The workplace changed dramatically during 2020, with the in-office routines we took for granted giving way to the new normal of remote or socially distanced work. This produced many new challenges but also provided an opportunity for employees in the IT sector to shine.
Now, as IT professionals seek new jobs, they must demonstrate not only the usual familiarity with programming languages and source control tools but also the ability to handle new scenarios. In 2021, the biggest concerns to assess will include remote work and the eventual transition to whatever the new version of normal will be.
Below, we’ve outlined a few of the most important categories of questions worth taking on during this year’s IT interviews, as well as specific examples to help you prepare for hiring in 2021.Remote Work Equipment and Setting
Ideally, employees in the work world of 2021 will enjoy secure and reliable internet access. Functioning computers, webcams, and smartphones are also essential and often incorporated under BYOD policies. Well-equipped and highly knowledgeable staff can help you handle evolving IT needs.
These concerns can be addressed with questions recommended by Nick Allo of SemTech IT Solutions. He anticipates that chief queries in the immediate future will involve “the home office environment,” as well as overcoming challenges when all users are sent home.
Consider not only specific tools for this unique time, but also how a specific applicant can use them to make the most of today’s work realities. Palindrome Consulting‘s Ilan Sredni explains, “There are a variety of tools that will help you monitor and manage the employees electronically, but having a good sense of deliverables and deadlines could be more important than the tools themselves.”
A few quick questions will help you get a sense of prospective IT employees’ arrangements, as well as their ability to provide necessary work setups for others:
- Can you describe your current setup for remote work? Do you have a fast and secure internet connection? What about a webcam?
- Which remote work solutions do you believe are most reliable in 2021? How can your work in IT improve these systems?
- Can you explain a situation in which you faced and overcame technology challenges while working on a remote basis?
- Do you have a dedicated office? Are you able to work free of interruptions? If not, how do you plan to handle virtual meetings or conferences?
- How are you able to assist other employees with their tech needs to ensure that they can make the most of working from home?
While modern tools and technologies allow employees to stay in touch from afar, certain ideas are simply easier to express in person. By now, IT professionals should have a basic grasp of how they can best share information on a digital basis. Ask these questions to determine their ability to communicate effectively in 2021:
- Which communication practices do you find most effective for collaborating with employees from a distance?
- What is your preferred approach for addressing conflict in the workplace? What about digital forms of conflict?
- How do you build rapport with clients when you are unable to meet face to face?
- Which communication challenges did you experience on the job in 2020? How will you address these issues in 2021?
Some applicants may have all the equipment they need and even the skills for communicating effectively online — but that doesn’t mean that they’re a good fit, especially during a pandemic. Motivation and productivity are huge areas of concern, with employees who could easily stay on task at the office struggling once they’re stuck at home.
Aspiring IT employees should be able to clearly communicate what they need to remain motivated and how they intend to stay as productive as possible when the going gets tough. Just as important is their ability to do their job in a way that will foster motivation in other employees. Questions that can help you determine this include:
- What motivates you to keep striving for excellence as the nature of IT work changes?
- Which solutions do you find most effective for keeping employees motivated through the power of technology?
- Which productivity solutions do you believe will make the greatest impact both during COVID and as we transition to a post-pandemic workforce?
- Can you tell me about any weaknesses you noticed in yourself while dealing with the unique challenges of 2020? What did you do to address these? How will you continue to work on these concerns in the future?
Change was the name of the game in the work world of 2020. Professionals in the IT sector needed to be especially flexible, solving problems they never anticipated at the drop of a hat.
This reality is not likely to shift in 2021, although the nature of the changes may differ. As Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield tells the BBC, “We all know that work will never be the same, even if we don’t yet know all the ways in which it will be different.”
Keep in mind that adaptability will be just as important in a post-COVId world as it is now. To that end, Ian Hansen of Philantech3 advises. “Have [applicants] get specific and pay close attention to whether or not their ability to adapt could benefit you.”
Questions for assessing IT applicants’ adaptability include:
- Do you have any examples of how you’ve dealt with sudden and disruptive changes to your lifestyle during the pandemic?
- What about examples of adapting to change in a pre-COVID work world?
- How do you plan to handle possible disruptions to your work routine as the transition to hybrid or in-person employment begins?
- How will your efforts as an IT professional help employees throughout our organization handle sudden changes both during and after COVID?
- What have you done to keep your tech skills current during the pandemic?
No one question can determine which IT professionals are the best fit for your organization during and after COVID. With the questions above, however, you can discover which applicants will rise to the occasion and demonstrate the power of IT expertise in 2021.Contact Information: