Hiring a new employee for any business is never an easy process and something that should not be taken lightly, and the more niche a firm the harder this process can be.
There is currently a significant skills gap in the IT and tech industry, linked to the rapid growth and the market trying to keep up. With this in mind this week in Tech PR Agency Insights Anthony Sherick, MD of Technojobs, gives his advice for structuring an interview for IT and Technology candidates, with an outline of some of the key questions to ask in order the recruit the best person for the job.
- Every interview starts with a few introductory questions, a typical one being, “Why did you apply for this job and what do you know about the company?” These sort of questions may seem simplistic but they are potentially the most significant. What is their appetite for the job? Do they come across as a team player or a floater? Anyone who hasn’t researched the company and understood what the company offers in terms of products and services is not likely to be dedicated to impressing you and getting the job. I always question why someone has accepted an interview at a company they don’t understand.
- A candidate will be disappointed – or should be if they know their stuff – if you do not question their technical ability. Of course, there can’t be one set question for this stage of interview as it depends on which area within IT you are recruiting for so it’s hard to be too specific. Be prepared with standard questions and answers relevant to their experience and the role. This is the best way to extract IT knowledge and ensure consistent questions amongst many interviewees for comparative purposes.
- It goes without saying that every interview must include questions on the candidate’s experience. One question should be: “Explain the project you are most proud of with particular reference to what you contributed?” Questions should aim to challenge a candidate so do not be afraid to sound assertive, questioning and authorative. Play the devil’s advocate on certain point’s, such as, “Why did you do it this way? “Was that really judged a successful project?” “I don’t really understand why this project would take so long to deliver?” Through these questions, you want to establish how they react to pressure and it is surprising how many candidates ride on the back of the projects where they were mere spectators.
- “Demonstrate your interest and abilities in the technology sector.” This sort of question is an open ended one, and could be narrowed down to a more niche sector such as Java or .net or SAP, according to the job role. Finding out whether the candidate is involved in blogs, websites or contributes to forums around the subject matter will give you a good idea as to whether they have a true interest in the sector. Do they keep up to date with their skillset? (This is hugely important). Do they read the latest sector news? Are they members of any relevant sector organisation?
- Different jobs require different social skills, and most IT candidates will need adequate – if not excellent – communication skills, especially if interacting outside of the development team with Project Managers, Marketing, Senior Management etc. To assess a candidates social skills you could ask about occasions where they have positively influenced others in the work place or even when they may have failed to communicate efficiently followed up by asking how they learnt from this.