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Secured an interview for a graduate IT role? Whether you’re applying and interviewing for graduate software developer roles, IT support roles or graduate engineering roles, we’ve put together a complete guide of how to answer the most common and challenging IT job interview questions, with example answers.
Preparation is key to any successful job interview, so be sure to check out our top IT interview tips so you’ll feel confident and prepared heading into any graduate IT interview!
Or, if you’re currently applying to graduate IT roles, these interview questions will give you a feel for the skills and characteristics employers are looking for, so you can see if IT roles are right for you. Check out the latest graduate Software, IT and Engineering roles in London and the UK.
To begin most IT interviews, an employer will most likely ask a few general IT interview questions to find out about your motivations, personality and interests. Here are a few of the most common IT-related interview questions and answers:
By asking this question, an employer wants to know that you’re genuinely interested and passionate about working in the IT industry.
Prepare for this question by thinking of the reasons that make you want to pursue a career in IT, is it the problem-solving aspects that you find particularly satisfying, perhaps you enjoy allowing clients or companies to work more efficiently or working in IT you enjoy constantly learning new skills and using new software?
Whatever your reasons, you want to make sure they are relevant to the role you’re applying for, and where you can include a previous experience that highlighted a particular reason you want to work in the IT industry.
Whilst graduate IT jobs are some of the best paid graduate roles, don't mention this in your answer as this shows an employer you're applying to the role for the wrong reasons. Use our below example answers as a guide to answer this IT interview question. If you're wondering 'what are the best paid jobs in the UK?', visit our blog for which graduate jobs pay the most.
Here’s our example answer to this question:
“One of the reasons I’m really passionate about working in IT is that it’s an incredibly satisfying industry to work in, you’re working to assist people and create solutions to help people do their jobs as efficiently as possible. I really enjoy this aspect of IT, it’s highly rewarding and allows you to forge great relationships with colleagues or clients."
"What I find most exciting about IT, is that whether you’re on the creative side of IT or support side, a career in IT will constantly expose you to new developments and concepts. The IT industry is constantly changing and evolving with exciting new ideas and technology and I want to work in an industry that’s always breaking boundaries and improving our everyday lives."
This IT interview question is designed for an employer to gain an insight into your work ethic and your personality, to see if you would be the right cultural fit to the company.
When answering this question think about what really motivates you in a job, it is working with others to complete a task, working towards a target or satisfying someone’s needs?
Whatever motivates you, it’s important to frame it in a way that demonstrates your commitment to a role in IT and shows that you are a great fit for the role. It’s useful to look thoroughly over the job description to look out for the essential skills and traits employers are looking for in the role. Check out our blog post for tips on how to decrypt the job description.
Here’s our example answer:
“I’m particularly motivated by problem-solving, working in IT there are always unexpected errors and challenges that you’ll run into, I enjoy working to find out what the issues are and finding solutions to these errors. Running into errors is also a great way to learn new skills and more efficient methods of carrying out tasks.
I’m also motivated by working alongside like-minded individuals who have the same drive as myself. Through this role I hope to learn from colleagues and work as a team to deliver the best quality IT service.”
Visit our blog for more example answers and tips for answering the interview question ‘what motivates you at work?’.
If you’re applying to entry-level IT jobs, an employer is likely to avoid asking specialised IT questions as you’re just beginning your career in the industry, and instead ask questions to find out about your IT experience and gage the extend of your knowledge.
Here are some entry level IT interview questions an employer may ask with tips on how to best answer them.
An employer may have had multiple applications for a role, so they'll ask this question for a refresher of why they invited you in for an interview in the first place. An interviewer wants to get up to speed with what you know about IT and to find out if you've had any experience that would make you a great fit for the role.
When answering this question, think of it as a short summary of your graduate CV, mention if you undertook a relevant degree to the job or have had any previous work experience in IT.
You want to mention any of the key skills you learnt, any software you know how to use and mention any aspects that you really enjoyed about your degree or a role, this will help show an employer you have a genuine interest in the industry.
If you haven't had any previous IT experience and your degree isn't specifically related to IT, highlight any strengths and achievements that would make you a great fit for the role and mention that through this role you want to gain more IT experience and that you're really passionate about starting a career in the industry.
Visit our blog for more tips on how to answer the “tell me about yourself” interview question.
Computer skills are essential to all entry-level IT roles, an employer may ask questions to find out more about your IT skills and any software you know how to use.
It's important to mention that an employer will most likely have invited you for an interview as they think you have the right skills and knowledge that would make you a great fit for the role, so they will most likely ask computer skills interview questions that you are experienced in, to find out more information about the programmes you know how to use.
Whilst for every job, the IT skills required will differ, here are some of the most common entry-level computer skills interview questions an employer may ask:
When answering these questions, don’t exaggerate your level of technical knowledge, but be honest and explain what you know confidently and clearly. It’s also beneficial to mention if you have any experience with a specialised program that an employer is not asking about, as this demonstrates your enthusiasm for computer technology and shows that you know how to use different programs which may give you the advantage against other candidates.
If you have taken fluency tests in programs like Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint, and your results were strong, bring a copy along to the interview. This will help demonstrate your knowledge and will also help aid your answers to questions by having statistics to mention.
If you do have gaps in your technical knowledge, explain to the employer that you’re able to learn new programs swiftly, and give an example of where you’ve done so in the past. Another good way to turn a gap in your knowledge into a positive is to show your enthusiasm and explain to the interviewer that you haven’t had the chance yet to learn X programme, but that you really want to the chance to become experienced through this role.
Visit our blog to find out more about the skills and qualifications required for graduate technology jobs.
If you’re interviewing for a more advanced and specialist IT role, the interviewer may ask IT technical interview questions, as it’s likely that you’ve had previous experience in the industry and are highly skilled.
The interviewer may also ask competency-based interview questions, which require you to draw on your previous experience to give an example where you carried out a task or demonstrated a skill.
We’ve put together some of the most common technical IT interview questions an employer may ask with advice on how to best answer them for a variety of IT roles:
SOAP and REST are two web service protocols that developers should know. One of the key differences is that SOAP uses XML while REST also supports text, JSON and other formats. When answering this question, it’s important to demonstrate a solid understanding of both web services and to also comment on which one you think is better, giving evidence to support your answer.
Most web developers will need to work with a SQL Server or MYSQL, by asking this question an interviewer wants to gauge your experience and knowledge of SQL. A good way to answer this question is to draw on any experience you’ve had using SQL mentioning any software you used and any code you can write. If you haven’t had any practice with SQL, prepare for this question by researching what SQL is, it’s main goals and how you would work with a SQL Server in this role. Find more SQL interview questions and answers here.
Problem-solving is at the heart of web development, through this interview question an employer wants to judge how you'd break down a situation and what your plan of action would be. A great way to answer this question is to draw from a previous experience you've had in a role where an application has stopped working. Mention the steps you took, any problems you ran into and how you solved them to ensure the application was back up and running as soon as possible.
Active Directory is a system used in many Desktop Support roles, here an interviewer wants to find out about your knowledge of the system and if you've had any previous experience using it. Here's our example answer to this question:
“Active Directory helps to organise the users of a company and its computers, it ensures that the software and the computer are secure. It also authenticates and authorises all computers and users in a window domain network. In my previous role, I used Active Directory to manage many different functions such as creating admin users, connecting to external devices like printers and scanners.”
Safe Mode is another commonly used system in Desktop Support roles. It's important to show the interviewer you have a solid understanding of the system and its functions. Here's our example answer to this question:
“Safe Mode in Windows is an option that is used for diagnosing the Operating System and removing any spyware from it. It is also used for troubleshooting the drivers and configuring the software. It allows you to remove unwanted programs from the OS and run diagnostic which you can't do in normal mode.”
This is one of the most common PC support technician interview questions an employer may ask. When answering this question, it's important to mention that excellent customer service and communication skills are essential to IT technician jobs, to successfully convey information in a clear way to colleagues or clients who may not have the technical understanding that the IT department has.
Some companies may ask you to take part in an IT aptitude test as part of your application process. These tests are designed to evaluate your aptitude for a career in IT, to help an employer understand your strengths and identify any areas which you may need additional training in.
Most IT aptitude tests are based around Microsoft Office skills, testing your knowledge of programs such as Excel and Word. These tests aren’t designed to catch you out or be highly complex, but they are a good way for employers to know that you can hit the ground running with administrative skills as soon as you start.
Most tests ask self-reporting questions, scenario-based questions and skill-testing questions. For the self-report and scenario questions you may be asked to choose responses that best apply to you or best describe how you'd respond to a situation. For the skill-testing questions, you'll need to rely on your IT knowledge to select the correct answer or method.
Some good ways to prepare for IT aptitude tests, are to use sites with practice questions - JobTestPrep is a great site with lots of example practice questions and video tutorials with explanations and solving tips. It's also beneficial to spend some time before the test familiarising yourself with all aspects of Microsoft Office and if there are any areas you're unsure of, watch YouTube tutorials.
Another part of the application process an employer may arrange is a phone interview. These usually take place before a face to face interview, designed for an employer to quickly get to know more about you to see if they'd like to invite you in for an in-person interview.
Here are some of the most common IT phone interview questions to prepare for:
Check out our blog for tips on how to best answer graduate phone interviews.
At the end of your interview, the employer will most likely ask if you have any questions for them. It’s important to ask the interviewer questions as it shows that you're keen to learn more about the company and that you're serious about the role. Here are some good IT interview questions to ask the employer:
Check out our blog for more top interview questions you should be asking the interviewer.
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Whatever type of graduate IT role you’re interviewing for, use our information technology interview questions and answers to prepare for your interviews and confidently show an employer you’re the right fit for the role and company. Check out our Interview Questions Hub for more of the most common interview questions and answers.
Or if you want to start applying for graduate IT roles but your CV isn’t up to scratch, visit our Student and Graduate CV hub for free CV templates and top tips for a standout graduate CV.