Some interview questions as an interviewee
This post is the extraction of a section at my page My professional services. Some people enjoyed this part especially, so I thought it might be a good idea to extract it as an independent post that I might update from time to time.
The goal of these questions is to help clarifying my expectations and to generate the clearest and broadest possible idea about the company, the role, the day-to-day work, etc. To better grab the “lights” and the “darkness”. Another outcome is to reduce the probability of a misalignment and big surprises during the first weeks of work 😊
So… here I share some of the questions that I have asked in the past or I will ask in the future to my interviewers:
- What is your mission and short-term goals as an organisation? What is your vision and long-term goals?
- What is the business model of the company? Who are your customers, users, providers?
- What differentiates you from any other company and from your competitors?
- How do you earn money, what are your revenue streams? Did you surpass the break-even?
- How do you improve? How do you learn?
- How are you organised? (company-wide and engineering)
- How do you take decisions? Who takes which ones and when? What decisions are taken at each “level”?
- How do you communicate? How do you get feedback in all the needed directions?
- How do you keep the whole organisation aligned?
- Do you consider the company a remote-first one? E.g. is there any company or team event which does not happen online? Can I enjoy my own local bank holidays? Will you pay for any expense related with an on-site gathering?
- What do you enjoy the most from working there?
- Tell me something that you don’t like here. What would you like to be different, why and how?
- What are the current main challenges for the company? (product and technical challenges)
- Why would you fire me?
- What would be my boundaries? What wouldn’t I be allowed to do or to step into?
- What do you expect from me?
- Why don’t you cover this position with a current internal employee?
- Do you have a structured onboarding plan for me?
- Who would be my manager? I would like to talk to them and understand their vision and expectations about me.
- Why did the last 2 people of Engineering left? How did you handle it?
- Why did the last 2 people of Engineering were fired (or made redundant 😉)? How did you handle it?
- How do you take care of people?
- Can I talk to any potential peer, specially someone already doing the same work? Can I talk with a team?
- What does a team look like there?
- How would you describe your ideal colleague? And your ideal team?
- Who decides how a team works? (“rituals”, principles, practices, roles, etc.)
- What does “technical/engineering excellence” mean to you?
- Tell me about your infrastructure and platform. What is automated? Can the “external product teams” deploy on their own?
- Tell me about your observability practices. How do you find out that there is a problem? How do you dig deeper to solve it?
- What happens when an incident in Production is detected?
- Tell me about your main technical principles and practices.
- What is approximately your lead time (time from a commit to Production), throughput (deployments/releases to Production) and error rate?
- Could you tell me which is the whole lifecycle of a user need? Could you describe for me any of your main value streams? From the discovery of the user need until its satisfaction.
- What happens from the moment a developer starts working on something until it is deployed? Could you please describe to me your delivery pipeline?
- What is the entire process for a one line change in code to make it to production? (by Jeremy Kahne)
- Do you decouple “Release” from “Deployment”?
- What is a typical day of a team? (from the very start to the very end)
- Do you support open source in any way?
- How does the whole recruitment process work? Which will be the next steps?
- What is the salary range? Social benefits?
- Is there any budget for training or any other concept?
- Would there be the possibility to work 30 hours per week, 6 hours per day?
More questions from other people
- Charity Majors: How can you tell if the company you’re interviewing with is rotten on the inside?
- The Pragmatic Engineer Test: 12 Questions on Engineering Culture
- List of questions to identify a toxic culture during the interview
- A Twitter thread with some great questions you can ask to identify a toxic culture in an interview, from Félix López.
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