Many people think of interviews as harrowing ordeals to be sat through, a final hurdle to overcome for the sake of getting that job that you really want. While more established industries may have a code of conduct for you to follow in the interviewing process, the field of technology is relatively young, a virtual (pun intended) no man’s land. Sure, the interviewer may be looking to see if you’re a good candidate for the job, but it is equally important for you to be sure that the company you’re looking to join is a good fit for you, as tech companies vary greatly in their work ethic, culture, and future prospects. So when the interviewer has finished asking the questions, take the opportunity to do a little role-reversal. Here are some questions to consider asking at your next interview for a tech position.
How does your team approach problems?
Do they take a head-on approach or are they more cautious and analytical? Does the team you’ll be joining tackle issues together, and will you be given opportunities to learn and grow from potential hiccups? The most crucial task in any tech-related position is trouble-shooting, and it’s worth getting a feel of how the company approaches problems when they arise.
What does the company do to stay on the cutting edge of Innovation?
Tech is an ever-changing industry. New developments are ever on the horizon, and if you’ve chosen this field, you’ll likely be motivated to stay abreast of the latest innovations. Does the company host hackathons? Do they routinely send employees for conferences and seminars? Does the management encourage ideas from the ground?
How has the position evolved, and how might the responsibilities change moving forward?
It will be helpful to know if you’re stepping into an established position with clearly defined responsibilities, or if you’ll be expected to deal with developments as they happen. Is there a larger goal? Are there plans for you to take on a major project moving forward?
Getting an idea of the history of the position will help you to understand how far the company has come and where it’s headed. It will also show your interviewer that you’re in it for the long haul.
What are the training and upskilling opportunities provided?
Any job expects a degree of initiative from an employer when it comes to keeping current with the field, but if you’re someone who’s looking to push yourself further you might want to ask about the company’s budget for training. Do they regularly send employees on courses? Will they give you opportunities to learn about new software? If you’re not quite familiar with a platform the company is looking to use, will they provide you with the relevant training? When it comes to career development, your future employer’s attitude towards training is as important as your own.
What soft skills would you need to be successful in this role?
You’ve read through the job description, you know you have the qualifications, and you have a good idea of the roles and responsibilities that are required of you. But what is the company looking for exactly? Do they need a leader, someone compassionate and people-oriented who can drive a team? Are they looking for a good team player? Do they need someone who can handle multiple deadlines with ease and efficiency? Are they looking for someone who can hold their own at a conference table? Asking these questions early shows you’re aware that the position is more than simple technicalities, and it may give you the opportunity to assure your interviewer that you’re a good fit.
What is the company working towards at the moment? What are its long-term goals, and how will further technological advancements affect the company?
If (and hopefully when) a job offer is made, you’ll want to know what your prospects are for the future. In the world of tech, things have a tendency to become obsolete very quickly, so don’t be shy to ask the interviewer about who the company’s major clients are, and what exciting new projects they’re working on. Particularly if you’re joining a start-up, you want to be sure that they can offer what you’re looking for, be it an exciting stint or a long-term career.
What do your current employees enjoy the most about working for you?
Perhaps most important of all, you want to be sure that you’ll be joining a company that has a good track record with its current staff. Your interviewer will likely be someone who has a managerial role. If they can answer this question enthusiastically, you can be sure they’ve got an ear to the ground, and that they take employee satisfaction very seriously. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself fielding multiple job offers, your decision may very well come down to how your future company values you as an employee.
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