IT interview questions

7 IT Interview Questions You’ll Want Answered Before a Hire

In Recruiting Tips by kyleroots

When you’re hiring new IT staff, you want to make sure that you make the right decision. The wrong hire could cost your company a massive amount of money — roughly a third of the hire's salaryM.

You really can’t afford to make mistakes when hiring, which is why it’s important to ask the right IT interview questions when you interview candidates.

The interview is really the only chance you have to meet with candidates and get a sense as to whether they’re a good fit for your company.

You have to evaluate their personality, skills, experience, and their willingness to grow and be challenged in a short period of time.

Find out the top questions you can ask your IT job candidates by reading below. Discover how you can interview your candidates and hire the right person for the job — the first time.

IT interview questions

The Top IT Interview Questions

When you’re interviewing a candidate for an IT position, you can ask the tried and true questions such as, “What can you tell me about yourself?”

Some of those basic questions can give you a sense of the personality of the candidate, but they don’t tell you everything about their skills. That is crucial information in the hiring process.

These are the top IT interview questions that will help you discover a candidate’s skill set, personality, and drive.

1. How Did You Learn About This Position?

The IT field is a very broad field, and every professional has their own set of resources that they go to for problem-solving. For some professionals, they use sites like GitHub or StackExchange. Others will turn to LinkedIn to connect with other IT professionals, or they might use their personal networks.

Asking this question will give you an idea of how connected the candidate is in the IT world. For example, if there’s a tech challenge that they can’t solve on their own, would they connect with other IT communities online to try to find the answer?

One more thing you’ll get from this answer is an insight into your IT recruiting process. You’ll understand how professionals are finding out about your company. You can see if you need to adjust your recruiting strategies accordingly.

2. How Do You Stay Up-To-Date on Technology?

If there’s one certainty in technology, it’s change.

Technology will evolve and you want to make sure that the person you hire will be aware of these changes.

Your company may already offer continuing education opportunities for employees to further their skills. The person that you hire should have a system in place to stay up-to-date, whether that’s participating in online groups or subscribing to industry magazines.

You can follow that question up with another question, such as, “What do you see are the leading IT trends and how will that impact your work?”

3. Have Them Explain a Highly-Technical Concept in Layman’s Terms

The person that you’re about to hire will have some responsibility to interact with many different stakeholders at your organization.

They’ll need to explain complex and technical concepts that people across departments will be able to understand, whether they are technical or not.

You want to make sure that the person you hire has the communication skills to break down these concepts so that anyone can understand.

4. Why Do You Want to Work Here?

You want to be able to separate those who are merely looking for another job and those who truly want to be at your organization.

Those who really want to be at your organization will have done their homework and researched what your company is about.

You want to hire someone who understands the organization and believes in the mission and values of the company. How a person answers this question will clue you in on which category they fall under.

5. Can You Tell Me About a Project That Went Wrong? How Did You Handle It?

Great employees and leaders are self-aware. When something goes wrong, and it will at some point, you want to make sure that you have someone on your team who can assess why and how it can be prevented again.

In this question, you’ll get a sense of how the person handles adversity. You’ll want to know if they’re quick to blame others or whether they take responsibility for the incident.

6. How Do You Troubleshoot Issues?

When you’re recruiting a candidate, they should have a process to troubleshoot IT issues.

This will give you insight into their thought process, and how they may communicate the resolution with co-workers or customers.

7. How Would You Define a Good Project Leader or Manager?

You may not be hiring for a management position, but you know good leaders are hard to find. This question will help you discover job candidates that may have or at least understand the characteristics of good leaders.

For those not in a management role in the IT department, they still have to be positive, organized, and work within a team environment.

Tips for a Great Interview

When you’re conducting an interview, it’s important to set the right tone. You want the candidate to get an understanding of your leadership style, whether that’s direct or slightly more casual.

You also want to make the candidate feel comfortable in the interview. The more they feel at ease, the more they will open up and give you honest answers. These tips will help you conduct a winning interview.

1. Take a Team Approach

Hiring for an IT position isn’t something that you want to do on your own.

Instead, take a team approach to your recruiting and hiring practices. You may have a couple of colleagues in the room with you while you interview the candidates.

Another approach is to have a few people conduct individual interviews with the candidates. This will take slightly longer, but it will give you and your colleagues an opportunity to ask different questions and form an opinion about each interviewee.

If your team can agree that there’s one candidate that really stood out from everyone else, then that’s a sign that they performed well in the interview and should move on in the hiring process.

2. Be Conversational

It’s easy to look at your list of questions and fire them off in rapid succession. But you want the interview to feel more like an open conversation.

Your body language will also give a lot away during the interview. You want to have your arms uncrossed and smile.

3. Give Candidates the Opportunity to Ask Questions

You want to have an employee that’s engaged in what their work is. Employees that are more engaged are more loyal to your company and they’re more productive.

You want to be able to tell if an employee is engaged right away by giving them the space to ask questions about the company. They should have conducted some research about the organization before the interview.

4. Ask Questions That Relate to the Job

There is a wide range of IT jobs. You could be hiring a network security expert, an app developer, or an IT manager.

Each IT role has its own responsibilities. For example, a software developer or an app developer needs to be well-versed in specific programming languages. You want to be able to ascertain that the person you’re interviewing has those skills.

Telecom recruiting takes another set of questions that you can use to ensure that the candidate has the required skills to be successful.

5. Take Great Notes

You’re going to be interviewing a number of candidates, and it can be easy to confuse them. You’ll want to keep detailed notes of the interview. Document everything from your first impression, to notes about the candidates’ answers, to interview questions.

That will make your job easier to evaluate candidates after the first round of interviews and invite them to the next stage of the hiring process.

6. Be a Great Listener

Oftentimes, when you’re in a conversation with someone, you’re already thinking about the next question to ask a candidate.

Make sure that you’re listening to the answers. That may open the door to follow-up questions for the job candidate.

Hire the Right IT Staff the First Time

Hiring IT staff can be a big challenge.

The need for IT jobs is expected to grow substantially over the next several years. You want to make sure that you hire the right candidate for the position.

Not doing so could cost your organization thousands of dollars in advertising and recruitment costs.

The best way to ensure that you hire right the first time is to ask the right IT interview questions. When you get the questions right, you’ll get a sense of a person’s skills, personality, and fit within your organization.

If you’re ready to start the hiring process for your next IT pro, contact us today by filling out the form below.