The Essential Technical Interview Questions to Ask

November 15, 2022

9 min read

Hiring technical staff is a big decision for any company. But it is especially critical for IT field businesses. 65% of CIOs said there is a deficiency of tech talent, which is one of the main problems in the industry. Technologies are changing rapidly; therefore, in addition to current technical skills, employers must also check candidates for flexibility, learnability, creativity, and capacity to think outside the box, which is a lot to evaluate in an interview. Preparing a list of questions, covering all the critical areas required, is complex and time-consuming. We are going to simplify this task for you in this article. We will review the essential questions to ask in a tech interview, so keep reading to learn more!

Sample questions and answers

Knowing what to ask is crucial, but what is the point if you need help understanding what answers to expect? Here are a few IT technical interview questions and answers to help you out.

Do you use any online resources to help you do your job?

The best technical expert will have a few go-to websites or forums when they need help. These resources show that they are willing to research and troubleshoot before coming to you with a problem.

For instance, if you are interviewing a Java Developer, resources such as Stack Overflow, Github, or even Codementor would be excellent answers. Read our article How to Hire a Java Developer to find other great examples of questions to ask this tech specialist.

What skills and knowledge make you a good technical specialist?

This would be it if you were wondering what questions to ask in a technical interview to test a candidate’s mastery. The answer will give you an overview of the tech skills and knowledge. It can also help you identify any gaps in their skillset.

For instance, a good Middle Google Cloud Engineer should mention the following:

  • experience with various services of Google Cloud Platform (GCP);
  • successfully passed сertifications;
  • Solid understanding of networking principles.

How do you keep your technical skills up-to-date?

It’s common practice for technical interview questions to focus on candidates’ willingness to learn new things and keep their skills up to date. After all, the industry is constantly changing and you must ensure your technical specialist keeps up. What are your interests in this case? It would be best if you were looking for ongoing learning opportunities, such as taking courses or attending tech meetups. Does a candidate read articles? Follow tech blogs? Attend conferences or webinars? Use online resources like Codecademy or edX? To understand how this talk should look if you are hiring a JavaScript Developer, read our article JavaScript Developer: Common Interview Questions.

Why is it important to stay updated on recent technology trends and developments?

The answer will help you understand the candidate’s motivation to keep their skills fresh. Is it simply because they want to do their job well? Or are they interested in staying ahead of the curve and being the go-to person for all things tech?

The correct answer should show that they understand how important it is to keep up to date to offer their clients or customers the best service.

What strengths are most important for a developer [or another relevant tech position]?

Good tech interview questions must include a focus on the candidate’s strengths. After all, you want to know what they can bring to the table and how they can benefit your business. Such questions also allow you to gauge the candidate’s self-awareness and understanding of what being successful in their role takes. Are they able to identify key strengths that are essential for the job?

In this case, you are looking for vital qualities in the specific tech position you are hiring for. The employer must formulate the qualities they are looking for in the tech job opening. But what if you are an in-house recruiter, and that only sometimes works this way? In this case, you can ask your tech lead or CTO about that.

For example, if you need a Middle Android Developer, the tech lead may ask you to pay attention to such qualities as

  • 2+ years of Android development experience;
  • solid understanding of the Android SDK;
  • experience with Java and the Android Studio IDE;
  • the ability to create complex user interfaces.

Examples of technical job interview questions, particularly for Python Developers read in the article How to Hire Expert Python Developers.

Do you feel any impact of technology advances on your job? How will it affect your work in the future?

In this part of the interview, you want to know if the candidate is aware of the upcoming changes in their field. It is one of the most crucial interview questions for technical specialists, as it can help you gauge their long-term commitment to the role. Do they see themselves in the same job five years from now? Or do they hope to move into a different position?

Tell me about projects you’ve worked on in your spare time.

IT job interview questions about personal tech projects are designed to assess a candidate’s skill set and motivation. Do they enjoy working on tech projects in their spare time? Or is it simply a way to make some extra money? By asking about tech projects they’ve worked on outside their day job, you can better understand their genuine passion for technology.

Tell us about the last presentation you gave.

Technical interviews may include questions about public speaking. Especially for senior tech positions, employers want to know if candidates are comfortable presenting their ideas to large groups. This question allows you to assess a candidate’s ability to communicate complex technical information in a way that is easy to understand for non-technical audiences.

What would you hope to accomplish in the first six months after being hired?

Tech interview questions like this are asked to understand a candidate’s long-term goals and motivation. Are they looking to move up within the company? Or are they simply hoping to do their job well and maintain their current position?

How do you handle tight deadlines?

Your research on technical interview questions should always focus on time management. After all, many tech positions require candidates to work on tight deadlines. This question allows you to assess a candidate’s ability to handle pressure. Do they have a system in place for meeting deadlines? Or do they wing it and hope for the best?

What would you do if you saw an error in your coding that no one else had noticed yet?

That is not precisely the type of questions to ask a technical specialist in an interview. It is a more general problem-solving question and is requested in every job interview. It is essential to ask tech specialists such things, because, usually, their work is about solving different types of problems, so tech interview questions should focus on that.

If you could change anything about your technical job, what would it be and why?

This is a way to assess a candidate’s motivation for the role. Are they looking for a challenge? Or are they simply hoping to find an easy job requiring minimal effort?

Why do you want this job?

This one we need to examine more closely. Many conversations are going on about whether it is appropriate to ask this question. Some would say it is a way to determine if the candidate has done their research and is genuinely passionate about the company. We at StaffingPartner are good at finding permanent tech employees and examining their suitability for companies’ cultures. But we avoid this question. “In my opinion, it is permissible if the employer insists on it.” said our Recruitment Team Lead, Kateryna Berkutova. “In employers’ view, it can be a way to see if the candidate has researched the company. But we strongly recommend steering clear of the question and focusing on candidates’ experience and skills.”

Behavioral questions

These are non-technical tech job interview questions. They are designed to assess a candidate’s experience handling specific situations that usually arise in any role. For instance:

  • Tell us about a time when a tight deadline forced you to change your plans.
  • Describe a time when you had to come to terms with a difficult client.
  • Tell us about a time when you had to work on a team.

Operational and situational questions

Operational and situational technical job interview questions are very similar to behavioral ones but focus on the imaginative future, not the past. The critical point is to simulate a situation in the role and see how the candidate would handle it. For instance:

  • What would you do if you received a client’s project already behind schedule?
  • How would you handle a team member not meeting their deadlines?
  • How would you handle a situation where two team members were not getting along?

Conclusion

When it comes to tech interview questions, employers have many options. Although, using all of them is not a guarantee that you will define the most suitable candidate. The best IT interview questions are those that focus on the specific skills and qualities that are essential for the role. Complying with such questions following the vacancy and companies’ culture requires experience and talent. Therefore, entrust it to our specialists if you are not sure you can handle this task. We at StaffingPartner can work on 30+ of your tech vacancies concurrently, and you will get the guarantee of the result: if our candidates do not pass your warranty period, we will replace them for free. Drop us a message if you have unfilled tech positions. Let’s figure out tech interview questions for your company together!

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