Interviewing for a Tech Job: 5 Questions

Interviewing for a Tech Job: 5 Questions

Whether you’re considering an apprenticeship or a traditional job in the tech field, you can expect a series of interviews just as you would with any other position. You should of course be prepared for traditional interview questions like:

Tell me about a time when something didn’t go as you had hoped, and how you responded.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

How would your co-workers describe you?

With a tech role, however, you should also be prepared for more specific questions related not only to technology but the intersection of technology and soft skills, including your ability to communicate. Answers will vary depending upon your level of experience, but you should be prepared to address questions similar to these:

What do you do to stay current and keep your tech skills up to date?

Technology changes constantly. Your potential employer wants to know that you have the habit of putting in the effort to stay on top of those changes.

Which resources do you consult to help you do your work?

This is a similar question in that the interviewer wants to know that you do more than just show up and do the work in front of you. Your answer here demonstrates that you’re engaged with the broader tech world outside of your job. You know where to go to solve for the challenging questions.

Which technology products or services are your favorites, or least favorites, and why?

With this question, the interviewer is probably less interested in the specific products or services and more interested in the “why.” For him or her this is a glimpse at what makes you tick as a tech professional. This is not the time to go off on a rant, but if there are products or services that you feel come up short, be prepared to explain why you think so – and what you would do about it if you were in charge.

Let’s pretend for a moment that I work in another department and know nothing at all about tech. How would you explain so I can understand it?

This is a vital question that begins to uncover the way you’ll interact with others. In many roles, the very best technical skills are less valuable if you can’t communicate effectively with other team members. Your ability to translate the complex into layperson’s terms demonstrates an important component of those soft skills mentioned above.

Suppose we’re having this discussion two (or three, or five) years from now. How do you think technology will have changed?

Just as any interviewer will want your vision of where you see yourself in the future, they’ll be interested to see how much thought you’ve given to where technology might be going. There are no wrong answers here because no one knows for certain, but be ready to demonstrate that you’ve given the bigger picture some thought.

Even if you’re coming into a tech apprenticeship with no related experience, you can do the background work to answer these questions. With some research, you can tell an interviewer what you will do to stay current, which resources you think will be most valuable, and so forth. The fact that you’ve given these things some careful thought will set you apart from many other candidates.

5 Components of Emotional Intelligence and Why they Matter in a Tech Career

5 Components of Emotional Intelligence and Why they Matter in a Tech Career

As a Franklin Apprentice, you’ll be on a carefully-designed schedule to achieve the technical certifications that will form the basis for your new career. And as you might know, you’ll have a Personal Success Coach to work with, tracking your progress weekly.

Your Success Coach, however, will also be working with you to help develop your “soft skills.” These are the competencies that go beyond technology to refine how you interact with others, clients and co-workers alike. Among other things, that list includes time management, problem-solving skills, and emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EI; sometimes also called emotional quotient, or EQ) in a nutshell is the ability to understand and manage both your own emotions and those of the people around you. Think of someone in your life who really listens to you and understands what you’re saying; that’s a person with well-developed EI. On the other hand, someone who flies off the handle frequently or takes bad news out on the people around them probably needs some work.

American psychologist Daniel Goleman, a pioneer in the field, says there are five key components to emotional intelligence:

Self-awareness: EI begins with being aware of your own emotions and how they impact both your own actions and the people around you. Put another way, you can’t fix a weakness if you don’t recognize it as a weakness to begin with. Techniques here include keeping a journal of your emotions or simply developing a habit of pausing before you react to your own emotions.

Self-regulation: Self-regulation takes many forms, but think overall about acting calmly. Avoiding hurried or emotional decisions, or the desire to verbally attack others, and having a clear understanding of your own values are all hallmarks of someone with well-developed self-regulation skills.

Motivation: The ability to motivate yourself towards achieving your own goals is a vital component of EI. Everyone goes through times when motivation is a challenge. You can often restore your own motivation by thinking about the ‘why’ of your career and remembering the things you really love about your work. Setting goals, and a timeline for achieving them, will also help with motivation.

Empathy: Put simply, empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s position and understand their point of view. The people around you in both your personal and professional lives will respond much better when they feel they’re being listened to and understood. This means not only hearing the words they say but picking up on other cues like tone of voice and body language … and minding your own non-verbal cues as well.

Social skills: Your interpersonal skills are where the rubber meets the road. You might be self-aware and self-regulated, and have plenty of motivation and empathy, but if you can’t communicate those things to the people around you, you’ll fall short. The best employees – and the best leaders – are good communicators.

Emotional intelligence is a big topic, and there’s no finish line … it’s a skill set we all need to work on continually. You can make significant strides with the right guidance, though, and your Personal Success Coach will work closely with you to see that you do.