Tech positions play vital roles in the company. That is why selecting the best hire out of tens or hundreds of candidates. As a recruiter, your role is just as essential. Hiring someone can positively or negatively affect the company’s performance.
So looking up the best questions to ask in an interview, whether you are the interviewer or the interviewee, is not a sin. It’s a way to prepare for a nerve-wracking interview with a stranger that might be your co-worker in the future and a possible asset of your company or client’s company.
Here are some of the best questions to ask to find the perfect hire:
1) What is your understanding of this role you are applying for?
Your candidate should know and understand the role they are about to take. They should have expectations on what they will do, their responsibilities, and how vital their role is in a company.
Learning their understanding of their role will give you insights into how serious they are in their job and how ready they are to take responsibility. This will also help you correct a wrong understanding or add more information if they lack it.
2) How did you learn to program, and what was the first thing you programmed yourself?
Sometimes, when asking this question, candidates would tell you their stories about what made them pursue their tech careers. It is an excellent way to know more about the candidate. You might also know stories that might impress and amaze you. It is also a way to show your candidate that you are interested in them, that you are not just a recruiter trying to recruit because you are paid, but because you care.
It is also easy to know when a developer is passionate about their job and how they tell you how they started. Passionate developers tend to last longer in the job than developers who aren’t.
3) What are your programming strengths and weaknesses?
Your candidates’ strengths are assets, and, of course, it is something to take note of. But it would be helpful to learn about your candidates’ weaknesses. You’d have an idea of what they can and can’t do.
You can ask a follow-up question like “What programming language are you most comfortable coding with?” or “What are the programming languages you most excel at?”
Take notes because your notes would help a lot when they are hired. Not only can you assist them better to improve their strengths and work on their weaknesses, but you can also plan better on how to take advantage of your candidate’s programming skills.
4) What unique skills do you have related to this position?
Sometimes there are still candidates who are having a hard time showcasing their skills or giving you highlights of what they can do. That’s when you need to make a move. You shouldn’t let the right pick slip because they are having trouble marketing themselves, and you are not digging into them.
Ask all their skills or what skill they think is an advantage to the position they are hiring for. Or maybe something like this “What other skills do you have that are not on our list of skills but are gonna be useful to this position?” You can rephrase and be creative on how to ask this question. It’s up to you.
5) What is the most challenging project you’ve handled and solved as a developer?
Know how your candidates approached a challenging project. You can ask a follow-up question like, “How did you react when you first encountered this challenge?”
Asking these questions is another way of asking, “Can you handle the pressure?”
Every company needs employees who can perform well even when under pressure. This is one of the significant assets you should look for in a new hire.
6) What mistakes have you made, and what did you learn from them?
Are your candidates aware of their mistakes? Do they admit them? Are they sorry, and do they strive to work better?
Making a mistake in programming is normal. You will never find a perfect candidate, just the best ones. We are all humans, and we all make mistakes. What’s important is if we have learned and won’t do it again. Because making the same mistakes repeatedly is not typical and not a healthy habit.
You need to look for a candidate that can admit their mistakes and not blame others. Blaming would cause an awkward team or a toxic workplace. Your new hire should be someone who can take the blame if they make a mistake and then learn from them. Even better is if they look for a lesson in every mistake they make.
7) Do you work best alone or as part of a team?
Most companies would prefer someone who can work with a team. That’s understandable. So this question can be asked after you inform your candidates that you prefer and are looking for someone who can work with a team and coordinate and communicate effectively.
But you should also be aware of whether your hire works best alone or as part of a team. They would be less stressed and would perform better at their best.
8) What do you usually do during your spare time?
Who doesn’t want an employee who goes the extra mile for the company? Work hours aren’t the only indication an employee is going the extra mile. Some are just taking overtime and chilling, and others are doing what they are supposed to be doing during the day. Who doesn’t want an employee who goes the extra mile for the company?
Before asking this question, create a scenario where the candidate finished his tasks earlier than expected. However, he still has to complete the day’s required work hours. Ask what he usually does during his spare time.
Look for habits like:
- Reaching out to his supervisor and asking for more tasks.
- Explore other projects to be familiarized with if they’d be assigned there in the future.
- Help with product testing and look for bugs or to suggest improvements.
- Learn new programming languages used in the company to help whenever needed.
There are more good habits developers should do, but you can start with what’s listed above.
9) Why Did You Leave Your Previous Job?
If you are looking for a permanent employee (not a freelancer), you would want someone who would stay longer in the company. And during your interview with companies, you can somehow learn who would last longer than most. Depending on the answer to this question, you would know why they resigned or were fired (if they were).
In addition, you might want to eliminate potentially toxic candidates.
10) What questions do you have for us?
Of course, the recruiter isn’t the only one asking in an interview. The candidate can also ask questions about what they think they need to know or are curious about.
Depending on their questions, you’d know where their interest lies. Here are some of the potential questions they may ask:
- Salary (A few candidates who are straightforward enough might ask any of these questions)
- How much is your offered salary for this position? (If you didn’t put it on your ad)
- Can I negotiate a higher salary? (If they want a higher offer)
- How do you determine your pay rates and employee salaries?
- Company Culture
- Do you have occasional recreational activities?
- How often can employees take a break, and how long?
- Do we have paid birthday leaves?
- Work hours
- Will I be paid more if I work overtime?
- How many hours am I expected to work in a week?
- Is my time flexible, or do I have to be in and out of the office at a specific time?
They might ask many more questions, and these may not be part of them, but these are an excellent start to prepare for.
You are in control
These tech interview questions are just suggestions. You control what questions you would like to ask a candidate. Often, you may ask questions you didn’t previously prepare or even forget to ask questions you ought to.
Just constantly be reminded of how vital your role is in the hiring process and that your goal is to pick right. And ask questions that will help you pick the right candidate.