Helpful IT Interview Tips: How to Answer IT Job Interview Questions

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover useful tips and effective ways to research and prepare for potential questions during an IT interview to help you grow your career in technology.

[Featured Image] Two women are shaking hands as they meet in an office for an IT interview.

Any job interview requires planning and research, but you can benefit from knowing tips on how to answer IT interview questions specifically. Being ready for unexpected questions and suggestions on what the interviewer is looking for can help set you apart from the competition when landing your desired job. 

What are employers looking for in an IT candidate?

Because IT covers so many facets, many employers are looking for candidates who are well-versed in different areas of technology, programs, and applications. As with most jobs, your education and experience help determine if you are the best candidate. Still, when it comes to careers in IT, employers also focus on your level of knowledge when it comes to technology. Most companies want you to be familiar with their specific technology and general IT knowledge. 

Technology is a constantly changing industry, so you need to keep up with programs and applications and demonstrate your ability to adapt and grow by keeping on top of industry trends. In addition to answering questions about your background and experiences, when hiring an IT professional, companies are also interested in your human skills to ensure you have the communication and problem-solving capabilities for the job. 

IT job interview tips

A job interview is a great opportunity not only for the employer to learn more about you, your background, and your skills but it also offers you a chance to learn more about the company, what it is looking for in a candidate, and if the role is the right fit for you. You can take advantage of basic ways to prepare for an interview and gain an advantage with a future employer. By entering an interview with confidence about what to expect, you will be ready to use your skill set to prove why you would be a great employee and a benefit to the company. 

Be prepared.

When going to your job interview, be fully prepared to use this as an opportunity to show why you are the best candidate for the job. Start by dressing professionally for the interview. This first step will help build your confidence, which will come across when speaking with the employer. Make sure you have copies of your resumes, a pen and paper to show your interest by taking notes, and a list of some pre-written questions you may have come up with when researching the position. 

Give examples of how you are a problem solver.

Many IT roles require you to demonstrate how you solve complex problems and share your thought process. Come prepared with a few situations when a problem arose and examples of how you dealt with it. Also, be ready for any follow-up questions the interviewer may have, and keep your answers brief but concise. This allows the interviewer to learn more not only about your problem-solving abilities but also your work style. 

Prove your collaboration skills. 

Many IT employers work with a team, so highlight your collaboration skills. Share examples of how you have been open to working with others to reach a common goal as a team. Be sure you use an example relevant to the position you are interviewing for. The IT team often makes decisions that affect the company, not just its department, so show the interviewer how you work with others to develop solutions to help all company employees.

Research the company. 

To properly prepare for any interview, it is beneficial to research the position you are interviewing for and the company as a whole. This helps you better understand the qualities the employer wants in a candidate and how to show the interviewer that you have what they are looking for. Reread the job description to review which relevant skills you have that correlate with the role. This is also a good way to find out if you have any questions about the position, which will help you clear up any expectations, but it is also an opportunity to show your interest in the position. 

Brush up on the latest technology. 

No matter what IT position you are interviewing for, brushing up on the latest technology is essential. While many roles will expect you to have advanced technical skills and a grasp of the latest trends, at the very least, having a handle on fundamental concepts in various technologies is imperative. Understanding programming languages, data analytics, and computer networking are essential skills IT interviewers are looking for in a candidate. More advanced topics include the latest software, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, cloud computing, blockchain, and cybersecurity, to name a few skills. Even if the role doesn’t call for certain aspects, it shows you are motivated and well-informed. 

Questions asked during an IT interview

Employers will ask certain questions during an interview to see if you are the right candidate for the job. Keep in mind this doesn’t just depend on your background or education. Employers are looking for team players with human skills such as communication, flexibility, and career goals that align with the position and the company. Potential employers can learn a lot about you by asking various questions, such as general questions about your background and technical skills to see if they match the job role and behavioral questions to see if you fit into the corporate culture. 

General questions

Interviewers usually start with basic questions to find out more about your background, why you want the particular job, and your personality in general. These often include the interviewer asking you to tell more about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and your goals. The next steps may include general questions more pointed toward the role you are interviewing, including telling them about a time in your career when you worked under pressure, what IT programs you most recently used, and how you stay up to date on technology. These questions help the interviewer better understand your qualifications. 

Technical questions

After covering the basics, many IT interviews involve questions that will help you understand your skills and knowledge in technology and specifically for the available position. The questions will vary depending on your responsibilities, so it helps to review the job description before the interview. Questions can differ from your basic computer program knowledge to determine if you have the skills necessary for the position. With this technology, you are proficient in knowing specific programs and other systems you are comfortable with.

Behavioural questions

Behavioural questions focus on your human skills, which helps the hiring employer learn more about how well you will fit in at the company. These may include questions relating to personal attributes and work ethics, including teamwork, adaptability, time management, communication, and values. These questions allow you to showcase how you would act in certain situations. For instance, the interviewer may ask you to give an example of how you work under pressure, describe how you demonstrate your ability to collaborate with team members, and explain your responses or actions in other real-life situations. 

What jobs are available in IT?

Many jobs are available in IT, with a range of general and specific required skills. If you are applying for an upper-level position in IT, your knowledge of all aspects of the job role is essential. For an entry-level position in IT or one that doesn’t require in-depth technical skills, you can build upon your people skills more than past projects. 


When interviewing for an entry-level role in IT, you can focus on behavioral questions during the interview to show why you are a good candidate. This allows you to focus on your ability to work well with others, problem-solve, and handle difficult situations. They may not be in IT, but these skills easily translate to a different industry. You can also discuss your career goals, focusing on how the potential role you are interviewing for can help you start your new career and how you can add value to the company. Some entry-level jobs  to help you start your career path in IT include:

  • Computer technician: This is a good role to demonstrate your problem-solving skills because it requires resolving issues when setting up computer systems, including connecting the computer with all networks and software.

  • IT support specialist: In this role, you are responsible for dealing with daily technology and troubleshooting any problems that may arise with internal employees and clients. In this role, you usually work with new hires, teaching them how to use the company’s programs, and are available to help with any IT requests or questions. 

  • Service desk analyst: This role is integral because you are the contact person for co-workers and clients. You answer questions, ensure all systems are set up correctly, and work on both ends. Responsibilities include prioritizing IT issues and documenting needs with support tickets. 

Experienced IT employee

If you already work in the IT field and are looking to change jobs or move ahead, your interview is a great opportunity to share your skills and knowledge in the IT field. It is beneficial to not only talk about your skills and how they align with the available position, but it is also useful to describe your process when solving problems and handling various situations. This allows the interviewing manager to follow your thought process and learn if you can clearly and coherently communicate this information in an easily understandable way. If you are looking to move up in the tech industry, some crucial IT jobs in this increasingly technology-driven society include:

  • Software developer: This position requires coding experience to build software programs that software engineers design. Additional responsibilities may include maintaining and testing the system. This role supports all aspects of software development.

  • IT manager: Most departments have a manager, including IT. In this role, your responsibilities include overseeing the company’s IT department, which includes employees and computer-related tasks. You'll use teamwork skills to ensure the company’s technology systems run smoothly.

  • Cybersecurity analyst: There are various paths to take in cybersecurity, including preventing cyber attacks. Cybersecurity analysts are responsible for ensuring the security of all the company’s data, so their work requires familiarity with the business’s computer systems and staying on top of cybersecurity trends. Employees with experience as analysts can take the next step in their careers in this high-demand position.

Getting started with Coursera

Find out more ways to prepare for an interview in IT and stand out from the crowd of potential candidates by considering a Google IT Support Professional Certificate on Coursera. By taking this course, you'll discover and have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to work in this field.   

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