Most common interview questions for ICT professionals

Whether you’re a recent grad or a seasoned IT professional, interviews can be an unsettling experience.

Whether you’re a recent grad or a seasoned IT professional, interviews can be an unsettling experience.

It’s not just about discussing your qualifications and work experience, interviews help hiring managers determine your potential, your attitude and whether or not you’ll be a cultural fit for the company.

Preparation is key. To help you put your best foot forward and stand out in a sea of potential candidates, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common IT interview questions.

IT questions:

Describe an instance where you made work processes better or more streamlined

Hiring managers want candidates who can see beyond their own job description and realise the effect their workload can have on the wider business. Strategic thinkers are an asset to any organisation so show your interviewer you are one.

Think of a time where you had a positive impact on ways of working within your team. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a project that you led but one where you contributed an idea, suggested a pivot or kicked things up a gear. Demonstrate your value with as much specific detail as possible. Obviously, this will be highly dependent on the specific role you’re interviewing for.

For example, if you’re going for a managerial tech role you may discuss a time where you were involved in setting and delegating tasks. However, instead of saying you divided up work in a way that made the team work more efficiently, say assigning roles according to experience and employee preference meant that the team completed the project a week before deadline.

If you’re going for a more technical role, such as a developer or engineer, speak specifically about how you improved a flawed system for users, be it on a website, app or passion project of your own.

What are your soft skills?

With the shelf life of tech skills shrinking at an ever-increasing rate, your soft skills are becoming more important. As automation and machine learning replace elements of jobs and workflows, candidates should be focusing on the skills which are uniquely human, such as communication and empathy. Your soft skills should complement your tech ones.

What are your technical skills?

Describe any technical skills or qualifications you have, as well as certifications you are interested in pursuing, leading with those listed in the job description.

What technical websites or publications do you follow?

This question is a good opportunity for your potential employer to gauge how tuned in you are to industry developments and get a sense of your interests and passions. Mention publications that you have a genuine interest in and not just ones you think will sound impressive to your interviewer to avoid getting caught out.

Reference specific blogs or recent articles you’ve enjoyed to help build rapport. The type and frequency of your media consumption could even indicate the type of working environments and patterns you’ll excel in.

How do you ensure your tech skills are up-to-date?

IT systems are improving and becoming more efficient all the time. As such, IT workers need to be on top of industry updates and developments which could affect their role or company.

As well as that, employers want to know that they’re hiring someone who is dedicated to continuous learning and not happy to coast on the bare minimum. Even if you’re not currently learning a new skill or taking a course, speak about your willingness to build on your expertise and discuss any side projects or hobbies that might also be relevant.

What potential challenges do you foresee if you were offered this role?

Here, the interviewer wants to see that you’ve done your homework on the company and have a realistic view of what you’ll be taking on in the position. Don’t slate the current processes of the team or features of the product but do highlight areas that could be improved on as you see it.

If you can choose an industry wide issue such as cybersecurity threats or stricter data protection regulations, then make it more company specific all the better.

General HR questions:

In addition to the more IT focused questions, it’s best to also prepare for some general questions that your interviewer is likely to ask. Bear in mind that this interviewer is not just interested in the technical abilities of you as candidate but also how well you will integrate with the wider team ethos.

Why were you interested in a role here?

The hiring manager wants to know that you’re invested in the company and not just in need of a new job. Talk about elements of the product, the company’s journey and the perceived culture that drew you to the position, as well as the specifics of the job.

If you don’t know a lot about the company check out their social media pages, their reviews on Glassdoor and any videos or testimonials they may have on their careers page.

What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Using the information gleaned from the job description and candidate specification, it should be easy to pick out the key strengths the interviewer is looking for. Speaking about our weaknesses can prove a little trickier.

Don’t respond with a weakness that is a thinly veiled strength like working too hard or being a perfectionist, instead pick something that you find a genuine challenge but are making strides to improve.

For example you may say that you’ve struggled with speaking up during meetings or being more assertive with your opinions but through more open discussion with team members and managers you’ve found the process easier.

What’s your salary expectation?

If you have a figure in mind that you’ve researched and you’re happy with then feel free to discuss it during the interview. However, you’re not obliged to reveal your previous salary or what you hope for in your next one.

If you’d rather not answer in the early interview stages, tell the hiring manager you’re open to negotiation and would like to learn more about the position before discussing an exact number.

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