In today’s world, a job interview isn’t just about impressing your potential employer. In the tech sector, where the skills shortage means that plenty of options are available to candidates, organisations are having to prove that they can offer a better opportunity than their competitors. As such, an upcoming job interview allows you to decide whether this is the right role for you. Ensuring that you have the right questions to ask your interviewer will help you come to that decision, so it’s important that you’re prepared.
Asking questions will also help you to build a rapport with the interviewer and is particularly useful in a remote job interview, where you’re denied the opportunity to make eye contact and any time lags can make the conversation stilted. If connectivity issues are causing delays, it’s a good idea to leave a short pause after the interviewer has spoken to make sure you’re not talking over them.
Given the transformation that many companies will have undergone in recent years, it’s important to get a sense of where their priorities lie and how technology fits into that. If you’ll be working remotely on a full-time or part-time basis, this is your opportunity to discover what your interviewer expects your experience to be like and whether the culture is right for you.
Here are some questions you could put to your interviewer:
If you find that an organisation’s purpose doesn’t align with your personal values, it’s going to have a negative impact on your experience as an employee. You might also be less motivated, which will have a knock-on effect when you apply to your next role. Make sure that the organisation is doing (or is trying to do) something you like and understand what your part in that is.
Organisations have had to adapt to the new world and it’s likely that tech will be playing a big role. Whether you’re applying at a company with tech at its forefront, or an established organisation that’s required an accelerated digital transformation, it’s important to know what the strategic priorities are. This will not only inform you of whether the organisation is in a strong position, but also where they are in their journey and whether you’ll be part of a long-term plan or a quick solution.
Ensuring that you are agile and prepared for future roles is important in any field but has particular importance in the tech sector. You need to be sure that this organisation will support your learning and provide you with opportunities to upskill – this could be in the form of training on the job, seminars or learning modules. Find out whether they are committed to your personal development and what you can take from the role that will help you in the future.
If you or any of your colleagues will be working remotely, at least on a part-time basis, it might be useful to understand how your manager will be leading a hybrid team. It’s likely that they will have experienced managing (or being part of) a remote team, so you can find out what they’ve learned and how they approach communication, responsibilities and inclusivity.
Just as understanding an organisation’s mission is important when deciding whether to work there or not, you’ll need to know whether you’re a right fit for the culture – and whether it’s right for you. You’ll be able to get a sense of this from the company website, but that won’t tell you what life will be like if you’re working remotely. Ask your interviewer how the culture will be kept alive when you’re not face to face.
You’ll need to know what aspects of the role you’ll need to perform on site, and others where you can get access remotely. However, this isn’t just about the hardware or software. It’s about how you’ll integrate into the company and how you’ll receive any necessary onboarding. If this is your first job in the tech sector, how are you going to reskill? This is also where the above question about culture will help. Will there be opportunities to socialise with your new colleagues? Will there be regular calls or meetings to prevent you from feeling isolated?
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Global Head of Technology at Hays
James Milligan is the Global Head of Technology at Hays, having joined in 2000. In his role, he is responsible for the strategic development of Hays' technology businesses globally.