You applied to your dream job and got called back — nice! Now the tough part: the interview.
After you detail your skills, experience and goals, the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them. This is your chance to vet if the company is a good fit for you, while also showing off your knowledge about the organization and the role. Asking a good question here can provide valuable insight into the workplace culture you’ll be joining and responsibilities you’ll be taking on, as well as showcase your thought process and priorities. It’s one of the best ways to make a good impression and influence their decision in your favor.
So, what should you ask?
For the month of November, Technical.ly’s reporting explored the theme of How to Get a Tech Job for our editorial calendar. For some additional perspectives, we asked our Technical.ly Talent companies the following question:
What question could a candidate ask you to stand out in an interview (and how would you answer it)?
Here are some of their replies, and if you like what you see, follow the links to companies’ Culture Pages to learn more and explore open roles.
Bobby Borys, chief information officer at the business services firm based in Mount Vernon, Baltimore, provided the following insight:
“’What is your organization’s greatest opportunity?’
I have the expectation that anyone who joins our team will challenge the status quo. We are continuously seeking opportunities to be more efficient and improve the experience of our customers.”
“‘What non-technical skills does Axios value, and what would a successful employee look like that embodies these skills?
This shows that engineers are looking beyond just the technical and hopefully value soft skills and collaboration across teams as well. I usually mention empathy, curiosity, communication, collaboration and ability to learn.”
“Do you have anyone in your organization that was similar to where I am now when they started? What has their growth pattern been like during their tenure?
It’s tough to provide a canned answer, but Pinnacle 21 invests in employee growth and learning by supporting you with training courses, mentorship, and conference attendance. Also, our product roadmap assumes capabilities we haven’t yet mastered, so you’ll have no shortage of challenging projects and infrastructure to deepen your tech stack. As we grow, we’ll spend more time cross-training each other, so expect to teach others as part of your own learning path!”
“Based on the responsibilities of this role, how can I add value to the organization within the first six to 12 months?
Taking into consideration the level of experience required and the responsibilities of a specific role, you would apply your knowledge, skillset and previous work-related experience to identifying opportunities to positively impact areas and processes that add value to the organization.”
“When candidates ask questions, it’s really an indicator about what’s important to them in their next step in their career. Ultimately, the questions that stand out are questions that show alignment with QuotaPath and what we do here. An example of a question a candidate that would show this, is something like: ‘Something that is really important to me is a positive work environment and somewhere people feel physiologically safe to disagree. Can you speak to the work environment at QuotaPath?’
Although my answer to this question varies every time, I always speak to our values. Our company name reflects the idea that reaching your goals is all about the journey rather than the destination. As a team, we have a zest for life and a knack for solving problems. Our team is filled with top performers who lead with empathy, honesty and curiosity. In return, you’ll join a data-driven startup environment built on trust and inclusivity that celebrates success.”
“A great question we got recently from a candidate was around our company values, which we have integrated tightly into our interview process; the question itself was ‘How would you say the company lives its values?’
Our reply included a few highlights around two values in particular. The first was always learning: attending events like ElixirConf, hosting the Elixir Wizards podcast and conference, and holding monthly internal professional development days. The second value we highlighted was community engagement, including programs like our developer apprenticeship, the Baltimore Tracks summer internship program, sponsoring meetups, and supporting open-source development.”
“We appreciate when a candidate asks a deeper dive question about our culture or something that shows they have not only researched us but are excited to hear how we live our mission within our company. We want team members who want to work with us — and questions like this can really help a candidate stand out. (Bonus tip: Our Culture Page on Technical.ly is a great place to research and learn more about us!)”
Morgan Lawrence, program manager at URBN Technology, gave the following response:
“I had a candidate ask a compelling question recently: ‘How well do my manager’s goals align with IT leadership’s goals?’
We had just discussed the goals for the specific role they were interviewing for, as well as the goals for the team they would be joining, but the candidate took it a step further with their question. A question like this demonstrates the candidate is thinking strategically and it shows they have an awareness of how the alignment at a leadership and executive level (or lack thereof) can have a direct impact on a team’s ability to be successful. I’m fortunate enough to answer that there are excellent synergies with IT management and leadership at URBN. In my experience, the collaboration we have makes it easier to get things done and to move quickly so we can stay competitive.”
Ready to interview? Check out all the Technical.ly Talent companies here, and one of them may hold the answer to the question “What’s next in your career?”
P.S. If you’re curious about Technical.ly Talent for your own org, find more info here and connect with us.