Management Watch

Blog archive

7 questions IT hiring managers should ask

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” is probably one of the most-asked interview question, whether you are in the private sector or work for the government. But those hiring IT professionals should look to update their interview repertoire with some new questions that better identity the best candidate. Here are seven questions recruiters in both sectors should ask in an interview to help them find the best techie, according to Robert Half Technology’s Salary Guide.

1. What do you know about our agency and why do you want to work here? 
People who are truly interested in the job will take the time to research a potential employer and not just regurgitate easily-available facts. The right person will also know how he or she can make an impact on the organization.

2. I see you know [insert skill]. Please explain how you have used this in your job.
Some candidates exaggerate their skills and expertise in applying for job. Asking interviewees for specific examples of how they used a given claimed ability will help identify the ones who really can do what they claim. 

3. What did you like or dislike most about a specific product or kind of technology?
This can help a recruiter understand better what a candidate knows about a certain technology or product. Does he or she know it well enough to identify its strengths and weaknesses? If so, he or she probably has the relevant expertise.

4. What is the most interesting IT project you have worked on?
Hiring managers want to know if the candidate will match with the job they are trying to fill. The answer to this question will give you a sense of what candidates like and what motivates them.

5. What made you stay at your last job?
Candidates are often asked why they left their job, so they might already have rehearsed answers. But when asked a slightly different – and unexpected -- question, candidates might provide more honest responses.

6. What is your least favorite work environment?
Hiring managers not only want to ensure they get the right candidate with the right skills but that the new recruits would thrive in the new work culture.

7. Tell me about a failure or mistake you made on the job?
Look for a candidate who is willing to admit he or she made a mistake and then learned from it. This could be critical in IT where mistakes are sometimes made in order to solve problems. 


Posted by Camille Tuutti on Oct 28, 2011 at 12:19 PM

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group