Interviewing isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to technical positions. Interviewers want to know more about you beyond your technical abilities. While questions about your IT skills are inevitable, there are five more types of questions every IT candidate needs to be prepared to answer. Whether you’re applying at a company that works with VoIP phones or one that deals with an e-Commerce site, your skills, thought processes, and fit with the company are at the forefront of the interviewer’s mind.
1. How did you find out about the job and what about the position interested you?
Knowing how you find the job posting, whether it was through a job board, their direct site or a referral could play a role in their decision-making process. Some companies will favor people who found the position directly (to the company’s site direct from typing it in or from Googling the company name) over those who found it on a job board as it could indicate your willingness to work for their specific company versus any company. Don’t talk about the great opportunity or how you plan to learn, though those great points. Instead, discuss how you see yourself fitting into this organization and this position, specifically. Specifics are key here.
2. What is the biggest IT challenge you have faced and how did you handle it?
Here, the interviewer is trying to see how you solve problems in a real life situation and the steps you take to resolve situations. If you made mistakes, be honest. Everyone faces a challenge at one point or another. Explain what you learned from the experience and how the new knowledge has helped you perform better moving forward. Your response to the situation and this question should be reasoned out with data, not emotions.
3. Given this problem (based upon job requirements), what solution would you provide and why?
While this may not be the exact question you’re asked, often times recruiters and HR managers who are interviewing for an IT position want to see how you perform under pressure. They want to understand your thought process when it comes to decision-making and problem-solving as well as gain more insight into your technical skills that directly relate to the position. Respond exactly as you would if the problem were right in front of you, noting where you excel and where you may need team collaboration with another member of the tech team.
4. Tell me about a time you knew you were right, but still had to follow directions or guidelines.
In life, it’s important to be able to both lead and follow. The workplace is no different. Often times, new IT candidates don’t realize the number of people they will need to work with at a company. This question is asked because the interviewer wants to see how well you work with colleagues, clients and managers. Were you able to address the situation at the appropriate time - whether it’s over the phone, in a meeting or face-to-face - and did you what needed to be done while staying positive and working with others?
5. What questions do you have for me?
Interviewers shouldn’t be doing the majority of the talking–an interview is a conversation. When the interviewer gives you the opportunity to ask a question, be prepared with three to four questions to ask. One or two may have already been covered, so have a few extra handy. Ask a question about the business that ties back to something you came across on their website or in the job posting, the company culture, or their personal experience at the company. Not only do interviews give them a chance to learn more about you, you have the chance to learn more about them.
When applying for a position as a part of an IT team, your technical skills will be talked about. However, they aren’t the only thing that matters. Your ability to communicate well, work with others and solve problems are important. While an interview may not incorporate all these questions exactly, chances are you could be asked something similar. Be prepared with stories from your experiences and honest answers that indicate your spot as the best candidate.