Optimize your Interview Questions to Get Top Tech Talent

by Modis on October 13, 2015


The interview process exists to help you find your perfect hire—to help you spend time with and get to know the candidates who might be an exceptional new addition to your team. You need to make your interview questions count at each stage of your process. Whether on the phone, on Skype or in-person, your interview questions have to help you learn who the person is, what motivates him or her and how he or she would fit into your team. So why are you still asking interview questions like “Who’s your favorite superhero and why?”

Don’t waist precious time asking questions that won’t help you learn more about the person you are interviewing. Here are some of the top questions to ask during different stages of the interview process that will help you speed up your time-to-fill.

Phone Interview: ‘Getting to Know You’ Questions

What was your proudest professional accomplishment, and why?

Look for responses that demonstrate enthusiasm, passion, ownership and initiative. How self-directed was the candidate throughout the process that he or she describes? What excites him or her most about the accomplishment? Look for signs of a person with enthusiasm, who takes pride in his or her work.

What are your weaknesses—for real, and why?

This is a classic question that interviewers ask and many candidates have figured out how to game it by positioning their weaknesses as strengths. That’s why you should specifically request that your interviewees speak authentically. Listen to how they answer this question. Are they confident? Nervous? Can they own their shortcomings and maintain a sense of humor about them? Look for signs of humility, confidence and transparency. Everyone has a weakness, so why not own it?

Name a time that you supported a team member or direct report?

Will your new hire make a great team member and manager? Don’t just take the person’s word for it—ask him or her to walk you through a specific example. Find out what steps this person took to support his or her peers. Does he or she give credit when it’s due? Is this person considered trustworthy? Pay attention to the subtle details in terms of how your candidate is sharing his or her story. Keep your eyes peeled for a person who is truly devoted to his or her team.

Skype Interview: Tougher Questions

Walk me through a conflict that you experienced and how you handled the situation.

For any team, tough situations are inevitable. Customers become unhappy, and even interpersonal conflicts are a real risk. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you’ll need that person to maintain a cool head. When asking this interview question and exploring this topic, look for any red flags that indicate lack of conflict resolution.

Can you share an example of a challenge that you tackled?

This question will shed insight into your candidate’s thought process and also showcase his or her ability to stay calm and react ‘in the moment.’ Great answers to this question will recount a narrative—a framing of the problem, points of friction, and the steps that they took to reach a resolution.

Can you tell me what value you’d bring to my company?

The answer for this question goes far beyond the typical, “I’m self-motivated. I take initiative. I have the ability to work in a team.” What you are looking for is an indicator of your candidate’s influencing abilities and interpersonal skills. Your interviewee needs to be able to communicate ideas across mediums, both email and in-person. Video is a great way to gauge this influencing ability and potential to push ideas through. Is the candidate able to establish a sense of presence and communicate ideas clearly? Look for someone who can connect the small details to the big picture.

In-Person Interview: Time Together Questions

How would you tackle this challenge?

By the time you meet for a face-to-face interview, you will have already conversed multiple times. As a result, you can spend your finite time together studying how you’d fit together as a team. This question allows you to focus on how your candidate solves problems. Do they work better individually or as part of a group? Finding out how they tackle specific challenges says a lot about how they operate.

What are your career aspirations and goals?

As a manager, this is a conversation that you will need to have with your direct report, often — face-to-face. Use this interview question to determine the career goals and aspirations of your candidate. Are they motivated? Do they want to move up in their career? Are they interested in being a team leader? These are all answers that will help you see the candidate’s future.

Tell me what you would change about this role.

It’s important to hire candidates into roles they love. That’s why, during the interview process, you should have an open dialogue about the position for which you’re hiring, as well as the candidate’s own career ambitions. You want to make sure that the candidate feels empowered in his or her role, so this conversation needs to happen in-person. The answers they give are key indicators of tasks they feel confident about and ones they don’t. It’s always good to understand that before bringing someone on board. If they would change something about the role that is a crucial part of success in the role, that position is probably not the right fit for them.

Offer the right salary

At the beginning stages of your interview process, you’re screening. But when you start talking face-to-face, you’re building a rapport. Make sure that your interview questions reflect this early bond. So, what happens now that you’ve found the perfect candidate? You’ll need to make sure your company is standing out among the rest and offering the right salary is crucial. Our 2016 Salary Guide ensure your offers are on point and competitive. Request your free copy today and get the best salary insights our industry has to offer!

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