Not All Questions To Ask During Tech Interviews Should Be Vanilla
If you are an IT professional, you no doubt know there are plenty of questions to ask during tech interviews. These questions are typically uncontroversial, intended to show the interviewer that you’ve done your research about the position and company and that you are intellectually curious and interested in the position you are interviewing for.
But not all questions to ask during tech interviews need to be so vanilla. Sometimes, going out on a limb with your inquiries can yield insights into the culture, people and values of the corporation you are potentially going to join that more conservative questions simply cannot produce. In addition, such questions can give the interviewer or hiring manager a better idea of how you think and what they can expect from you should you get hired. And while not every interviewer will respond in a positive way to a ballsy or hard-hitting interview question, it may be worth taking that risk during a time when top tech professionals are in high demand.
But there is a caveat here. An interview question should not be ballsy just for the sake of getting a reaction. Like all questions to ask during tech interviews, a riskier query should focus on eliciting relevant, informative, and useful information that you can use as you evaluate a job opening or a company’s culture.
So, if you want some ballsy yet purposeful questions to ask during tech interviews, here are four to consider:
What qualities would make someone a bad fit for this position?
This question might seem like the negative version of “what qualities are you looking for in the position?”. But in reality, postings for open positions in the IT industry already contain long lists of the specific skills, experience, and qualities that the company wants to see in a candidate. On the other hand, knowing what qualities the company does not want in a candidate can be extremely enlightening. If the interviewer responds by describing a person with qualities you know you possess, it is a pretty clear sign that you may want to look elsewhere for your next opportunity.
However, if only a couple of “bad fit” qualities apply to you, you can seize the opportunity to demonstrate your ability and desire to improve yourself and address any shortcomings. Generally, hiring managers like candidates who are honest, introspective, and committed to continuous self-improvement.
The interviewer’s response to this question in a tech interview may also provide insight into what it would be like to work for them. If their answer is vague and dismissive or indicates that they make snap judgments or unjustified decisions regarding their employees’ performance, they are likely not someone you want in charge of the next phase of your tech career.
Realistically, how many hours do you expect the employee in this role to work each week?
All tech employers want to see commitment and a willingness to work hard in the IT professionals they hire. While you don’t want to leave the impression that you will only work the bare minimum, or will not put in long hours when necessary, you also likely do not want to commit to a job that will consume most of your waking hours, especially when you have other responsibilities or interests that you need to or want to continue engaging in outside of the typical working hours. Asking what the employer’s expectations are while also indicating your dedication to the role can help you determine whether the job is a good fit for your desired lifestyle.
What structures are in place for employee performance reviews, and how often are employees eligible for salary increases?
Yes, this is a two-part question to ask during a tech interview. Many IT candidates make the mistake of not addressing salary and compensation matters during the hiring process. Money may not be everything, but in the highly competitive tech employment market, it is definitely a major consideration for most candidates.
By coupling questions about salary with those about employee performance reviews, you can show the hiring manager that you believe in your ability to reach expectations and expect to be compensated for your efforts. If you are an attractive candidate, however, the interviewer may respond to this question in a way that makes any forthcoming offer equally attractive. This includes discussing raises, performance bonuses, and other aspects of compensation.
What professional education or development programs are available to employees?
Far from sounding like you want a free educational ride, asking about how a company can help you gain skills and advance in your career shows that you wish to continuously improve and add value to your employer. Most employers in the tech industry want their employees to move forward in their careers and will provide classes, training, and other resources to do just that.
Your interest in the availability of such programs will be viewed as a positive, not a negative.
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