In the world of IT job or contract gig seeking, we often focus a lot of energy on resumes, technical summaries, networking, and other key facets to landing an interview. While all of these are important, perhaps more important—especially when it comes to in-demand .NET developer positions—is how you handle the interview itself. For many IT pros, the interview process is multitiered. Hiring managers not only want to know that you are an expert in your field of technology—they want to ensure you are a good fit for their team overall, based on your work history and nontechnical skills.
Though firms like ESP IT will conduct your technical screen and review your overall qualifications before sending your resume to one of their clients, you should still be prepared to answer a variety of interview questions when meeting with a hiring manager. To help ease this process, we’ve compiled a list—broken into three categories of what hiring managers most want to know—to help .NET developers land their next great opportunity.
Technical Screening Questions: Are you a good fit for this opportunity based on your technical expertise?
Whether or not you have already received a technical screen from your staffing firm, most companies will want to assess your IT skills in some way. This may entail writing code for a .NET lead to review, or undergoing “quizzing” from members of a company’s tech team. Either way, you can succeed in this portion of the interview by preparing answers to a few key technical screening questions—ones that even a non-technical employer might ask.
1. Why do you prefer to use .NET over other frameworks? What do you like/not like about working with it?
This question is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge in an open-ended way. Explain when and why you’ve found .NET was better to use than other frameworks by giving specific examples—particularly drawing from times in your career you’ve been given a choice. By expanding on and justifying your use of .NET—while simultaneously acknowledging its drawbacks—you’ll prove your expertise falls in line with the needs of the tech opening.
2. How do you stay up to date on the latest technology developments?
Recruiting experts at ESP IT say this question is among the most important—if not the most important—of any you may answer during an interview. Hiring managers want to know that you stay current in technology by hearing specific, substantive examples of the ways you improve your development skills. Have you taken any new or cutting edge certifications? What hobby projects have you been working on lately? Think of any example that will validate your pursuit of the latest .NET developments.
3. Describe some bad code you’ve read, or fixed.
This question is an easy way to determine whether you can tell the difference between clean, well-functioning code and messy, broken code. You might think the answer obvious—as a .NET developer, you’re a coding expert! But by asking this question your interviewer is not only looking to quickly ascertain your coding prowess—he or she can parse an underlying question: do you have the determination and commitment to write good code, and fix bad code, or will you “let good enough be” when inheriting a challenge? Your character and technical expertise go hand-in-hand.
Employment History Questions: Are you a good fit for this opportunity based on your employment preferences and past experiences?
Prior to an interview, you usually clarify certain working preferences—like your interest in contract vs. direct hire work—with your IT recruiter. However, there are other details about who you are as an IT pro, and the kind of technical projects you enjoy working on, that interviewers will seek to discover. This portion of the interview is as much about you, and whether or not you will enjoy certain work, as it is about the company you are interviewing with. Preparing some employment history questions ahead of time will help you find you’re your best fit.
1. What was the most enjoyable project you’ve worked on?
You’ve had your share of favorite, and not-so-favorable projects. But before reaching for examples from projects most relevant to the position you are interviewing for, note that it’s less important what the project was than why you enjoyed working on it. Did it give you the opportunity to flex certain skills—like algorithms, front-end, or database skills—more than others? Did the project involve a lot of collaboration, or more individual tinkering? The reason can be as technical or as personal as you like, as long as it speaks to the things that bring you fulfillment in your work.
2. Which do you prefer: the analysis, design, and deployment phases of an IT project, or the development phase of a specific, individual task?
The real question being asked, is “would you prefer to work in a role, with the flexibility to wear multiple hats and possibly move into a different role down the line, or do you feel most comfortable taking on a role with a clear job description and boundaries?” Your answer to this question could make or break your likelihood of receiving a job or contract offer. But that doesn’t mean you should be dishonest. Rather, keep this question at the forefront of your mind during your searching phase to ensure you are seeking out opportunities that best suit your abilities and interests.
3. Why do you think you would be a good fit for this opportunity?
Not all interview questions have to be tricky or surprising. The easiest way for an interviewer to assess your interest in and qualifications for a role is to ask you point blank. Draw on your previous examples of success working in similar roles to show your technical competency, while making sure to highlight specific or unique things about the particular role or company that you are excited about. Enthusiasm can go a long way in showcasing engagement and culture fit.
Open-Ended Story Questions: Are you a good fit for this opportunity based on your non-technical skills?
Despite your expertise as a .NET Developer, showcasing your non-technical skills is an important success factor during an interview. The most revealing way for an interviewer to assess these skills is by asking you open-ended, or “story” questions. These questions give you the opportunity to draw on your past experiences to emphasize your adaptability, critical thinking, communication, and other important soft skills. Come up with some story examples in advance to boost your confidence and chances of success.
1. Tell me about three times you failed
The fact that you’ve made mistakes in the past isn’t significant—but what you learned as a result of those mistakes is. Showcase your growth by reflecting on your decision making process, and the ways you will handle a certain situation differently in the future. Not only can your response help you establish your adaptability, but an acknowledgement of past mistakes displays a sense of humility and willingness to receive instruction and criticism, which employers value.
2. What would you do if you didn’t think you could meet a project deadline?
Use this question as an opportunity to unveil your potential, as well as your critical thinking and time management skills. “What if,” scenario questions are designed to challenge you to respond more organically—because the situation is hypothetical, you really don’t have a concrete answer, and it’s ok to acknowledge that. Show creativity and thoughtfulness in your response and you’ll win over your audience.
3. Tell me about a time a project allowed you to flex your non-technical strengths.
Have you ever had to step into a leadership role to ensure your team met a project deadline? Or, think about times when you were given the chance to work very independently, or collaborate extensively. Whatever the experience, choose a positive example of a time you were stretched, and thrived working outside of your comfort zone. Take any chance you get to affirm your communication skills and well roundedness as an IT pro.
The key takeaway from any interview is not discovering if you can succeed at a job, but whether or not you’re the right fit for it. By displaying your technical and non-technical competency with thoughtful responses to interview questions, you can establish your value in a well-rounded way, and land your next great .NET gig.
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