“Do you have any questions for me?”
Everyone’s been on the receiving end of this inquiry, and as an interviewee for a contract IT job, it’s one worth taking advantage of. Asking well-informed questions is a great way to showcase your engagement in the process and gain valuable insight.
You can always lean on old standbys: “What’s the company culture like? What do you love about working here?” But if you want to leave a lasting impression – and change the dynamic of the interview entirely – it’s worth putting some extra effort in.
Keep these 5 avenues in mind when preparing potential questions. Of course, they will ultimately have to be tailored to fit the specific position, but these are good jumping-off points:
- Project Phase
This is a great place to start when interviewing for a contract IT job. You always want to get a lay of the land in terms of where the job you’d be contracted to do is at – business case, planning, execution, etc. No one wants to walk in blind on their first day, and in the professional chaos of day-to-day business, it’s to be expected that you’re a pro who’s going to take it upon themselves to get up to speed (and fast).
It also gets the interviewer to stop talking about you and start talking about the business at hand. Psychologically, this is a very effective way to twist the dynamic of the interview – it’s no longer about you, it’s about your interest in the project.
Practically, this also gives you a gauge as to how the team has technically dealt with the project thus far. The more you can anticipate and prepare, the better.
- Key Deliverables
If you’ve already discussed these with the hiring manager – or if they’ve been provided in the job description – there’s no harm in asking for additional ones. Besides giving you a better understanding of the project, it shows your willingness to go above and beyond. Asking for clarification might also unveil larger technology goals that might not have been discussed (but that the business manager is hoping to achieve).
- Immediate Wins
What does success ultimately look like in this contract IT role? This goes beyond the immediate deliverables you’d be responsible for. Asking questions in this area shows that you’re goal-oriented, as well as prepared to be responsible for those goals. Gaining some insight here provides you with a more well-rounded view in determining what it takes to be successful. It also demonstrates your awareness that a job is more than just going through the motions.
This will also compel the hiring manager to articulate exactly what they need. Often this can be information that isn’t found in the job description, which gives you the upper hand
- Team Dynamics
A main component of any IT job is finding solutions to complex problems. Asking about the functionality of the team shows that you’re interested in digging deeper into what success looks like, as well as how your potential coworkers approach these types of issues.
Furthermore, learning about any past successes or failures will help you understand the realities the team has been facing as it relates to day-to-day operations. These might even help you determine whether you want to take the contract or not.
Since this line of questioning can also border on the personal side, you’ll be also to see firsthand how the hiring manager handles it, potentially revealing information about the handling of office politics in general.
Asking about the inevitable challenges that will arise in a contract IT position shows the interviewer you are already visualizing yourself in the job. It makes it clear that you’re mindful of the fact that no job comes without difficulties, nor are you afraid to handle them. You’ll also get a better understanding of the less than ideal aspects of the job: office politics, egos, inefficient processes, etc.
Depending on the contract, being required to adapt to new technology or internal procedures can be the most demanding part of coming on board. Any guidance here can significantly speed up the learning process, and if you land the job, make you more efficient and productive.
- How has this IT project evolved from inception to where it is now?
- Besides the key deliverables, what is the long-term vision for this particular project?
- What metrics are you using to measure this project’s success?
- What are some of the challenges you foresee someone in this IT position facing?
- What technological issues has the team encountered, and how have they dealt with them?
Interview closure tips and sample response:
Depending on the answers you’ve received to the questions above, wrap up the interview by providing a quick 2-sentence response on how you’re a good fit for the role.
For example, you asked what some of the key deliverables are for the role, and the manager responded that they need a Business Requirements document for phase 1 of the project. After acknowledging the manager’s answer, state how you excel in documenting business requirements, or how you successfully documented business requirements on a similar project for company ABC.
For further tips and insights for preparing effective interview questions, read our previous blog Preparing the right questions to ask at the end of an interview
Do you feel confident preparing questions to ask at the end of an interview? ProViso Consulting is here to support your career success! Our expert team can advise you on preparing the right questions for the right roles. View jobs now!