Questions to Ask a Potential Tech Employer

(1)

If you could wave a magic wand and change anything about the company, what would it be?

(1)

Could your manager step in and do your job if necessary?

(1)

Would you say you learn more from your co-workers or on your own?

(2)

How many hours did you work last week?

(2)

How many meetings were you in in the last few days, and how long did they last?

(1)

Would you say your colleagues are good at reading your emotional state, or still learning?

(1)

In meetings (or discussions) specifically, what's the range of talkativeness between the most quiet person and the most vocal?

(2)

Where do you fall on the spectrum of "Do it right" to "Get-R-Done"?

(2)

What sort of software development process / methodology do you use?

(3)

What do you use for source control?

(2)

How long does a build take?

(2)

Describe your build / deploy process.

(2)

How often do you build / deploy?

(3)

What do you use for a bug / task tracker?

(3)

Do you do code reviews? What is the process?

(3)

How do you prioritize features vs. bugs (new development vs. fixing existing code)?

(3)

Do you have an up-to-date schedule?

(3)

Do you spec out features before building them? How?

(3)

What's the typical noise level where you work?

(3)

What's the process for ordering new software or hardware?

(3)

Do you have engineers dedicated to building internal tools?

(3)

What does your QA process look like? Do you have QA engineers?

(3)

How do you do UX / usability testing?

(3)

Are all candidates required to write code during interviews?

(3)

Do you do design reviews? Before writing code?

(3)

Do you use static analysis?

(2)

Do you have unit tests?

(3)

What is the makeup of your team? (How many people in what roles?)

(3)

How many lines of code is your system?

(2)

How would you gauge your technical debt?

(2)

How do you decide what goes into the next release?

(3)

How do you estimate the level of effort (time required) for a task?

(3)

How are tech / library / service / vendor choices made?

(3)

Do you have regular all-hands meetings?

(3)

Do you have regular team outings / field-trips?

(3)

What is the vacation policy?

(1)

How are hiring decisions made?

(1) manager, hr

Can I meet the people I will be working with? The manager?

(3) engineer

Can you show me some code you're proud of?

(2)

What tools do you use for communication and collaboration?

(3)

Will I be responsible for system uptime? Part of any on-call rotation?

(2)

Who on your team has been at the company the longest? How long?

(2)

How many people have left in the last year?

(3)

Has any of the system been built by contractors or outsourced work?

(3)

Tell me about the last time a deploy broke production. What did you do to prevent it happening again?

(3)

When was the last time you missed or thought you might miss a sprint deadline, and how did you handle it?

(3) manager, exec

What's your idea of a good team?

(3)

What surprised you most when you started here?

(3)

What was the last technical disagreement your team had? How was it resolved?

(3)

What are you hoping I'll change?

(2) engineer

How often are you pulled off your primary task?

(3)

How will I get better at my job?

(2)

When was your last one-on-one meeting?

(3)

When was the last time you told your boss no?

(3)

What's your e-mail address?

(3)

Given a month of time to work on it, what would you work on in your current product?

(2)

What are your policies regarding contributing to open source?

(3) manager

Does your team attend training or conferences more often?