses if the need arises.

It’s also important that your candidates are looking beyond school for their technology news; asking questions about their favourite tech blogs, if they read any IT magazines, if they attend events or conferences, and even if they have a mentor in the industry can give you better insight into their habits and how they keep their skills current.

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Topics: IT Interviews

John Brandwagt

John is a Practice Leader at Inteqna. He’s been working in IT Search in Calgary since 1997. He works best with selective job seekers—those who excel at what they do and enjoy their current jobs. Since they don’t have time to look for themselves, he helps them find their dream jobs. From a client perspective, he helps organizations find the talent that will propel their business. John is involved in several of Calgary’s technical user groups and has held board roles in non-profit groups. He is a single dad of four boys who try to beat him at every physical activity from hiking to rugby.

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