Each week, I help many IT professionals find their next great career opportunities. It’s a rewarding and fun job, and as I interact with a significant number of candidates and clients, there are certain trends that I see pop up from time to time. One of those trends focuses on communication—specifically, asking questions before your IT position begins.
Ask questions throughout the interview process.
Recently, I met with an experienced IT professional who, sailed through the hiring process, met with the employer CTO, and was ultimately offered the position. At the final stage of the process, this candidate suddenly asked many specific questions about the role and company, which served as a source of frustration for the client, who had gone through a lengthy hiring process and was ready to bring the new employee on board to get started.
Questions and communication at every stage of the hiring process are critical for both job seekers and clients. Not only can waiting to ask questions lengthen the hiring process, I’ve had clients tell me that a candidate was great, except they didn’t ask questions. This “told” the interviewer that the candidate wasn’t actually interested in the position!
Tips for More Effective Questions
These tips can help you open the lines of communication and best position yourself for a great IT career opportunity:
* Ask your recruiter any initial questions up front. As a technical recruiter, I always make sure to give candidates as much information as possible before they meet with a client for an interview. But, if you still have questions about the client, the job, or the process, be sure to ask your recruiter first. We typically have the information you need, or we’ll track down the answers to your questions. Getting general questions out of the way with your recruiter frees you to focus on critical questions to ask the interviewer during the hiring process.
* Be prepared for IT job interviews with several questions. This is the most straightforward tip, but it’s the most important. Don’t try to “wing it” with questions in an interview (although certainly feel free to ask questions if something new or relevant comes up during the interview). Put in your due diligence ahead of time to research the organization and identify any questions that may help you learn more about the position and the organization. These questions can offer a good place to start: “what do you envision for this role,” and “what are the top three goals you want this person to accomplish in his or her first six months?”
* Write down your questions (using a pen and paper). I know the idea of pen and paper can seem pretty archaic nowadays, particularly in IT jobs, but writing down questions for either your recruiter or the employer can help you keep track of critical information. They also show the interviewer that you’re prepared and engaged in the interview process. And when you’re in the heat (some may call it stress) of an interview, it can be easy to forget those important questions you thought of—writing them down ensures you don’t forget the questions you want to ask.
* Keep the lines of communication open. Asking questions during the hiring process are important, but it’s also critical to keep the lines of communication open once you’ve accepted the position. Here at Thompson Technologies, we touch base with our contract IT employees every month to see how things are going, but if a question or concern arises at any time during your tenure, reach out to your recruiter or your boss. Often times, waiting several weeks (or months) to bring up an issue means that it has progressed, sometimes to a point where remediation is a challenge. Questions or concerns should be addressed as soon as possible, and taking a proactive approach to communication ensures you can stress less and spend more time focusing on your IT career.
What other types of questions have you found important during and after the hiring process?