18 Key IT Interview Questions to Ask Candidates

Woman in white sleeved shirt in an IT room running a test on a computer

Are you in the process of hiring for an Information Technology (IT) role? If so, you’ll want to make sure to ask the right interview questions to help you get a sense of a candidate’s skills, experience, leadership, personality, and more. This blog post lists 18 IT interview questions that will help you determine if a candidate is the right fit for your company.

These questions will cover various topics, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Project management
  • Communication skills
  • Troubleshooting
  • General personality
  • Operating systems

By asking more than just technical questions, you’ll get a better idea of a candidate’s hard skills and soft skills, both of which are necessary for an IT job. We’ll also provide sample answers for candidates applying for roles in tech. Let’s get into it.

Related: 7 Tips for Conducting Effective IT Interviews

1. How do you keep your tech skills up to date?

The intent behind asking this IT interview question is to find out if the candidate is proactive about keeping their skills, refining their skills, and learning new ones. With technology constantly changing, IT professionals need to keep their skills up to date.

Sample answer: “I keep my technical concepts and skills up to date by reading industry news, taking online courses, and attending conferences.”

2. What was one of your most challenging projects?

A behavioral interview question like this will give you insight into how the candidate deals with difficult projects. It’s important to know if they’re able to stay calm under pressure and think critically to solve problems.

Sample answer: “One of the most challenging projects I worked on was when I had to migrate a site from an outdated content management system to a new one. There were a lot of moving parts, and it wasn’t easy to keep track of everything. But, in the end, I was able to migrate the website with minimal downtime successfully.”

3. What is your experience with Linux?

This question will help you determine if the candidate has experience working with Linux systems. If knowledge of Linux systems isn’t necessary for the IT role you’re hiring, ask about a relevant program or tool that the candidate should know.

Sample answer: “I have experience with Linux systems, and I’m familiar with the basics of the command line. Though I will need some more training on it before I can be considered an expert.”

4. What challenges or problems have you faced while working with technology?

The answer to this tech interview question will give you a better idea of what kind of challenges the candidate has faced while working with whatever technologies the role requires. This will help you see how the candidate handled an inevitable problem and if they’re willing to be open with those experiences.

Sample answer: “One challenge that I faced while working with technology was when our company’s web server crashed. I had to work quickly to get it back up and running. I also had to figure out what caused the crash so that we could prevent it from happening again.”

5. Which of your skills do you feel are best suited for this IT role?

Are there any particular tasks or responsibilities in which they feel their strengths lie? This can give you some level of insight into their thought process and how they view what their role looks like within the company. This info will assist you in determining what the candidate considers the essential talents for their job.

Sample answer: “Some of my skills I think will shine most in the role are customer service, strong leadership skills, troubleshooting, and technical support. I feel that these skills are essential because they allow me to provide a high level of service to our customers and coworkers.”

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6. How do you organize your time management to ensure you hit deadlines?

Meeting deadlines and time management are important skills in just about every job, and that includes IT. While this is a less technical question, you need to gain a sense of how a candidate manages their time.

Sample answer: “I usually try to estimate how long a task will take me, and then I add a little extra time for unforeseen issues. I also make sure that I start working on tasks early so that I have plenty of time to finish them. If I feel tasks need more time than is given, I try to let managers/bosses know far enough in advance so it doesn’t come up close to a deadline.”

7. What is your experience with managing whole projects?

Time management is important across all jobs, and so is project management. This will give you insights to their leadership skills and how they are at helping oversee projects–not just being part of a team that completes one.

Sample answer: “I have experience managing projects as large as nine months long and teams as big as 15 people. I’ve used project management tools like Jira and Asana to help facilitate the completion of the projects. I’m also experienced in leading teams of developers and working with stakeholders to ensure that the project is on track.”

8. What do you think makes a project successful?

This is a leadership question. How do they view success? Does success only come in the form of completion or profits? What kind of insights does the candidate look for once a project is delivered?

Sample answer: “I think that a successful project is completed on time, within budget, and meets the expectations of the stakeholders. You also need to see what kind of impact the project has once it’s completed and implemented. More importantly, you need to assess what kind of insights you can get from the process of completing the project.”

9. What is your experience with system security?

System security is a critical part of any IT role. By asking this question, you can get a rough idea of the candidate’s experience with system security. This will help you determine if they have the skills necessary for the role.

Sample answer: “I’m familiar with tools like firewalls and intrusion detection systems, and I try to keep up to date with new security systems and how they differ from current systems in place.

10. What is your experience with troubleshooting?

Troubleshooting is an important IT skill. Not only is this ability a requirement in most IT roles, it gives you insight to how the candidate can problem solve and interact with customers, employees, and stakeholders.

Sample answer: “I have experience troubleshooting hardware and software using tools like remote desktop and event viewer. Troubleshooting gave me a lot of hand-on experience with customers and employees, and my interpersonal conversation skills have improved because of it.”

11. How you see your IT role contributing to the bigger picture of success in our business?

The answer to this interview question can help you understand the candidate’s thought process regarding how their IT role will look within the company. What does success look like for their role, and how does that success translate to company success?

Sample answer: “I’m confident that my skills and experience, especially as they grow in this role, will help contribute to the company’s overall success. I’m a goal-oriented person, and in the scope of work, my professional goals tie into helping the company achieving its goals.”

12. How do you explain your technical work to others that aren’t technical? Please give examples of how you have done this in the workplace.

By understanding how a candidate explains their work to those who are not technical, you can get an idea of their ability to communicate with others effectively. IT employees often need to work with non-technical employees, so communication skills are key.

Sample answer: “I usually start by explaining the issue that needs to be fixed. I then explain how I plan on fixing it and what the end result will be. I always try to use examples that non-technical people can understand.”

Woman in white sleeved shirt and jeans standing in front of a whiteboard explaining finding from a UX report.

13. How do you handle disagreements with co-workers and managers? Please provide specific examples of these situations you’ve faced in the past.

This is not a technical question, but it’s still important for any hire working on a team. You can get an idea of how a candidate resolves conflict by asking them how they’ve handled disagreements with co-workers and supervisors in the past. Let them give you specific examples to get a better understanding of their thought process.

Sample answer: “I usually try to talk to the person directly and understand their point of view. I then try to find a resolution that works for both parties. If that’s not possible, I’ll take it to a manager or supervisor for further assistance. I always try to stay professional and avoid getting personal.”

14. What do you think are the biggest challenges in our industry?

You can get a general sense of a candidate’s self-awareness of the IT industry by asking them this tech question. It can also give you insight into their ability to identify challenges and potential solutions.

Sample answer: “I think the biggest challenge in our industry is the ever-changing landscape. With new technologies and threats emerging, it can be difficult to keep up. I think it’s important always to be learning and keeping up with the latest trends.”

15. What accomplishment or project you’ve contributed to in the past are you most proud of?

This IT interview question will help you assess the candidate’s technical skills and their ability to take the initiative and see projects through to completion. It also provides an insight to the candidate’s ability to self-reflect and give credit where it’s due.

Sample answer:  “I’m most proud of the work I did on [explanation of project]. I was able to take the initiative on my part of the project and work with the team to see the project through to the end. The end result was a success and received positive feedback from users.”

16. What do you think sets our company apart from other technology companies?

In any interview, you need to find out if the candidate knows anything about your company and/or the competition. They should tell you what they think makes your company stand out from others. This is similar to the question, “why you want to work here?”

Sample answer: “I think what sets your company apart is the focus on customer service. I’ve always been impressed with how the company handle customer inquiries and complaints. It’s clear that you care about providing a positive experience for your customers.”

17. How do you keep up with new technology trends?

Part of an IT job is never stop learning. This tech interview question will help you determine their level of interest in staying up-to-date on new changes.

Sample answer: “I usually read technology blogs and articles to stay up-to-date on new trends. I also try to attend industry conferences whenever possible.”

18. What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

For interviewers, this is great to get an understanding of what the candidate does when they’re not completing projects and sitting in meetings. See if you and your team members might enjoy working with the candidate on a personal level.

Sample answer: Just be honest. Talk about your hobbies and things you enjoy doing when you step away from the computer. Interviewers want to see what kind of person you are outside the confines of your job. Show them who you are.

Bonus: Do you have any questions for us?

This is always a good question to ask at the end of an interview. It gives the candidate a chance to ask any last-minute questions and cover topics not discussed in the interview.

Do You Have Questions Ready for Your Next IT Interview?

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it provides a great starting point for you to develop your own tech interview questions that are relevant to the role you’re looking to fill.

By asking these IT interview questions, hiring managers will better understand the candidate’s grasp of the job description, skills, and experience. With this information, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about who to hire for the role during the tech job interview process.

We also have guides to conducting exit interviews, what questions to ask a web developer candidate, and other strategic interview questions if you’d like to check those out.

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