The Technical Interview Questions You Need to Ask Any Potential Hire

The Technical Interview Questions You Need to Ask Any Potential Hire

These days, many companies are learning that they need to have basic knowledge of digital technology for most tasks or projects. Companies are utilizing as much remote talent as possible. Having access to a global pool of independent workers has become paramount to their success.

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed hiring models across the world. In many ways, it has also shown the benefits of working with distributed teams. This evolution in hiring strategies has caused a shift in evaluating workers during interviews.

If your company seeks to bring on more team members during this time, technical interview questions are crucial. Accordingly, you’ll need to assess every potential hire for technical comfort and ability. Part of the process is adapting questions posed in technical interviews and using them to assess other professionals.

In this article, we’ll share the most crucial technical questions for assessing any candidate.

1. “Tell me about a recent project you worked on. What kind of programs did you use to complete it?”

At first glance, this one might seem too generic or broad to reveal much of value about a potential hire, but it is listed first for a good reason. For your company to access the maximum benefits of hiring remote workers, you need to know that the team members you bring on have experience working with the tools and platforms that support your projects.

Very little can get done if new team members do not have a common technical language to speak to each other. The world of remote work moves at an extremely fast pace. Most potential hires you encounter will be self-educated about how to best execute their tasks. However, you want to go in knowing that the person you hire has a digital vocabulary that translates across your company.

With program development and new avenues for project completion emerging almost daily, the reality of remote work is that it requires a measure of technical agility that can easily pivot and apply to new platforms.

While it is never a good idea to dismiss a potential team member on the sole grounds that they have never utilized a given tool or program. One should keep in mind that any worker who does not have those specific skills will need extra training, which can represent a sizable drawback.

For this reason, look for workers who can exhibit the ability to learn or self-educate. Strong answers in this area may include name-dropping programs in your company’s digital retinue. Even a potential team member who has not used the company-specific software may answer well if they can draw from their past experience.

You may also want to engage independent professionals on a remote work marketplace, like Upwork. Top talent bid to work on your project, so they already know what is expected of them.

2. “What are some of the applications or extensions you have downloaded to make you more productive?”

Establishing that a potential team member has working knowledge of basic programs is never enough. One of the most valuable skills remote workers have is how good they are at managing their output. Out of all the pertinent interview questions to ask remote talent, you can learn a lot by discovering where your interviewee stands on productivity enhancement.

This kind of technical question reveals what a worker may know about time management, plug-ins designed to ensure accuracy, and distraction-deterrent extensions. Good answers to a question like this might include intricate knowledge of add-ons like Grammarly, TrackingTime, and OneTab. Familiarity with Toggl, Slack, Asana, Todoist, or an equivalent is also a good sign.

You might even frame this question in a manner relevant to the tasks the worker will handle and see if they mention any extensions or applications. This allows you to gauge their real-time response to what would be most helpful working on a routine project.

3. “How do you keep your remote communication skills current?”

As many of your potential hires will likely have worked in fields affected by the pandemic, your company’s hiring strategy should also shift. In-person skills may not translate to video or digital communication, so it is helpful to know how your new team members will stay in contact.

A great answer to this technical question might be an in-depth description of how they’ve used remote communication tools in the past. Another great response is to mention other remote tools or evidence of ways they have shown growth and leadership on a past remote team.

Since your team will likely be using remote communication tools, you could throw in a bonus question related to specific tools. Look for candidates who do their homework on remote communication applications. They should show a commitment to finding better ways of remotely communicating with team members.

4. “What modes of digital storage are you in the habit of using?”

Questions about time management and discipline are important, but knowing how they manage their work is also valuable. It doesn’t do remote team members any good to finish work on time if that work gets lost in the digital ether before it gets turned in. You need to ask how and where potential hires store and save projects. This is a vital question when hiring for remote work. This can impact the culture of remote work but can also have an affect on digital security, product quality, and even trade secrets.

You might encounter a truly gifted content creator who is in the habit of storing all of their drafts on their computer’s desktop. What happens when that computer crashes or refuses to turn on?

By the same token, hearing that a talented graphic designer puts all of their creations only into Dropbox, with no additional saves elsewhere, can mean that they only have access to their creations when the internet is working. Likewise, all of your team members would need to have Dropbox for them to be swiftly shared.

A strong answer to this technical question would be when the potential hire names at least one offline storage method (USB, external hard drive, etc.) and at least one web-based storage platform. This way, you won’t have to fear that an entire day’s work (or worse, an entire project) has been lost to an unexpected internet crash. Or that valuable company project details are sitting out as fair game for anyone’s eyes.

Ultimately, a worker who is responsible and disciplined with storage may be the best candidate for an open position. This one positive trait eliminates so many negative outcomes.

The better path to technically qualified talent

Hiring strategies are updating every bit as rapidly as cutting-edge technology. The technical questions you need to ask any potential hire will continue to evolve with the workplace landscape. The good news is that every company is gaining access to a wider and wider pool of truly global talent.

If you want to work with top independent professionals who belong to an entity genuinely invested in remote independent workers, look no further than Upwork. Providing immediate access to a world of vetted independent talent is only part of our offerings.

Upwork also houses useful articles and ebooks dealing with all aspects of navigating remote work and guides for starting with a distributed team at any level. No matter where you are in your journey toward remote work, Upwork has the most up-to-date information for every angle of remote team development.


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The Technical Interview Questions You Need to Ask Any Potential Hire
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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