Main image of article Nine Ways to Rock Your Next Tech Interview

The competition for IT talent gets tougher every day, so hiring managers have to be in top form to land the best candidates. Walking into an interview unprepared, late, or unsure what position you’re hiring for will drive qualified candidates into the arms of your competitors. These nine tips for tech interview preparation will have you rocking your next recruiting effort:

  1. Find brain teasers, puzzles  or programming exercises that will give you an objective measure of your candidates’ programming ability. “That can be a black and white way to evaluate candidates,” says Adriana Ganos, senior technology consultant with Waltham, Ma.-based, recruiters Winter, Wyman.
  2. Align the job description with the real job, so there’s no disconnect between the job template and what the hiring manager needs someone to do, says Matthew Ripaldi, senior vice president at Modis, a Jacksonville, Fl., IT staffing service.
  3. Decide what you must have and what you can live without. Given the shortage of IT talent in today’s market, you have to be open-minded to fill vacancies. Focus on the core of the position and set aside skills you’d like to get, but can live without. Then, list the top three criteria the candidate should posses.
  4. Know what makes your company a good place to work. Top candidates have multiple opportunities, so infuse into your interview questions with information highlighting your organization’s technology, culture and projects: We take off at noon on Fridays during the summer so our company softball team can practice, how’s your batting average?
  5. Know why this position is a great job for this candidate. “This is such a developer’s market that you can’t have the first interaction be about vetting,” Ganos says. “You have be prepared to talk about the opportunity and what differentiates it from other opportunities in the marketplace. We were the Beta site for product X last year, have you ever been through a similar project?
  6. Prepare an ice-breaker comment that shows you’ve done your homework on this candidate: I loved the blog you wrote about...You’re a University of Indiana grad, did you see the Hoosiers game last weekend?
  7. Clear enough time in your calendar so you start interviews promptly, and you have enough time to thoroughly vet your candidates. “When a candidate has prepared and they walk into an interview where the hiring manager is late, behind and unprepared, or worse yet, they’re not really sure what position the candidate is being interviewed for, that’s a big turnoff for the candidate,” Ripaldi says.
  8. Make a list of the drawbacks inherent in the position. Every candidate is going to have a concern or two and maybe even a worry big enough to prevent them from accepting the position. Anticipate those issues and be ready to overcome the objections. Get the hesitations and concerns out on the table to talk about by asking: Is there anything about this role that you’re nervous about?
  9. Have your answers ready for the closing questions candidates are sure to ask like: When are you looking to make a decision? Because if you follow these tips, the candidate is surely going to want to work for you.