20 Sep 6 Interview Questions to Ask When Considering a New Job in Uncertain Times
Looking for a new tech role brings much excitement and potential reward, but it can be a little daunting if you’re job searching in uncertain times. You might feel some hesitation to leave the relative security of your current job, but with so many outstanding opportunities in the technology industry right now, this is a fantastic time to make a move.
To boost your chances of success, here is a selection of interview questions to ask a potential employer. They will assist you in uncovering the right information to make an informed and confident decision about the new role, even in an era of uncertainty.
A Few ‘Big Picture’ Questions
In recent years, companies worldwide have faced challenging times and have been required to respond in an agile manner. While the technology sector has fared better than most, many companies have still needed to shift their focus and re-jig their processes.
The following ‘big picture’ questions will assist you in understanding how the company you’re interviewing with met such challenges, along with what their future plans look like. You can then weigh up if they’re the right fit for your career trajectory.
1. What were some of the key things your company and leadership learnt during the pandemic?
While it’s true many tech companies have successfully withstood the challenges of the past 18 months, it’s fair to say that most have either learnt (or changed) a thing or two as a result. Asking this question encourages your potential employer to be open about any issues they faced, and discuss the way they responded.
Look for an answer that shows a willingness to not only accept that change was needed, but that demonstrates actions were put in place to address the issue and prevent it from occurring in the future. This speaks volumes about the type of leadership in place.
While this is a great question for the company, it also is for a candidate, so you should be ready to answer it as well. It could be sharing the realisation you were more resilient than you thought you were. Or it could be that you learnt how to better manage your work-home life balance, or optimise your daily workflow to increase your productivity.
2. What is the biggest challenge you’re facing as a company right now, and how will this role help with that?
While this is somewhat of a bold question, the answer you receive should be quite illuminating. It will help you quickly comprehend what you might face on a daily basis if you’re successful in getting the job, alongside the impact you could potentially make in the greater company. In addition, it should give you some confidence that the organisation can recognise their pain points or bottlenecks, and are proactive in addressing them.
As a bonus, asking this question also demonstrates that you have a ‘big picture’ view – you’re not just focused on your personal success, but are keen to understand company challenges and actively contribute to solving them.
3. What are the company’s top priorities for the future?
This question will help you understand the business’s roadmap, so you can effectively decide if it’s a path you want to take. It will also give you an idea about job security without having to directly broach the topic – in our experience, some candidates find it uncomfortable to ask about this, and some companies can find it a little confronting.
Some ‘Personal’ Questions
The next interview questions section is focused on uncovering what it really might be like to work in the new role. Keep in mind that some of these may have already been answered in the ‘big picture’ questions. However, if you’ve successfully employed your active listening skills during the interview, we’re confident you won’t make the faux pas of asking something that has already been covered.
4. What opportunities for growth and progression are available?
In the technology sector, you know how vital it is to keep your skills current – as well as develop new ones – and stay on top of industry issues and trends. As such, you’re likely keen to join a company that is invested in investing in your professional development. Asking this question will give you key insights into what scope there is to grow and progress within the role, as well as at the company at large.
5. What processes do you have in place to support employees working from home, and help maintain communication and collaboration?
Many digital companies have been remote working for a number of years and have solid systems in place to support this. But it’s still a good idea to ask this question to get a better understanding of what remote working looks like at this particular company, and whether this form suits you.
In their answer, the technology recruiter or hiring manager might speak a bit about the software and hardware available for employees, as well as any training or wellbeing programs they offer. If these aren’t covered, you can ask specific follow up questions (see below for some options):
- Are there daily and/or weekly team video conferences?
- How accessible is my manager for quick questions?
- Does the company provide an employee laptop, mobile phone etc.?
- Can you give me a brief idea of what the remote onboarding process looks like, should it be necessary?
6. How do you ensure the company culture is maintained when working remotely or in a hybridised way?
By this point, you will hopefully have a clearer picture of how the company prefers to work, whether it’s face-to-face, all remote or a hybridised version. This question seeks to uncover how leadership maintains a sense of company culture in such an environment (and it’s essential for employee happiness – according to the 2020 Stack Overflow survey of 65,000 developers worldwide, company culture came in at second place on a list of the 11 most important job factors).
Some examples might be through regular formal and informal catch-ups to foster connection (both virtually and in-person), or dedicated transparent leadership practices so all employees are kept informed in real-time.
Those are many interview questions you can ask to unearth the information you need to make a confident decision whilst job searching in uncertain times. As the saying goes, knowledge is power, and equipping yourself with this intel is a positive way to assuage any hesitation you might feel in making a move.
If you’d like some further support in mulling over a move, we can provide an experienced ear to listen (and an experienced mouth to advise!). As technology recruitment specialists with offices in Brisbane and Canberra, we’ve helped countless candidates transition from one role to another, both in prosperous and challenging times. Feel free to get in touch with our team today.