Questions for the Interviewer

Posted by brian on 05-22-2017

As a project wraps up I’m looking for something new and exciting and want to work with a great team. So every so often I’m interviewing with a new group about a new project. After we get past the usual ‘do you have the skillz?’ type questions I expect to be asked ‘what questions do you have for me?’. After researching the company and the role I like to come armed with several seemingly high level questions that I think can really reveal a lot. From what the day-to-day might be like, the team, management, organization, expectations, and deadlines. Remember it’s a two way interview, you should use it as a time to really find out how you’re going to be spending your time.

Here are a few questions I like to ask during an interview and the reasons why.

Question: What do you or most people do outside of the office?

Reason: This is a good question to a manager or team lead and can help reveal a few things:

  • How well does the interviewer know their team?
  • How much does the team share about themselves to their colleagues? Could indicate how collaborative the environment is.
  • Are the people you’re going to be working with passionate, active, driven? Chances are pretty good that if they aren’t passionate outside of work, they aren’t going to be excited about work.

Question: What technologies are you currently using? (You likely already know this, though there may be some you don’t) What technologies have you abandoned? Why?

Reason: This is a good question for anyone who has been at the company for a few years, has seen growth and how the company at large handles changing demands from the business.

Question: How is tech debt identified? If and how is it dealt with?

Reason: During any development effort debt is accrued. The thing you want to know is if the group is even aware of the debt they are carrying and do they have a plan to reduce it over time.

Question: What makes a successful (your role here) in the first 30 days? 90 days?

Reason: What are their expectations for the role? Are they realistic? Will you be able to hit the ground running and have some quick successes?

Question: If I’m spinning on a problem who can I reach out to for help?

Reason: For even the most Senior developer they can bump up against a problem and have trouble seeing the solution. Does the team recognize that collaboration is important to achieving the end goal? This also shows that you won’t let pride stand in the way of you or your team’s success in delivering a great result on time.

Question: Your values: (fill in the company’s values here, usually on their website, often the homepage ), how are those encouraged among members? What actions are taken if someone isn’t upholding the company’s values?

Reason: This can reveal a lot about an organization.

  • Does the organization truly believe in the values it’s trying to promote? Or is it good marketing speak for the website and nothing else?
  • Does everyone share a similar vision and work toward that vision? Is there any accountability for those that don’t uphold these values?
  • Will I be working with people who don’t care and managers who don’t care? BTW, if that’s the case, RUN!

Question: What are the short term plans for (the project you’re being interviewed for)? Long term?

Reason: This is a good question for all levels of interviewers. I’ve found that the farther away from management the interviewer is the clearer picture they can paint.

  • Is there a clear vision or roadmap for the product or project you’re being interviewed for?
  • Is there buy in from the top -> down?
  • Is the development team handed unclear or crazy requests with little input or direction?