Written by Joanne Sacco

Top Tech Companies Ask These 6 Questions at Interviews and so Should You

It’s interview time and you’re under the pump.
You only have one hour to question each candidate to determine whether they’re the right fit for your company. The questions you ask are all-important. They must help you find the best coder for your cash.
We looked to the giants of the tech world for some of their best interview questions to help you structure your interviews and find the best possible talent for your tech team.

1. “What is the biggest compliment you have received in your current role?” – Facebook

Why it works
This is a much better question than the tired, old ‘What is your greatest strength?’.
Because it helps the candidate pick a real-life example that showcases their abilities. To have a work colleague or manager notice and praise them also means they’ve really outdone themselves. This the type of person you want on your team.

2. “Tell me about a time that you had more to do than you could possibly get done.” – Apple Inc.

Why it works
This one’s a beauty precisely because it gives you real insight into the potential recruit’s core personality and work style. Depending on their answer, you will quickly see how they prioritise, organise and problem-solve, plus how they work under stress. Did they collaborate to get the job done, or did they prefer to go it alone? Which work style do you need for your team?

3. “How would you test a toaster?” – Apple Inc.

Why it works
Answering this question will show you the inner workings of the candidate’s mind.
They’ll have to draw on both their analytical and technical skills to provide an answer. This will help you determine how strategic, knowledgeable and creative they are. It may also assist in understanding whether they prefer to work slowly and methodically or launch straight in and test solutions as they go.

4. “How many times do the hour and minute hands of a clock overlap in a 24-hour period?” – Microsoft

Why it works
First up, the answer they give you doesn’t really matter (it’s 22 just in case you’re interested as the hour and minute hands don’t overlap at 11.55am & pm).
What you’re trying to work out here is how impulsive the person is. Do they just blurt out an answer, or do they take their time to think it through to arrive at logical conclusion? If they get it wrong, how do they react? Do they give you an excuse, or just say, ‘sorry, I made a mistake. Let me have another go?’? These answers will give you an indication of their character when faced with tricky problems that require real brainpower to solve.

5. “What does Intel do that you’re excited about?” – Intel

Why it works
This question is another way of finding out if the candidate has done their due diligence in researching your company. They should be able to clearly – and hopefully, passionately – articulate why they want to work with you.

6. “When at work or on a project, have you had to persuade someone to change their opinion or do something differently?” – IBM

Why it works
This is a variance on a traditional competency question. This tests their communication style, their ability to work in a team and their drive. Pay attention to how they tried to persuade their colleague or manager, and whether (and why) they were successful. You might find you have a master negotiator on your hands which can come in handy in a team environment.
So those are six interview questions from the top tech companies today. Here’s hoping they’ll help you craft yours to secure the right talent for your team. Don’t forget to hire with culture fit in mind too. It’s a great way to ensure you not only entice top candidates to apply, but you retain them once hired as well.
Are you hiring? Find out more about the state of the tech talent landscape with our 2018 hiring snapshot.

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