For an IT company, the search for talent is like going through the nine circles of Hell. The trouble is not about the necessity to be fluent in a high tech environment (or, at least, not mixing up C++ and C#), but more about tuning in to the same wavelength as the candidate. It’s no secret that IT people think in their own way. This unusual way of conducting a job interview is also a must if you want to see if you need this particular person to dive in your code debris.
We’ve prepared a few questions so you can familiarize yourself with your candidate, to see his or her way of thinking. This list does not include any tech questions: these depend on the job offer, the job position, your knowledge and many other factors. So let us go through the basics.
WHAT TO ASK
Do you get bored easily?
A million-dollar question, since there are two absolutely opposite answers, both of which are good in their own ways. It mostly depends on the position this job interview is for. If your business is looking for a guy for a project-based job, the “yes” answer is preferred, since your candidate will get on well with switching duties on the go without losing interest.
If you’re looking for someone with the ability to handle a boring, routine job, the “no” answer is your best bet.
Could you please explain any programming principle so that even a child could understand it?
This question provides a great opportunity to check your candidate’s creativity. It’s purely a creative test, so any programming aspect will do. At the same time this question can be dangerous, since some candidates might be unable to provide an answer due to professional conditioning and inability to speak in simple terms.
At any rate, you’ll find out about the candidate’s flexibility.
Ask a “tough situation” question.
This is straightforward. This way, you are able to assess the flexibility of your candidate. See if the candidate asks relevant questions about the situation, and how many. Follow their logical process and methods of finding a solution, and decide whether or not the newcomer fits into your system.
Do you follow modern IT trends? How do you think they will change workflow for IT employees in the future?
Even if you don’t go further than the Internet browser, it’s important to know if your candidate follows technology advancement and the world around him in general. These questions are simply to check if your guest is comfortable with technological developments.
Of course, your candidate might have been reading news feeds just before coming to the interview, but why don’t we think positively?
What types of activities would you expect and prefer this role to entail?
This is a tough question! It’s a test of whether your candidate is aware of the duties he might be expected to perform in the position he is applying for. It’s a test for you too, so you can see if your expectations are the same as your candidate’s. If those expectations can’t mix – well, sorry, but you might expect to end the interview right here.
If you could make a few changes at your former place of employment, what would they be?
This is a magnificent question that many HR managers tend to ignore at their peril. This one magically solves several issues at the same time.
Firstly, you can follow your candidate’s logic and way of thinking. This is an important point, since all IT jobs are built upon a delicate balance of methods, results and logic that vary from task to task. In other words, it’s an essential trait for an IT specialist. Secondly, you can rate strategic thinking; and thirdly, you will find out how good your candidate is at keeping corporate secrets!
Ask your candidate to provide examples of previously completed projects.
This is kind of basic and essential. After all, you must find out how talented your newbie is.
Ask your candidate to tell you about their hobbies.
Look at this guy (or girl!): young; passionate; skillful. But what is hidden under the shell of professionalism and code wizardry? Ask him or her to tell you about free time, so you can see the personality within.
There is a catch, though: You’re not asking this to make a friendly impression on your candidate but to see if there is a hidden ability to tell other people about a product, or maybe even a passion to present something onstage.
Now you’ll have a good idea of your candidate’s views on life and everything.
WHAT NOT TO ASK
Why did you choose our company? Why must we give you this job?
The problem here is not visible to the civil sector, since it’s a standard question in job interviews. But since we’re here to talk about IT jobs, remember that the bubble of the IT field is huge, and that it doesn’t look as though it’s going to explode anytime soon. If you’ve found a really good candidate for this job, avoid these two questions at all cost – if he or she doesn’t like you, there are competitors on the market who will gladly pick up this talent.
The demand for code wizards is higher than ever, so if you take too long considering options, your candidate will simply go elsewhere.
Try not to give your candidate any cause to suspect your company is selective or picky, especially when it comes to really good talent going to waste. Your candidate will certainly find a job, but will you find another with these qualities?
OK, you’re not Microsoft. (Alright, if you are Microsoft, it’s OK for you to skip this bit.)
Don’t ask questions about mice and Amazonian forests, round bottle caps, light bulbs and all those fun (but useless) things for a job interview. Today, a minority of companies really need to use them, and those are large and innovative. The rest (including you) should consider if it’s worth wasting time on creative questions – they’ll teach you nothing unless you’re a highly skilled psychologist.
Leave it to Microsoft.
The IT madness continues, and it’s not slowing down one bit. Humanity is in the digital age, and there is nothing anybody can do about it. What can you do? Be prepared for this age, as with the growth of task difficulty, so recruitment difficulty will also grow.
And that’s why it’s important to start now before it’s too late.
Image credits: Channel 4 UK, Shutterstock