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For great technical behavioral interview results, you need to ask the right questions. In this post, we provide 16 of our favorite behavioral interview questions for technical roles—with questions specifically for network engineers, business analysts, developers and database administrators. They’ll help you distinguish the contenders for your jobs from the pretenders. Why do we like these questions?

  • They reveal candidates’ relevant technical skills and experience.
  • They provide candidates with a quality experience by focusing on their accomplishments.
  • Instead of being hypothetical—what candidates would or might do—these questions focus on specific actions—what candidates did, which is far more predictive of what they’re likely to do in the future.

It’s important to note that when you ask these questions, it’s vital to ensure they are fully answered so that you get complete behavioral examples. We recommend using the SCOPE Model. If a candidate doesn’t complete components of SCOPE for a given question, ask a follow-up question to get the information you need.
SCOPE Model:
S — Situation; describe a specific situation;
C — Challenges  any problems or challenges faced;
O — Outcomes or specific results from the action(s);
P — Processes the candidate used to create and deliver the results
E — Evaluation; explain and evaluate what was learned from the experience

Questions for a Network Engineer Role

  1. Your resume says that you worked with Wireshark.  Describe the most challenging network issue you took the lead to solve, including what made it challenging, your initial plan of action, how you adapted that plan to improve the result, and the outcome of your effort. Please use the whiteboard to draw the network topology.
  1. Tell me about your most valuable success with using remote monitoring software in one of your past projects. Which software were you using? Describe the most stubborn difficulties you faced and how you overcame them.
  1. Please tell me what version of Hadoop you have used, which tools in the Hadoop stack were utilized, and the size of data from your largest implementation in terms of GB/TB/PB.
  1. What is your “go to”  IDE (integrated development environment) and why? Be sure to include at least two examples from past projects.

Questions for a Business Analyst Role

  1. About how many times have you used LucidChart? What percent of the time do you use LucidChart vs. traditional Visio? Any other charting tool you rely on? Tell me about the most successful instance where you used LucidChart, Visio, or some other diagramming tool to clarify a complex set of entities and relationships.
  1. Give me your best example of using Puppet, and describe any difficulties you faced. On reflection, what measures could you have taken to minimize the difficulties with this configuration management software? Tell me about the configuration assignment where you put what you learned to best use.
  1. As you know, the job position requires the candidate with experience in MongoDB. Please describe two projects/assignments where you use of MongoDB was most helpful for achieving overall system objectives? Did anyone comment on your DB? Who? What did they say?

Questions for a Developer Role

  1. Which three projects best demonstrate your skill level with Ruby on Rails development? Please demonstrate using the built-in code editor.
  1. Explain how you made the best use of Mysql in the context of a project you received positive compliments.
  1. Tell me about the most puzzling programming challenge you solved over the past year. How did you tackle it? How do you quantify the success achieved?  
  1. Describe the most critical advantages of Oracle Java over C++.
  1. Tell me about the scripting language you learned that has been most useful for you. Please include how you decided to learn this language, the steps that went about learning the language (include timeframes), and describe your best application of that language to a project that delivered strong end-user value.

Questions for a Database Administrator Role

  1. Tell me about the step by step details of project with company XYZ. (Pick a project that you found relevant from their resume or their response to a warm-up question.)
  1. When have you worked with PowerBuilder? Describe what efficiencies it provides for database-driven business applications and elaborate on your most complex project leveraging PowerBuilder.
  1. Describe a problem that you faced during go-live of an Inventory & Warehouse Management system. Please give me an example detailing how you managed changes or change requests to the system, as the ERP system administrator.
  1. Your resume indicates you’re experienced with NetBackup. Share with me the latest version you’ve utilized and its main features, along with the operating systems and server platform types you were backing up.

Better Technical Hires Getting full answers to the technical behavior interview questions above—and others like them—can make a tremendous difference in your IT hiring results.  A landmark University of Notre Dame study found that behavioral interview results are 55% predictive of future on-the-job behavior, compared to just 10% for traditional interviews.

Amanda Cole

Amanda Cole

Vice President at eTeki, specializes in recruiting and training contingent resources, as well as leading organizations leveraging this type of workforce for multi-million dollar service delivery.