For example in a software developer role:

On my resume I write down the languages I am fluent in: Java, SQL, HTML etc... and in the job description they specifically only mention Java related qualifications and skills. How likely is it that the interviewer will stray from the job description and ask me technical questions about other languages I listed on my resume? Do job interviewers in the tech industry normally tend to stay within the confines of the description or do they stray from them? I have never had a technical interview before so I am curious as to how I should prepare and what to expect.


3 Answers 3



Sometimes job descriptions don't include all skills that are required for a given role.

In addition, if the company has mid/long term ambitions to pivot towards certain technologies, they may not list them on the job description, but may ask about them during the interview.

Also, some teams within the organisation may use certain technology, but the technology listed in the job description is common across all teams. So they may want to gauge your suitability for a few different teams but asking questions about peripheral skills.

Also, they may just want to see how honest you are. If you say you are very experienced about a technology, they may ask you a few questions to see what "very experienced" means to you.

  • 3
    When I was interviewing two of my main objectives were to calibrate the resume and to get an idea of the candidate's technical discussion skills. Getting into a discussion of any topic on the resume in which I was reasonably expert achieved both objectives. Aug 31, 2019 at 7:02
  • 2
    @PatriciaShanahan: the same for me. When i ask somebody to talk about his expertise and he/she can't decently explain it, then he/she either was not honest or is not a good communicator.
    – Sascha
    Aug 31, 2019 at 8:18
  • Thank you for the insight all I really appreciate it!
    – TechRando
    Aug 31, 2019 at 18:44
  • Not putting what skills you want in a job description is not smart - how do you get suitable candidates If you're not honest about what you want?
    – HorusKol
    Aug 31, 2019 at 21:54
  • @HorusKol There is an idea that programmers should be able to pick up languages pretty easily. So it's not uncommon to not list languages that are used in a limited way. For instance, at a large company they may use a wide variety of different techs, but only have a single JD. They may not list all of them, just the ones shared across a majority of teams. Sep 1, 2019 at 1:49

They can, and might, ask about anything you have put on your cv.

They know that some people “pad” or “over-egg” the entries on a cv... “well versed in Office” can often mean well I opened excel once...

So interviewers will ask detail depending on how they “read” your cv, if they want to check out the detail when you say X, then they can.

I put “good at excel” and they had a desktop machine set up with a task in excel... showed them 3 ways to do it, interviewer asked me to show the 3rd method again so he could use it later... They tested everbody as skills in excel were core for the job... Got told after that several failed the excel part and it was easy - multply a column of numbers by a constant...

So, all is easy if your cv contains the truth.


It is quite likely to come up. If they ask about such a skill, it is usually a bonus if you have it, but won't be held against you if it is not there.

The company has requirements right now, and they are in your job description. The company may also have vague plans to do things in the future, and having matching skills would be a bonus. Or once in a while someone has to do some task requiring a special skill, and if you have that skill that has nothing to do with your job, that's a bonus - but not a requirement.

Of course if two candidates all meet the requirements, the company will tend to hire the one who gathered some bonus points.

  • 1
    At least if I were interviewing, claiming to have a skill but not being able to discuss it in the interview would be held against the candidate, as indicating either poor communication skills or an inflated resume. That is very different from not even claiming to have a skill that is not required for the job. Aug 31, 2019 at 13:06

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