Finding the perfect IT employee is not just time-consuming, it can also be expensive. Between recruitment, on-the-job training and the risks that come with picking the wrong person, the cost of hiring a new IT recruit can easily run into the thousands.
With so much at stake, you want your selection process to be as spot-on as possible. To help you in this endeavour, here's a list of key questions to ask when interviewing for IT positions.
1. Why do you want this job?
This simple question can reveal a lot about a person's motivation. Look for answers that demonstrate a genuine interest in your company as well as reasons why they are good a match for the position.
2. How do you solve [this problem]?
Because most IT positions require a high level of problem-solving ability, don't just take a person's word for it. Present IT candidates with typical on-the-job questions and lab exercises that will put their knowledge and skills to the test.
3. What is your troubleshooting methodology?
You want to understand how potential candidates think. Specifically, have them provide an example of how they used their troubleshooting skills to solve a difficult IT problem in the past.
4. What is the biggest IT challenge you have faced?
This question will give you a good sense of where the candidate stands in terms of experience, ability and on-the-job responsibility.
5. How do you handle conflict on the job?
Present the candidate with a hypothetical example and ask how they would resolve it. This question is especially important when interviewing for leadership positions.
6. What automated processes have you developed?
IT work lends itself to processes that can be automated. What tools, programs and automated processes has the candidate developed to address repetitive or error-prone tasks?
7. How do you document your work?
The best IT employees have immaculate documentation skills. There's nothing more frustrating than having to decipher someone else's code (no matter how brilliant) because they didn't take the time to document it properly.
8. What are your professional certifications?
In today's ever-changing technological landscape, it's important for candidates to be current with ongoing vendor training and certifications.
9. Which technical websites and publications do you follow?
In other words, how passionate are they about technology and keeping current on the latest trends?
10. What would you do if you discovered a bug that was your responsibility after a product was released?
Bugs are a fact of life in IT environments. How does the candidate deal with errors in their work – even potentially embarrassing ones?
11. Could you work this weekend?
If the position requires overtime and odd hours, see how the person reacts to this question. Do they look eager and pleasantly surprised? Or conversely, do they seem unhappy at the prospect of giving up their free time?
When interviewing prospective IT candidates, don't be afraid to ask the tough questions. The more questions you can get answered, the more confident you can be that you are selecting the right person for the job.