Why this matters:

The level of programming experience you’re looking for will vary depending on the seniority level of the role, but understanding the basics of programming is essential for all IT roles. Hearing what the candidate loves about certain languages can also help you spot their passion for IT and the unique perspectives they can bring to the role.

What to listen for:

  • Working knowledge of languages such as JavaScript, Python, and SQL
  • A willingness to learn new languages as required
  • Understands when to use one language over another given the context

Why this matters:

Source or version control is an important element of software configuration management, allowing IT support to engage in more detailed editing than a typical workflow would allow. Candidates should have experience with this practice and be comfortable working with source control management systems.

What to listen for:

  • Mention of a range of tools, including Git, Apache Subversion, and Mercurial
  • Ability to explain the core benefits of using preferred tools
  • Strong answers will demonstrate the business benefit of using a certain tool

Why this matters:

Cyberattacks are on the rise, and companies of all shapes and sizes can be targeted. A secure network safeguards against malicious attacks and keeps your company’s most sensitive information safe from prying eyes. As such, many IT support professionals will be actively involved and invested in improving network security.

What to listen for:

  • A proactive approach to improving network security
  • Measures such as two-step user authentication, a firewall, or an encrypted server
  • Mention of the importance of ongoing monitoring and maintenance

Why this matters:

IT is often the backbone of a well-functioning organization. Great IT professionals don’t just fix issues and ensure the smooth running of existing systems — they actively seek to make them better. Doing so requires these professionals to successfully sell their ideas to stakeholders, making great communication skills a must.

What to listen for:

  • Evidence of being proactive in identifying improvement opportunities
  • Approach for securing stakeholder buy-in and willingness to ask follow-up questions as necessary
  • Metrics or anecdotes that demonstrate positive business impact

Why this matters:

Troubleshooting is an integral part of any IT role, so you want to know that your new hire will approach it methodically. With a firm strategy in place, they’ll be able to resolve simple issues quickly and get to the bottom of even the most complex of problems, implementing smart solutions that minimize costly downtime.

What to listen for:

  • Method for gathering relevant facts, issue diagnosis, and finding and testing a solution
  • Initial steps taken to save time such as quick, low overhead fixes
  • An aptitude for consistent and effective problem-solving

Why this matters:

Some pushback is to be expected in any job. Candidates who are confident and passionate about what they do won’t fold under scrutiny. They’ll always stand by their ideas, especially if they truly believe those ideas will improve the company’s processes, while still taking feedback on board to refine their recommendations.

What to listen for:

  • Thoughtful responses for managing pushback to compelling ideas
  • Ability to utilize feedback to craft more convincing arguments
  • Willingness to positively navigate skeptical and negative feedback

Why this matters:

This question tests for whether a candidate is able to bring something valuable and new to your existing IT team. Candidates with diverse experience are often able to share different and better ways of working that can make your team more effective.

What to listen for:

  • References to attractive work style and preferences
  • Unique perspectives that can expand the team mindset
  • Demonstrates an analytical mindset and sharp insights

Why this matters:

This question will give you an insight into the candidate’s ability to keep pace with emerging technology, while also probing their problem-solving skills. Regardless of the technology in question, they should have a clear idea of the steps they’d take to set themselves and the project up for success.

What to listen for:

  • Ability to walk through steps taken to gain information, such as seeking internal training
  • Process for defining scope and technical requirements
  • Willingness to accept difficult challenges

Why this matters:

IT support often needs to explain complex technical concepts to business leaders and other nontechnical staff, so strong communication skills are important. Depending on the technology they’ll be working with, you may want to ask them to explain higher-level concepts, such as machine learning. The important thing is not their expertise — it’s their ability to help others understand.

What to listen for:

  • Simple, universally understood language
  • Avoidance of any industry-specific jargon
  • Patience and an ability to engage in an informative dialogue
chatting over desk with laptops and coffee

Contact a sales specialist.

By submitting this form, you agree that we may use the data you provide to contact you with information related to your request/submission and LinkedIn's products and services. If you are a LinkedIn member, you can control the messages you receive from LinkedIn in your settings. If you are a guest, you can unsubscribe from LinkedIn marketing emails at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the email. Your data will be used subject to LinkedIn's Privacy Policy.