June 22, 2021

One Question You Should Always Ask Every Tech Candidate


Recruiting top talent can be difficult, especially when looking for professionals who are truly passionate about the work they do. Those candidates make the perfect addition to any organization and contribute greatly to a company’s success. We asked several clients what question(s) they ask candidates to gauge their passion. Check out their responses.

“I like to ask candidates what they do to learn about new technologies: who they follow and what sources they read.  You can learn a lot about how they respond and that leads to follow on discussions which really allows their passion to come through, which makes for a high quality gauge that’s hard to fake.

Also, I always make sure to ask about their salary history . . .” [He’s joking – obviously he’s seen our flurry of content regarding the new Illinois Salary History Ban!]

Ryan Horner | Managing Director, Technology

One North Interactive

** fun fact- Ryan was one of the first placements in Hirewell history.

“My favorite question to gauge a candidate’s passion for technology is, ‘What technology has recently come out that you’d like to learn or have recently learned.’ If the candidate doesn’t go into why on their own, I’ll follow up with, ‘What excites you about it?’

I enjoy learning more about what motivates people, and the unique tech people are learning. There isn’t a wrong answer to this question unless a candidate can’t answer it or tells me about new features in some out of date version of a framework from years ago.”

Nick Petrovits | VP of Engineering


#1, I ask about their personal projects, or to tell me about some interesting tech they have read about recently.   If they don’t have any, or can’t think of any, then that is an indicator that maybe they don’t have this passion.

#2, Rank yourself between a number of areas (typically frontend, backend, db, UI, etc.)  you get 30 points. Mainly this helps me to quickly get to know where they see their zone of genius, and where I should expect to see holes – it saves me from asking questions where they aren’t strong, or at the least, helps me understand why certain responses aren’t strong.   This question builds empathy for the candidate through the rest of the interview.

Kevin Meinert | VP of Engineering


We’d love to hear from you.  Do you have any tips you’d like to share or other questions?  I’d love to hear from you – mark@hirewell.com.

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