As a tech professional, there are plenty of tried and true ways to prepare for an interview. However, hiring managers still have quite a few tricks up their sleeves to ensure they’re getting a well-rounded view of each candidate they meet with. Most commonly, these tactics take shape as more out-of-the-box questions.
“Long gone are the days where it was considered good practice to ask standard, run-of-the-mill questions and expect candidates to respond in an overly-rehearsed manner,” explains Lisa Samson, a Technical Recruiter within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “With a focus on finding candidates who are the right cultural fit for the organization, hiring managers are asking an entirely different set of questions that assess more than just your technical skills.”
To ensure this doesn’t catch you off guard, continue reading for 4 tricky questions that you’ll want to prepare for:
Can you tell me about a recent project you oversaw? What was the end-result?
Employers not only ask this question to see how you could be an asset to the team, but to also assess your ability to understand the wider impact of your work. “Since technology, from basic infrastructure to cloud security, can affect a business in so many ways, hiring managers need to ensure that you can think big picture,” notes Lisa. “You should be able to confidently discuss your efforts and how they benefited the company in the long run.”
When choosing an experience to talk about, Lisa advises her candidates to stick with an example that is relevant to the role they are interviewing for. To give employers a better idea of the value you could bring to the organization, you’ll want to highlight accomplishments that are similar to what will be expected of you should they offer you the position.
What is your ideal role?
When answering this question, you want to make sure your response is tailored to the role you’re interviewing for. “Although it may be tempting to discuss your dream job, your response could raise some major red flags if it has nothing to do with the actual role in question,” warns Lisa. “Instead, focus on the aspects of the opportunity that will allow you to accomplish any relevant and realistic career goals.” For example, if you are an aspiring manager, explain the reasons why you feel this role will help you to get there. Discussing your goals can also help highlight some additional personality traits, such as drive and leadership skills, that employers look out for in tech candidates.
How do you keep your tech skills up-to-date?
With technology evolving faster than ever, employers need tech professionals who can ensure the company can move forward with these advances as well as quickly adapt to changing business needs. To evaluate whether they can entrust candidates with this responsibility, many hiring managers want to know how they make the effort to keep their own skills up-to-date. Whether you do this by participating in online tutorials, obtaining additional certifications, or pursuing freelance or consulting work, employers are looking for examples that highlight your willingness to learn and ability to take initiative.
We are experiencing an issue with [insert relevant software or system]. How would you fix it?
While this may not be the exact question that is asked, many employers pose a problem that they could experience and have prospective hires propose a solution. “The main difference between this question and a technical aptitude test is that the interviewer will primarily focus on your ability to think on your feet and explain the reasoning behind your decision,” says Lisa. “Although your technical skills are certainly important, there might be circumstances where you could be communicating with executives or colleagues in a non-technical role. That being said, how you articulate yourself is key.”