Don’t Let Hard Tech Interview Questions Throw You Off Your Game
Most tech interview questions are designed to inform the hiring manager or interviewer about your skills, experience, and background. But then there are the questions that seem designed to frustrate, vex, or trip you up. Difficult, head-scratching, or frivolous questions can be the most painful part of an interview for tech job candidates. Even candidates who prepare backward and forward can find themselves thrown off balance and confused by hard, apparently random questions.
Whatever you think of difficult tech interview questions, you don’t have the option of refusing to answer them. As the interviewee, you are in no position to challenge the value or usefulness of an inquiry from a hiring manager. Your goal is to come up with an answer that is responsive, thoughtful, and helpful to your goal of getting a job offer.
Here are four common but difficult tech interview questions and some ideas about how to respond effectively:
What Is Your Biggest Weakness?
This may be the most dreaded of all tech interview questions. You’ve spent a ton of time preparing to discuss how awesome and perfect you are for the position, and now the interviewer asks you to describe the exact opposite.
First of all, don’t get cute. Answering, “my biggest weakness is that I care too much and work too hard,” or a similarly obvious one-liner won’t cut it for most hiring managers – they have heard that same response before and no doubt will again. The interviewer wants to see some self-awareness on your part, and your ability to recognize areas where you have room for improvement is a sign that you can give an honest assessment of yourself. Find some aspect of your skill set that you know you need to improve and discuss any steps you are taking or have taken to address those shortcomings. That shows a commitment to growth and self-improvement, a quality that tech employers see as strengths, not weaknesses.
Why Should We Hire You?
Every part of the job application and interview process focuses on convincing the employer to hire you. Your cover letter, resume, interview answers, and glowing recommendations from your references should make that case. Given all that you’ve provided, the question, “why should we hire you?” may seem irrelevant.
You cannot simply answer this tech interview question by saying, “because of all the stuff I’ve already said and given you.” And you need to provide an answer beyond “I need a job.”
Do so by directly connecting your background and experience to the specific job requirements and your approach and attitude to the company’s philosophy, culture, and values. Discuss how your goals and those of the employer align. Doing so ensures your answer reinforces all the substantive reasons you provided as to why you are the best candidate.
Landed your dream job? Before you accept, read our 5 Essential Types of Questions To Ask Before You Accept Any Job Offer.
What Three Words Best Describe You?
All human beings are complex, multi-faceted, and unique, but unfortunately, those three words don’t make for a good answer to this challenging question. You may feel that summarizing your various qualities into three words means short-changing yourself or leaving out valuable insights and information.
The best way to answer this problematic tech interview question is to ensure the words you choose are relevant to the position and as insightful as they can be under the circumstances.
Where Do You See Yourself Five Years From Now?
Very few tech professionals have a vision of their lives and careers six months from now, much less five years. So before you answer, think about your desired career arc. What advancement and progress do you wish to see in your responsibilities and skills? What goals do you have for both yourself and your employer?
Do your best to describe your desired future, but understand the motivation behind the question. The interviewer wants to see a healthy level of ambition and a desire to continuously grow professionally and personally.
Finally, A Question With An Easy Answer: Who Can Connect You To The Best Tech Companies?
GTN Technical Staffing is, without question, an invaluable resource for IT professionals seeking their next career opportunity. Put our reputation throughout the tech industry for connecting the right talent to the right companies to work for you.