25 topical questions for the employer + developer comments

Sometimes it is not immediately possible to find out that you do not coincide with the company in terms of goals and values: something is revealed after a few months, as happened with our hero Anton, a Python developer, at the last place of work. It would seem why? You are a good engineer hiring manager – someone with a lot of interview experience behind you. Two smart people should have no problem communicating with each other. But time is short, and there is not always the strength for detailed inquiries. In addition, sometimes people tend – as, indeed, on a date – to show only the best when they first meet.

We asked familiar IT specialists, developers and team leaders how to check a company during an interview. We have collected tricky questions that cannot be answered with a standard excuse – we hope they will be useful to you. The list cannot be complete: everyone is looking for their dream job, besides, the remote control makes adjustments 🙂 Therefore, add your options in the comments! By the way, it’s a good idea to ask these questions to different interviewers and compare the answers.

“I came to my previous company as a senior developer. There were 6 people in the team, and the next year I was made the technical lead of this project. After some time, the position began to get boring: it was not at all what I was initially looking for, plus I did not have enough experience to be a tech lead. While the rest were solving problems, writing code and pumping skills, I spent time communicating with managers and problems not related to technology.

We have accumulated a lot of technical debt. More and more new tasks came, and there was not enough strength to redo the old.

The leaders changed, everyone went to the spring quarantine – a total removal, and in the end the company’s priorities changed, and our department was left only to support the product. Therefore, in a month I completed all the cases and left the company “ – Anton H.

Product Questions

  • What problem are you currently working on? Why / how did it come about?
  • If you get an idea to add a new feature, what should you do for this?
  • What’s impressive about the latest release? How did these ideas come about, how do they usually arise?
  • What is special about you compared to your competitors in this field?

For me, when choosing, the most important thing was the technical side – how interesting the tasks are, and what kind of atmosphere in the team.

Questions about technical processes

Something that you have to face every day, so the questions about the routine:

  • Could you describe how yesterday’s work day went? Is it different from everyday life, or is this how the work usually goes?
  • Tell us about the stack, why is it exactly like that and is there a story behind it? How often do you add new tools?
  • Are you trying to rely on 3rd-party tools or use your own solutions? Why?
  • How would you describe professional culture: is it more practice-oriented or theory-oriented?
  • Completely new tasks and revision of existing ones: how much time do you spend on both directions?
  • What is the release date?
  • Could you tell us about the latest technical fakup and how the team handled it? What have you done to prevent this from happening again?
  • What technically expensive decision was made in the early stages of the company’s development, and which one are you working with now?
  • If possible, ask to have a look at the source code. Difficulties may arise with this – you will not be able to look at all or you will have to make some special agreement – but it will not be superfluous to ask.

Questions about the team

This is a good opportunity to better understand the relationships within the company, the talents and achievements of the team.

  • On average, how long do developers stay on the team?
  • Please tell us why the last few people left the team?
  • Were there guys in the team who decided to start a project of their own? How is their departure treated in the company, are they encouraged?
  • What percentage of the team works remotely and how is communication carried out in this case? Are there any special tools?
  • How does the company deal with the complexities of telecommuting? Are there any events or events to make the employees at the remote feel like they are included in the life of the team?
  • How do you usually give feedback to people who work outside the office?

In a fit of change, I learned Elixir and Go in parallel. And when it came time to look for a job and pass interviews, I received three offers in three different companies with a different stack. The selection strategy is to determine what “hurt” in the previous company, what I would not like to meet in the future. In order to clarify all controversial points in the process of communicating with the employer and understand whether this place is suitable.

In a new place, there is a relevant stack, the task is to code, the team is small and very friendly, there is no bureaucracy, everything is flexibly organized. There are all very strong guys in the team, and I am delighted with how I see what you can learn from them.

I would advise you to cover companies as widely as possible and communicate with them at the initial stages, and only then move on to technical ones. And at the end, you can already write down a column of pros and cons to assess how the place of work will affect your future and your life in the long run.

Questions about values

To learn more about the corporate culture, founder and management style.

  • How long have you been with this company yourself?
  • Could you remember your own interview: what other suggestions were there, why did you choose this particular company?
  • Please tell us about an inspiring or technically challenging project / feature / idea that you worked on?
  • Is there something that you would like to change in the company’s processes?
  • How often have teams changed, what is needed for this? Why did you join the current one?
  • If the company you are applying for is a startup: when was the last time you communicated with the founder and for what reason? How is he involved in the daily routine?

I registered in the bot, because here it is enough to write a resume once, and after that I receive notifications of which companies are interested in them. On job boards you need to endlessly read the same type of descriptions and respond to vacancies, but here everything is clear. In addition, in addition to technical details, there is a point about the company’s mission – in my opinion, this is very important.

Write in the comments, how would you supplement this list?

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