“Tell us about yourself.” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “What’s your greatest weakness?”
If you’re looking for a job, you recognize these classic interview questions – and you probably have an answer prepared for every single one. But if you’re looking for a top job in information technology, you’ll also have to field questions specific to the industry and to your work.
Here are five questions to expect in every IT interview and some top tips for answering them:
“Describe a situation in which you were involved with one of the following: troubleshooting procedures, system backup, or failure recovery. What happened and what did you do?”
From the company’s point of view, IT staff exist for the moments when things go wrong. A question about maintenance and help desk-style services is a “must ask” in most hiring managers’ minds.
Sample Answer: Tell a short story about a time you dealt successfully with one of these problems. Focus on summarizing, in a sentence or two, what the problem was, how you fixed it, and what the results were.
“Tell us about a procedure you have implemented to improve network security.”
Data security has become a major concern in recent months. Today, no company is too small to have security on its mind, or to ask candidates how they deal with security issues.
Sample Answer: Start by identifying the security problem you were trying to solve. Then, briefly describe the procedure and your role in implementing it. Be honest about the results: a success is great, but you can also discuss a failure in terms of what you learned and how you improved the procedure to compensate.
“Have you ever been responsible for the budget of a company’s IT systems? Tell us how you handled budget concerns like costs, business plan, and cash flow.”
Many IT staff members focus on tech concerns, where their expertise shines. To stand out from the crowd, however, it pays to practice skills in other areas, and to be prepared to discuss those skills if asked.
Sample Answer: If you have experience handling budgeting, managing, or other tasks, discuss it! If not, talk about how you would handle the problem if it were entrusted to you.
“How would you explain ____ to a non-technically-minded manager or executive?”
The IT field is full of candidates who can handle tech – but candidates who can communicate the important points of their work to non-tech staff and executives are harder to find. As a result, companies tend to prize these candidates highly.
Sample Answer: Describe a time you actually had to “break down” a complex project for a general audience – and talk about how well you succeeded.
“How do you stay up to date on technology issues?”
The IT world changes daily, and most IT professionals love the constant challenge to learn. Companies that understand this pace invariably ask how their IT staff keep up.
Sample Answer: To prepare for this question, list the ways in which you stay up to date in the tech world. List both “formal” methods, like taking classes, and “informal” methods, like tinkering on your own projects. Choose the two or three you feel most passionate about as the focus of your discussion.
At Marquee Staffing, our experienced recruiters help talented IT staff find the jobs they want with companies that offer a great fit for their skills, work style, and career goals. Contact us today to learn more.