If you want to size up technical professionals you need to ask the right questions. Employ the science of behavioral interviewing by asking these 15 crucial questions. This will help you interview effectively and identify your future superstars. You’ll steer clear of job-hoppers who will deliver scripted answers. And you’ll accurately assess the motivation, drive, and ability to communicate of every candidate.
1. Tell us about an idea you had and shared that improved the business you were working at.
You want to hire a technical professional who is creative, thoughtful, and willing to share their ideas to improve your company. Ask this interview question to see if they’re a more passive, go with the flow kind of person or if they’re actively contributing new ideas and bringing additional value to their position.
2. If you find yourself collaborating with people who aren’t motivated, how do you keep yourself motivated and motivate others?
Hiring a motivated technologist is important but, if they can’t share that motivation with others or they can’t articulate how they find their own motivation, their results are less likely to be consistent. And, if they can say how they keep themselves motivated and motivate others, they’ll be a great asset that accomplishes more every day and helps the rest of your team do the same.
3. Tell me about a time when you identified a problem with an existing process. What steps did you take to improve or solve the problem?
Analytical skills are essential and so is learning about them in an interview. Ask this question to see if they speak up when they see a problem, if they actively solve problems they discover, and if they’re self-driven.
4. If you have a small disagreement with a coworkers, how would you resolve it independently of your supervisor?
True team players and effective communicators will be able to handle small disagreements with coworkers on their own, or at least take a few reasonable steps on their own before turning to their supervisor. Asking this question will assess the candidate’s ability to do this successfully at your company.
5. Describe a time when you recognized that you wouldn’t be able to meet multiple deadlines. What did you do about it?
This interview question is humbling. Sometimes we fail. Even superstar technical professionals get behind and aren’t able to meet multiple deadlines. However, the ability to problem-solve their way out of it and effectively communicate their situation with a supervisor is what separates the mediocre candidates from the superstars.
6. Give an example of a complex technical process/problem you had to describe to someone with limited technical knowledge. What specifically did you do to make sure the information was clear?
If this technical professional is going to have to communicate with clients, customers, or coworkers with limited technical knowledge, this question will help you understand how effective their communication skills are and if they’ll be up to the challenge.
7. Can you tell me about a situation when you had to speak up or be assertive in order to get a point across that was important to you?
To avoid hiring someone who won’t speak up for themselves or communicate issues when they notice them, ask this question in the interview process. A real superstar candidate will have an example at the ready.
8. When you had extra time in a previous position, what did you use it for?
If you’re hiring a superstar technical professional, they’re probably incredibly productive. Sometimes, more productive people have time left over during the day. Asking how they use it will help you identify how productive they are before you hire them.
9. Describe the work environment or culture in which you are the most productive and happy.
You want to hire a great technical professional who fits in well with your company culture and is happy so they’ll stay for the long term, right? So go ahead and ask them to describe what they’re looking for! It will help you get to know them better and see if their ideals align or completely contrast with your company culture.
10. Can you tell me about a time when you went above and beyond expectations to get the job done?
Doing the minimum of what it takes to get the job done is fine but a real superstar technical professional will be able to articulate at least one time when they went above and beyond what was expected of them.
11. Tell me about a project or idea (not necessarily your own) that was implemented or completed successfully primarily because of your efforts.
Sometimes, it can be hard to assess a candidate’s dedication to their work or previous success. Because they’ve been talking about purely collaborative projects. Asking this question will help you get to the root of their efforts and see how they directly improved the company or projects they were working on.
12. Can you share a recent example that best shows your ability to communicate effectively?
Sometimes, it’s easiest to assess communication skills in an interview is by simply asking for an example that shows their ability to communicate effectively. The example they share will be telling, not only of their communication skills but also of what they value most and prioritize.
13. What techniques have you learned to make a job easier or to help you be more effective and productive?
Superstar technical professionals are always learning and improving their performance so they should have an answer at the ready for this question. If they do, you know they’ll consistently improve themselves and add value to your company once they’re a part of your technical team.
14. Do you set professional goals on a regular basis? How do you share these with your coworkers or supervisor?
Superstar candidates don’t just set personal goals, they set and achieve professional goals and share these goals with their coworkers and supervisors. Asking this question will help you identify the true superstars!
15. Describe a time when good listening skills helped you overcome a work-related problem.
At least half of effective communication is the ability to listen well and translate what you hear into a solution for a problem. That’s why this question will help you identify the best of the best communicative technologists.
When you know which questions to ask, you’ll identify your future technical superstars and steer clear of hiring people who are lacking the communication skills or culture fit for your company. Put these 15 questions to good use in your future interviews!
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