08 Mar Five Non-Tech Interview Questions You Should Prepare For
Developing and/or maintaining large-scale software projects is a team sport. Thus, while having great technical skills is important, it does not necessarily translate to being an excellent teammate. The ability to work together as a cohesive unit to drive a project forward is an essential ingredient to succeeding in a professional tech setting. While you should certainly brush up on your technical knowledge before your next interview, you should also be prepared to answer a few key, non-technical interview questions to show that you’re the right professional for the job.
Interview Question: “Tell me about yourself.”
This is an extremely common interview non-technical question, and a wonderful gauge as to how well someone prepared for the meeting. This is because while it would be all too easy to assume that the interviewer is asking for a chronological summary of the interviewee’s career, what they’re actually asking for is insight into his or her professional brand.
A professional brand is the summation of who someone is as a professional given their growth, successes, failures, experiences, and abilities. An interviewee can draw from a wide range of topics both personal and professional to showcase why this role is perfect for them, and why they’re perfect for this role.
Example: “When I began my software development journey, I wasn’t necessarily sure where I wanted to specialize. However, in my first role at X company, I was able to ramp up quickly to become a subject matter expert on X part of the code base. My manager was impressed with my desire to step up and take ownership of key projects, and it wasn’t long before I was assigned several more junior developers to begin mentoring. This is where I really discovered a love of teaching and leading, which is why I feel this engineering manager role with your company would be the perfect next step in my career.”
Interview Question: “Who are our competitors?”
Asking about a company’s competitors stands in for a whole host of parallel interview questions such as, “What is the name of our CEO?”, “How does our company make money?”, “What do you think of this product we built?” The interviewer is seeking to get a sense how well an applicant knows the company they’re applying to. In general, the implication is that the more a candidate has investigated what life would really be like at X company, the more excited they are to work there.
While it may be a bit superfluous for example to memorize that morning’s opening stock price, an interviewee should familiarize themselves with the company’s public image as much as possible, including the CEO, major products, industry dynamics etc. Bonus points for those folks who go above and beyond by looking into the company’s philanthropic efforts!
Interview Question: “How do you keep your skills up to date?”
There are a multitude of ways to add value to a team, project, or organization. Each person brings a unique skillset and perspective and thus, when it comes to creating impact, an interviewee’s individuality and diversity are truly a strength. Here the interviewer is providing the perfect opportunity to highlight that individuality and diversity.
In a certain sense, good candidates will seek to fulfill the job function for which they were hired, while great candidates will distinguish themselves by constantly seeking to upskill, creating or participating in professional groups, taking ownership of additional projects, increasing their scope etc. An interviewee can speak about an area of professional growth that they’re excited about. It could be centered on a book, a mentorship opportunity, a resource group, a conference, a publication, a certificate, or even a new degree program. Bonus points if you’re able to speak about the impact of applying that newfound knowledge or skills in a professional setting!
Example: “I recently began a new online master’s degree in Data Science in my spare time after work. One class in particular has empowered me with a new way to think about the data that my test automation frameworks have been collecting at work, and how I could extract even better insights from it. I used the idea framework my course provided to build a proof of concept to show my manager. He was impressed with the results, and we set about integrating it into our public product, saving us 200 developer hours per quarter.”
Interview Question: “What are you looking for in your next role?”
Honesty and intentionality are the key ingredients when speaking about career goals. An interviewee who puts thought into the direction they want to take their career immediately sets themselves apart from the rest of the applicant pool.
A response can draw on excitement about the company itself, the product or project the role is focused on, an interest in stepping into a management role, other career growth opportunities etc. Ultimately, the role someone is interviewing for might end up not being the right one for them. However, with clear goals, even if this role isn’t the right one, an interviewer may be able to open a door to another opportunity!
Interview Question: “Do you have any questions for me?”
Sometimes the most meaningful interview questions that get asked in an interview are those that the interviewee asks the interviewer! Interview preparation should always include bringing at least 4-5 meaningful questions to the meeting. Ideally, these interview questions in the interview process should showcase a candidate’s excitement about the role and about learning more about what life and the company culture at X company in X position is really like.
What does success look like in this role in the first 30, 60, 90 days?
What types of additional trainings does this department participate in?
What are you (the interviewer) learning in your current role?
How does the team go about providing feedback?
Scion Technical Staffing can help you land your next tech interview!
With the knowledge of these non-tech interview questions in hand, you should be able to easily navigate your next tech interview! When you choose to work with Scion Technical Staffing, our team of recruiting experts know exactly how to set you up for success, including getting you prepared for all types of situations that may pop up in interviews and refining your overall interviewing skills. We do our best to match our candidates with the perfect company and we do so with outstanding and award-winning service. If you’re looking for your next big opportunity in the tech sector, let Scion Technical Staffing help you! To learn more, visit our website today or contact one of our recruiters!
Written by Scion Technical Recruiter Ryan Morgan