5 First-Round Interview Questions Tech Recruiters Like to Ask (and Why!)

By Robert Half on July 27, 2022 at 9:15am

What is your favorite question to ask candidates in first-round interviews for technology jobs — and why?

Recruiters need to understand each candidate’s past accomplishments and future career goals to find great hires for technology roles. We asked the question above to some of the leading talent and recruiting managers with Robert Half’s technology practice group to gather their insights on what to ask job applicants to determine whether they would be strong contenders for technology jobs.

Here are five questions they suggested, based on their experience helping employers recruit skilled talent for technology positions:

  1. What’s next for you?
  2. What have you done recently that shows a return on investment (ROI)?
  3. Why are you looking for a new technology job?
  4. What do you want to do when you grow up?
  5. What are you looking for in your next technology job?

1. What’s next for you?

I love asking candidates this interview question. It gives me a clear picture of what’s important to them in a role, why they are looking for something new, and which positions I can keep an eye out for on their behalf!

Bailey Budka, practice director

2. What have you done recently that shows a return on investment (ROI)?

I like the “ROI” question in an interview because it shows how well candidates can speak about their accomplishments and what projects they are most proud of. It’s also an opportunity for them to provide a real-world example of their experience and demonstrate how they can set themselves apart from other candidates.

Bailey Hanna, senior recruiter, software and applications

3. Why are you looking for a new technology job?

This is always the first question I ask candidates in an interview because I want to help them find a position that will be the right move for their careers. Understanding the pain points of a candidate’s current job allows me to find the right role for them. The last thing I want is to place someone in a worse situation.

Doug Bell, assistant vice president and lead technical recruiter

4. What do you want to do when you grow up?

I find that this interview question is fun and telling, no matter how much experience a candidate has in the technology field. It allows me to see where their passion and direction for technology lie and what they still wish to do.

I really enjoy finding IT professionals challenging roles that meet their technical ambitions and provide growth. Most individuals know their strengths, and I love to help them find jobs that will continue to build on their strengths based on their IT passion.

Laurie Humphrey, lead recruiter

5. What are you looking for in your next technology job?

In today’s market, having the qualifications for a job isn’t enough to separate candidates from their competition. In a candidate-scarce market, it has become crucial to maximizing what we learn about candidates both personally and professionally.

The best answers highlight their career objectives, what motivates them and how they would make an impact. I can often pick up where their interests lie while gauging their authenticity, soft skills and long-term goals.

This interview question builds a personal connection with my candidates and uncovers specific qualities, aside from skill sets, that can proactively get them in front of the competition.

Also, asking candidates this type of question helps me stand out as a recruiter in a highly competitive market.

Valerie Montoya, practice director

Headshots of 5 Robert Half recruiters featured in blog post and various icons, such as a light bulb and microphone.

Robert Half recruiters (top row, from left): Bailey Budka and Doug Bell; (bottom row, from left): Bailey Hanna, Laurie Humphrey and Valerie Montoya.

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