Screening with Intention: New Answers to Listen for When Recruiting Technologists

The pandemic presented a gamut of new challenges for organizations and technologists and opportunities to think critically, experiment and adjust in a time of uncertainty. Recruiters searching for tech talent in today’s highly competitive market know they can learn a lot about the kind of employee a potential candidate will be by asking the right screening questions, but these well-established questions warrant new answers.

How technologists responded to the difficulties they experienced in their organizations and workplaces over the last two years will be even more telling than the examples they were sharing before this time in history. Here are some new answers recruiters can listen for when screening technologists.

Motivation for Exploring New Employment Opportunities

Determining the motivation behind a technologists’ desire to change employers has always been important and the pandemic has given this question even more weight. Millions of U.S. workers are still quitting their jobs and the motivations behind those opting for a change in employers is complicated. Candidates who can articulate their motivation without blame and framed as an opportunity to enhance their career are the ones recruiters will want to keep for the next round.

What you’ll want to hear: A candidate that acknowledges what is within their control and what isn’t and takes responsibility for how they react in difficult situations. For example, a candidate who recognizes the industry they currently work was severely impacted by the pandemic and articulates that they are looking for more stability in their career is taking responsibility for their own needs and not placing blame on any person or their current organization.  

What you won’t want to hear: Venting about their current team, manager or work situation and blaming others are red flags that this candidate may not be able to take responsibility and consider the bigger picture. Especially in times of crisis, you want employees who can work through difficult times as a proactive, strategic-thinking team player.

Responses and Reactions to Recent Difficult Situations

Like all professionals, technologists have been through a lot the last couple of years – furloughs and layoffs, increased responsibility and workload, shifting to remote work (in sometimes less-than-ideal environments). While none of this is ideal, it’s our new reality and a candidate’s response to difficult situations like these can tell you a lot about the kind of employee they will be.

What you’ll want to hear: How a candidatethought critically and adapted to make the best of a difficult situation. Candidates who can give demonstrable examples of how they adapted and continued to think strategically, when it would have been more comfortable to sit back or lay low, show resilience and perseverance.

What you won’t want to hear: Candidates whose answers focus on individual survival without concern for their teams or projects may indicate an inclination for putting themselves above others at all costs – a major red flag for organizations that value teamwork, community and belonging.

New, Timely Questions About Your Organization

Recruiters know it is a telling sign if the candidate has zero questions at the end of the screening interview. Just as the pandemic has given recruiters new answers to look for from candidates, candidates are evaluating potential employers in new ways too.

What you’ll want to hear: Beyond listening for genuine curiosity about your organization and expectations around the role, listen for hard-hitting questions about how your organization adapted during the pandemic and how you responded to industry-specific impacts. These types of questions show the candidate is engaged in evaluating your organization as a potential employer (and looking for potential red flags too).

What you won’t want to hear: No questions, of course, or questions that lead you to wonder about the sincerity of the candidate’s interest in your organization and the role. For example, a candidate who only asks questions that focus solely on compensation and benefits may not be considering how the pandemic impacted the industry your organization operates in and how they would be contributing to rebuilding efforts within the role they are interviewing for.

Wondering what else to expect when recruiting and hiring tech talent in today’s competitive market? Check out Dice’s 2022 Tech Salary Report for data and insights on technologists’ salary expectations (by location, role and skill, their preference for specific benefits and more.