Think Fast! 5 Weird IT Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

April 30th, 2014

When you work in information technology, you need to think quickly and creatively. So when someone is deciding whether or not to hire you, they may ask you unexpected interview questions to make sure you can perform under pressure. Here are five weird interview questions from big tech giants, and suggestions about how to answer them:

1. “Explain a database in three sentences to your nephew.” (Google)
This question tests your ability to simplify a concept and communicate it to someone who may not have the same level of understanding as you. To explain something in this way, you must have an intimate understanding of it, so it’s also a test of your knowledge of your field.

2. “Can you instruct someone how to make an origami “cootie catcher” with just words?” (Living Social)
This question is really about how you use language to communicate. Be aware that there are limits to language, and that this hypothetical task may be more difficult depending on whether you can see the person you’re guiding or not. You may even be asked to attempt it with a person in the room!

3. “Describe to me the process and benefits of wearing a seat belt.” (Active Network)
This question displays your ability to sell someone on the benefits of a product. If you can do it with a seat belt, in theory you can do it for software to secure your database or budget cuts in your department. Don’t over think this one, just answer to the best of your ability.

4. “If you were an animal what kind would you be and why?” (Facebook)
This question is designed to give your interviewer an insight into how you see yourself. Think carefully before answering. Avoid answers like snake, sloth, or turtle, unless you want your interviewer to think of you as dishonest or slow. Animals with good qualities include dogs (loyalty), ants (hard work), or owls (wisdom).

5. “How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?” (Google)
This question is all about problem-solving and creative thinking. While it may seem intimidating, if you think it through, you can make a decent estimate. There’s really no wrong answer as long as you don’t freeze up and you walk your interviewer through your thought process.

Looking for help with your information technology job search? At Future Technology Staffing, we specialize in finding IT candidates work, whether that means contract assignments or a direct hire position. We want to help you achieve the success you deserve, so get in touch with us today. We look forward to working with you!

Is Your Interviewing Style Costing You the Job?

April 23rd, 2014

Judging your interview performance can be one of the more difficult aspects of a job hunt. If you aren’t offered a position with the company you interviewed for, it can be difficult to determine why that is. If this has happened more than once, and you feel that you have great skills and a good working history, you may want to consider that there’s something you’re doing while interviewing that is keeping you from being hired. Make sure that you are paying attention to these aspects of interviewing style:

Body language.
In an interview situation, your words aren’t the only thing that your potential employer is paying attention to. Nonverbal communication also says a great deal. If you want to project confidence, sit up straight and make eye contact. If you want to seem engaged, don’t sigh or fidget with your nails or hair. If you want to seem strong, make sure to use a firm grip when you shake hands.

Negativity.
A job interview is, at its core, about selling yourself as an employee. There’s no room for negativity of any kind. Don’t say bad things about your former employer. Complaining about a former boss or company can make you look petty, and that’s not the kind of person a manager wants to hire. Not only that, but they might wonder if you’ll be speaking negatively about their company in another interview someday.

Engagement.

We live in an age of a myriad of distractions. Most people carry smartphones with them everywhere, and it’s become second nature to look at a screen when you feel you have a spare moment. Doing well in an interview has a lot to do with engagement, so turn off your phone before you enter the building. Remove the temptation to nervously play a game of Solitaire or check your Facebook feed, and focus on being present in the moment. Your interviewer will appreciate your undivided attention.

Struggling with interviews and need a little boost with your job search? At Future Technology Staffing, we care about your career success. Get in touch with us today and we’ll get to know you and your goals so that we can find you a position that you’ll shine in.

Exit Interviews are Only as Good as the Questions and Analysis

April 16th, 2014

Exit interviews, or the process of sitting down with an employee and trying to determine what factors have led them to leave your company before they take another job, are standard industry practice. But it’s no use conducting an exit interview if you don’t ask good questions, and then use the data you’ve collected and turn it into an actionable plan to improve as a company. You will stagnate if you don’t’ learn from both your mistakes and your successes.

Why should you conduct an exit interview? Because you’re biased in favor of your company, you can have blind spots when it comes to the experience of being one of your employees. It’s easy to assume that someone is quitting to move to another city or to change career paths and that the job that they’re leaving behind hasn’t impacted their decision, but this isn’t always the case. Never assume you know why someone is leaving.

Who should conduct an exit interview? Don’t expect an employee to open up to his or her former supervisor. Whether they get along well or not at all, this is the wrong kind of relationship for an open conversation. Using someone from human resources can work, but only if you have an office where there’s an established relationship between your employees and HR. Someone in a supervisory role from another department may work as well.

What should you ask in the exit interview? Think of an exit interview as a counterpart to the hiring and onboarding process, and let that guide your topics of discussion. This is a great time to get honest feedback about your benefits, your pay scale, the orientation process your employee went through, your company culture, how effective he or she feels management is, and whether or not he or she sees any problems with the way your office runs.

What do you do after an exit interview? Make sure that you ask consistent questions for everyone, that way it’s easier to draw conclusions from your former employees’ answers. Your exit interview data needs to be collected and then analyzed by the same people who are in charge of hiring and recruiting new employees. Depending on the size of your organization, the analysis may not need to go any farther than looking for obvious patterns such as complaints about a specific manager or the fact that many employees are leaving for a higher salary.

After you conduct your exit interview, do you have a new candidate to fill your empty position? At Future Technology Staffing, we can take on your hiring and recruiting process for you. We have over fifteen years of experience with screening candidates, so if you’re looking for your next great IT employee, contact us today.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Stretch the Truth on Your Resume

April 9th, 2014

Industry estimates say that up to half of job applicants lie on their resumes. If you’re thinking about joining their ranks, think again. Here are five reasons you should be honest when creating your resume:

1. The penalty for lying is steep.
You may think that lying on your resume is an easy path to your dream job, but this isn’t the case. If you’re ever found out, you’ll most likely be fired, which will destroy your credibility with your entire network and leave you without a reference to land a new job. Is any opportunity really worth that kind of risk?

2. Everything can be checked.
It used to be relatively easy to conceal the truth about your background. Now information can be easily accessed by anyone. There are entire firms set up to background check potential employees so employers don’t have to. You can try to lie about your past, but your records won’t, and they’re more easily accessible than ever before.

3. You don’t want to be in over your head.
Job descriptions have requirements for a reason. If you stretch the truth about your abilities, you may be hired, but then what? You’ll find yourself in a job that you’re not able to complete competently, which isn’t good for your career in the long run.

4. You can fix your problems honestly.
People are often tempted to lie because they feel like they have shortcomings they need to cover up. Why not be honest instead? Highlight your personal accomplishments from a time when you weren’t able to find work, or make it clear that you’re willing to learn a skill that you don’t bring to the table.

5. Your word should mean something.
When it comes down to it, lying on your resume may seem like a small thing. But you’re making a decision that will affect the rest of your career. You have to show up every day at a job knowing that you didn’t get hired honestly, and that knowledge could start to weigh on you. It’s a much better idea to keep your integrity intact.

If you’re considering lying on your resume, why not ask for help instead? A technology recruiting specialist at Future Technology Staffing will sit down with you and figure out the best way to present you as a candidate to potential employers. Call us today to get started!

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