While some chief information officers may feel under the gun when it comes to filling any vacant positions there may be in their departments, the bulk of the stress surrounding employment often lies with job seekers. With so many people looking for work, landing an interview can even be a feat for applicants. Bearing this in mind, any IT candidates who manage to get a little face time with potential employers should be properly prepared so that they can ace their interview and better their chances of getting a job.
Information technology job interviews have earned themselves quite the reputation among job seekers. With word getting out about Microsoft’s and Apple’s unconventional questions, such as “how would you design an ATM for children?”, a number of other firms have followed suit and now present candidates with puzzling scenarios for applicants to talk their way through. This means that any IT professionals entering interviews may be subject to questions that come out of left field and throw them completely for a loop.
Bye-bye soft ball questions
Long gone are the days when interviewees could sit down in the hot seat and spew off answers to generic questions. Sure, IT professionals may still expect to hear their fair shares of “describe your strengths” or “explain a major life obstacle and how you overcame it.” However, in the ever-advancing world of technology, employers want to know that prospective staff members are able to think on their feet and work through high-stress situations.
For this reason, job seekers hoping to score a position in this demanding field have to be ready to handle the unexpected. While there is no way to prepare answers to the slew of possible questions that could be thrown their way, going over some practice questions could help these applicants start to feel comfortable with spontaneous role-playing situations interviewers may present them with.
In the past, interviewers used to ask candidates about the qualities job seekers possessed and why these traits would enable them to be successful leaders. Now, however, they are no longer prompting applicants to tell them this, but rather to show them. By placing interviewees in hypothetical situations where they are in positions of power, IT employers are able to witness just how equipped professionals may be when it comes to taking control and making decisions.
Get ready for role playing
Role playing exercises sound somewhat painless. What kinds of questions could prospects expect exactly?
“So you’re a Yankees fan. If you were their owner, how would you make the team better,” said Bonnie Zaben, a recruiting expert, according to Mashable.
“I ask the applicant about their hobbies, and then we do role-play,” Zaben continued. “I want to see how they think quickly and compose coherent presentations. Are they recommending specific player changes? Can they quote stats to back up a position? Can they present a cogent argument in five minutes without dead air? You’d be surprised.”
These theoretical situations are not always as simple as IT professionals sharing their opinions on how to improve their favorite sports teams. There are some questions posed by major tech companies that are so strange and out of the box that candidates can be caught off guard and even jarred.
Look out for offbeat inquiries
Forbes cited an example made infamous by Apple interviews: “If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?” As even the most innovative IT applicants out there can imagine, being posed with such an offbeat question can leave them in full-blown panic mode, but it’s in their best interest to keep their cool.
“Employers are looking to understand how candidates think, how they process and approach difficult brainteaser questions and how candidates think on their feet when in a stressful situation,” said Samantha Zupan, a Glassdoor spokesperson, according to Forbes.
“For tough or oddball interview questions, it’s not always about getting the right answers, it’s about how you tackle a challenging problem,” Zupan explained. “When faced with tough questions like these, take a deep breath, slow down, and then sound out your thinking process aloud and walk the interviewer through how you get to an answer.”
If IT job seekers find themselves in similar scenarios, then they can also follow InformationWeek’s advice by turning the tables against interviewers with some wit. Candidates can show their quick thinking and innovative spirit by beating potential employers at their own game, giving clever yet polite responses.