These tricky tech job interview questions are meant to throw you off

·3-min read

The labor market recovery is facing challenges – as evidenced by April’s ugly jobs report. Yet whether people are still looking for a job or looking to leave their current one once the pandemic is really over, it’s useful to know that it's still the same handful of industries that are the most promising in terms of future stability and potential as it's been for years. Among them, of course, is technology. (Health care is another biggie.)

Tech is reliably among the fastest growing industries in the U.S. Twenty-eight tech companies, more than any other industry, are among Glassdoor’s top 100 Best Places to Work in 2021. Among the 50 Best Jobs in America for 2021, 22 jobs are in tech, more than any other industry. The top five jobs listed – Java developer, data scientist, product manager, enterprise architect, and dev-ops engineer – are all in tech with 4 out of 5 of them offering a six-figure salary.

The tech industry also offers the added benefit of being at the forefront of remote work. In a pandemic environment where many workers would like to continue to work remotely even when offices reopen, tech giants such as Facebook and Twitter have already made clear a portion of their workforces would be allowed to keep working virtually on a permanent basis. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna told Yahoo Finance he expects 10% to 20% of the company’s workforce won’t be returning to the office and will continue to work remotely.

Developing programming and coding technologies. Website design. Programmer working in a software develop company office.
Developing programming and coding technologies. Website design. Programmer working in a software develop company office.

However, workers looking to pivot to a career in tech should prepare themselves for the types of tricky questions commonplace in tech industry interviews.

Beyond the standard questions about JavaScript and Python fluency, Glassdoor shared other types of questions that Big Tech is known to ask applicants.

Job seekers at Facebook have been asked, “Why Facebook and what are you looking for that you are not getting at your current company?” Google candidates were asked: “Tell me about a time when you influenced upper management.”

LinkedIn also shared with Yahoo Finance an interview question job seekers at Amazon have faced, “Give me an example of when you submitted a great idea to your manager and they did not support it.”

Job seekers can be thrown off by questions asked during tech job interviews, “especially if you’re anticipating some of the more common questions that you’ve experienced in a previous career,” says Sarah Stoddard, a Glassdoor career expert. “They just want to gauge how you react and how you think through a response.”

Stoddard cautions job seekers seeking to pivot to tech. “Keep in mind that career pivots don’t happen overnight. They take time to...reflect on what you are really looking for and time to do that research to find your next opportunity,” she said. “It’s helpful to get that information sooner rather than later before you make a big decision about any job.”

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