Interview prep: Here are the go-to questions Colorado tech recruiters like to ask

by April Bohnert
November 1, 2017

Every recruiter has that question they always ask, the one that just seems to reveal it all about a candidate. But on the other side of the interview table, we rarely get a sense for what that question is or what it means for your chances of landing the job. So, we asked local tech recruiters about their go-to interview questions — and what they really say about a candidate.

 

Evolve Vacation Rental Network recruiter questions Colorado
Photo courtesy of Evolve Vacation Rental Network.

Tara Caroselli is a people operations specialist for the fast-growing Denver-based tech company Evolve Vacation Rental Network. Caroselli meets a lot of prospective candidates, and her favorite question gets to the heart of her goal as a recruiter: to fill roles with people who are truly the right fit.

What's the number one question you ask candidates in an interview?

“What are you looking for next in your career?”

How does this question help you better understand the candidate and the type of employee they may be?

This question allows for the candidate to speak to their ideals for a role, responsibilities or even a working environment. Candidates may touch on specific interests or skill sets they hold that better align with another open role, or even a role that is currently in development! We want to explore their passion for our company, and in turn, find a role in which they can excel. It is important to us that we find the right position for each candidate!

What else do you look for in an interview that might help you determine if someone is a good fit?

Further than a candidate's skill set, we are looking for someone who is a culture add to our company! We want candidates who value what we reward, which is our 10 core values. We love when candidates speak to our values and share examples of how they have exemplified them in their professional or personal growth.

 

RingCentral recruiter questions Colorado
Photo courtesy of RingCentral. 

Senior talent recruiter Anthony Smith has been a recruiter for nearly 18 years, spending the last two at cloud communication company RingCentral. Smith knows that the response to a great question isn’t just about what the candidate says, but how they say it.

What's the number one question you ask candidates in an interview?

“Please tell me about how you were able to be successful in a high-pressure or rapid-deadline situation. Describe the situation and some of the things that you did to be successful.”

How does this question help you better understand the candidate and the type of employee they may be?

I like asking questions such as those to gain a better understanding of a candidate’s stress management and coping skills, and to help determine how that candidate could thrive in a rapidly changing work environment.

What else do you look for in an interview that might help you determine if someone is a good fit?

I believe that a lot can be learned about a potential new hire by the manner in which they carry themselves in a conversation. I listen to more than just what they are saying but how they are saying it. If someone were a bit too relaxed or too comfortable, it would lead me to be concerned about that how they would interface with leadership and executives. Conversely, if someone were "too stiff," I would be concerned with cultural or team fit. I have found that a team fit is just as important as having the required technical skills for the opportunity.

I also observe the potential new hire's line of questions for me about the company. I have been a recruiter for almost 18 years, and it's interesting how I am asked fewer and fewer questions. Asking questions about the role, team, environment and company illustrate a high level of engagement, and it shows that the potential new hire cares about their next potential employer.

 

SpotX recruiter questions Colorado
Photo courtesy of SpotX. 

Mark Palestine is the director of software engineering at adtech company SpotX, meaning he’s tasked with both leading a team and continuing to grow it. His go-to questions aim to reveal more about a candidate’s thought process than simply his or her thoughts.

What's the number one question you ask candidates in an interview?

I always ask a type of question that could be answered in one minute or an entire hour depending on the person, but the question itself can be different each time. If I ask, "Describe the most important Agile development principle to you," the interviewee knows we only have a finite amount of time to talk about this question. The answer needs to be kept short enough to give us time to talk about other things, but long enough to get their point across. I could ask, "Tell me something interesting about a new technology you have used," and get a similar result.

How does this question help you better understand the candidate and the type of employee they may be?

It helps me understand if someone can be concise while fully explaining their thoughts. The way in which someone answers this question is more important than the answer itself. When you are an engineer you need to be able to explain your thoughts quickly and concisely, but also completely. This quick test helps determine if someone can do that in a stressful situation.

What else do you look for in an interview that might help you determine if someone is a good fit?

I always look to see if someone is passionate about something outside of work. I have found that people who have other interests and ambitions in life are more driven in all of their efforts. Having interests and hobbies are also an important way to connect with other people, even if they don't have the same same interests as you. When you connect with and like the people you work with, you are a happier person and employee.

 

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