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The dos and “Darths” of interviewing IT candidates

November 13, 2015
By Katherine Kozelski

Did you know that while you’re interviewing your top IT candidate, he or she is also sizing you up? After all, a great—or even good—IT candidate has a lot of other options. And the interview is often a major factor in deciding whether they accept your offer, or your competitor’s.

Learn to make a good impression on IT candidates and avoid coming off a like the Darth Vader (or Darth Tater) of IT hiring managers.

DO: Take your IT candidate around the office during the interview

Darth Tater gives an office tour

Whether your candidate is a lone wolf or prefers a team setting, office environments are important. And to technology-loving IT workers, the computers and other tech they’ll use is a big factor as well. Take this chance to let them see their potential office space and coworkers. If it’s an option, ask the candidate the type of equipment they prefer working with and let them know if you can accommodate their preferences. Let the PC vs. Mac debate commence …

DARTH: Try to trip up candidates with “gotcha” questions

Interview gotcha questions

Interviews are stressful enough for candidates; the last thing you want to do is pressure them into a complete mental lapse. “Gotcha” questions usually provide little to no insight on the candidate’s soft skills, ability to think creatively or technical skills. But if you’re looking to validate their technical skills, it’s fair to include a technical examination as a part of the interview process.

DO: Shake hands with appropriate force, not "The Force"

Darth Tater's forceful handshake

Are you trying to impress or intimidate your candidate with that forceful handshake? Pay attention to the nonverbal basics: Shake hands firmly but not painfully. Listen and make eye contact when your candidate talks, but don’t overdo the intensity of your gaze. Offer a comfortable chair for the interviewee, and have water and coffee available. These subtle cues will help a candidate decide whether they’d like working with you.

DARTH: Change the terms of the job once the applicant arrives

Changing IT job descriptions

As Darth Vader himself once said, “I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.” You wouldn’t want a job seeker to lie on their resume and promise something they couldn't deliver, so don’t drastically change the responsibilities once you have a candidate in the room. Make sure to set clear expectations in the original job description so candidates know what they’re getting into when they first apply.

More tips for recruiting and interviewing IT pros

5 things to avoid in your next job description 

Reveal your true workplace culture—flaws and all—before hiring 

Friday fun for the IT crowd: The interview questions IT candidates hate

Katherine Kozelski is the social media coordinator for TEKsystems. She enjoys keeping on the pulse of all things technology, social media and pop culture via her No. 1 news source: Twitter. In her free time Katherine loves to cook, travel and play with her black lab, Remy.

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