two men taking part in a data role interview

Technical questions you may be asked in a data role interview

Written on February 22, 2021 by Jason Horwood

The secret to a great interview is drawing out more from the candidate than just their qualifications and technical suitability. You need to get down to the nitty-gritty to discover their drive, initiative and soft skills as well, so interview questions with yes or no answers are just not going to cut it.

In order to determine whether somebody is really right for the role, you need to ask a mix of situational and technical questions to draw them out and make sure you listen to how they reply and what their replies are.

We’ve pulled together some examples of technical questions you may want to ask to help you to get a better picture of your technical candidate’s behaviour:

Working Style Questions

  • “Could you please describe for me your ideal working environment?” – this is a great way to assess how well the candidate will fit into your organisational culture and can open up a discussion about how your business culture operates. That way, both you and the candidate will have a better understanding of whether they are a great fit for the role or not.
  • “Tell me about a time you have had to push for an organisational change” – with this question we are looking for evidence of logic, and reasoning and someone who isn’t afraid to speak out if they have reason to believe that something needs to change.

Teamwork Questions

Language is all-important when it comes to talking about teamwork, if they mention the development and growth of the team in their answers, then they are very likely to be a good team player.

Ideas for questions you could ask include:

  • “What do you see as being the most important qualities of a successful project or team leader?” – an important question to ask whether you are hiring for a leadership role or not. The very nature of data and technology work means that the individual may have to take responsibility for delivering projects on time, and so they need to be aware of leadership skills such as communication, delegation, motivation, organisation and positivity.
  • “Tell me about a time you worked with major stakeholders” – the candidate should be able to conduct research, put together a robust business case and persuade stakeholders to support their project.

Career Milestone Questions

What you are looking for here is a passion for good work done well, problem-solving capabilities and good business acumen.

  • “Tell me about your proudest professional achievement” – this is a fairly typical interview question, but it is an important one as it can help you to understand what the candidate’s criteria for success are.
  • “Discuss one of your previous projects and how you completed it successfully” – a good way to get candidates to openly discuss projects without getting too technical. It should give you a good understanding of their contribution to the project, their interactions with project managers, their management skills and time estimates.
  • “How did you overcome any obstacles in this project?” – an important question, as you need to know that the candidate is able to hurdle problems and implement contingencies in order to get the job done within the deadline.

Personal Development Questions

It’s a good idea to get some kind of handle on how the candidate has handled their personal development so far to help you gain a better understanding of how they may perform in the role, both now and in the future. Some questions you could ask them to help draw out the information include:

  • “What online resources do you use to enable you to do your job?” – the answer to this question should give you some idea as to how engaged the candidate is with the broader world of data and technology.
  • “How do you ensure you are keeping your technology skills up to date?” – this question can be useful for gauging how interested the candidate is in their profession, as well as leading you nicely into a discussion about professional development.
  • “What would you like to achieve in your first 6 months in this role?” – good candidates will be able to give you a wide range of reasons why they would like to get stuck into the role from day one.
  • “What is your plan for the next 5 years?” – a well-rounded professional will have a robust plan for their career if they follow a regimented working ethos, and it would be good to know whether they have a backup in place in case their original strategy doesn’t go to plan!

If you are looking for a career in technology or data, and need some interview advice, or have gaps in your business skillsets that you want to plug into, then please get in touch with the team at Agile Recruit via email at info@agilerecruit.com