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How to prepare for tough interview questions

Rich Hein | May 9, 2014
We spoke with industry experts to get the advice that will help you craft better answers to what are some of the most common, and difficult, interview questions.

Question #8 - Are you a leader?
When you get to the upper echelons of IT, it becomes less about the technological capabilities and more about how you motivate, lead your people, and collaborate with those around you. Think about your career and resume and try to find a few anecdotes that demonstrate your leadership skills. You need to make sure the interviewer understands that you have what it takes to get all your subordinates and coworkers moving in the same direction and the wherewithal to get your projects across the finish line.

Question #9 - Can you effectively communicate highly technical information to someone who doesn't understand programming?
When you get to the senior level of technology management, the game changes. You'll speak with people from all aspects of the company and you'll need to be able to speak a different language with many of them. You could, for example, be explaining the intricacies of the development project at hand to the CIO, in this case you'd want to cover only the high level tech information and focus more on how it helps the business. In the same day you may need to meet with the developers to figure out why the developers are telling marketing that they can't have a feature built into the project. This may be a high-level, in-depth, tech-heavy conversation. With the in-depth knowledge of why, you now need to explain this to the people in marketing in a way and language that they understand. Then there is explaining things to the end customer who will have a completely different perspective, and different set of communication skills and needs.

The best way to answer this question is with preparation and knowledge of your industry and job. Choose something you are well-versed in like cloud technology or virtualization and explain it as you would to a non-tech person. It should be, short, succinct and understandable. Practice, practice, and more practice is key to getting this right.

Question #10 - I see you were with your last company for 5 years and you weren't promoted. Any idea why?
For this question our experts advise that interviewees should speak about what they have control over. Stick to things like competencies, and capabilities and the accomplishments that have been achieved. "You should acknowledge that while you consider yourself to be ambitious, that you are also aware that companies promote people at different rates and for different reasons. Finally, you should mention that you are pleased with your position as long as you are experiencing growth and delivering value for an organization and being appropriately recognized as such," says Saccal.


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