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Interviewee Questionnaire

This questionnaire covers a wide range of topics an interviewee should understand about a company before moving forward in the hiring process. While the answers to some of these questions may fall under NDA, any answers a company can make public should be made public to lessen the need to answer them repeatedly on a per-candidate basis.

Table of Contents


1. Technical

1.1 Describe the deployment process for the primary application

One of the best indicators of the day to day quality of life for a technical employee can be reflected in the deployment process of a company's software. A great low friction deployment process requires a lot of tooling and thought. Describe the process of deployment for the primary application from developer commit to production.

1.1 Answer

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  • Mandatory code reviews (no unreviewed code gets deployed).
  • End to end fully automated. Humans only commit. Software does the rest.
  • Fully automated test suite.
  • 100% test coverage.
  • Fully automated production deployments.
  • Canary deployments.
  • Staggered deployments: 0.1%,1%,10%,20%,50%,75%,100% (vs all or nothing)
  • Simian army -esque testing in production.

1.2 Describe the process for deploying security patches / OS updates

Similar to the above, please describe the process for patching security vulnerabilities and deploying software updates in the environment, if applicable.

1.2 Answer

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  • Fully automated. We patch as soon as upstream releases updated software and the patch has gone through automated testing.

1.3 Describe the development environment

Describe the development environment? How closely does it resemble the production environment? How long does it take to set up? What OS is it based on? How flexible is it with respect to allowing me to use whatever tools I want to use that will make me the most productive (ex. the dev environment is CentOS 6 but I want the latest version of emacs)?

1.3 Answer

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1.4 Describe the test environment

Similar to 1.3, if applicable.

1.4 Answer

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1.5 Roughly what percentage of code is in what language?

Are you mostly a Python shop with some Java? Explain.

1.5 Answer

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1.6 Any near-term future plans to dramatically change programming languages?

Related to 1.5, are you having any scaling pains or accumulation of technical debt that's becoming burdensome? Any plans for a rewrite into another language?

1.6 Answer

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1.7 Describe an outage, the RCA and AAR, and any followup.

This question seeks to understand the more operational aspects of your infrastructure. Outages happen to everyone. We want to understand what if any monitoring is in place. If someone is getting paged, who is it? What, if any warnings were there prior to catastrophe? Were there backups (if applicable)? What was the followup? Was automation put in place to ensure the situation could not happen again? Describe the AAR, if applicable. Do you practice Blameless PostMortems?

1.7 Answer

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1.8 On-call and number of incidents / outages

What does the on-call rotation look like? Who carries the pager for how long? For the average on-call shift, how often should someone expect to get paged? Is there a separate operations group that solely carries the pager or is the burden also shared by the development team? If developers are exempt from on-call, is there any plan to incorporate them into the rotation?

1.8 Answer

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1.9 Operational pain points

What are the biggest operational pain points?

1.9 Answer

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1.10 Roadmap

What does the product roadmap look like? How is the backlog prioritized: new features vs bug fixes? Roughly what percentage of time is spent developing new features vs fixing bugs?

1.10 Answer

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2. Managerial

2.1 Employee productivity

How is employee productivity measured? What does success look like for a given position?

2.1 Answer

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2.2 Employee reviews

How often and by whom are employee reviews conducted? What methodologies if any are used for the review process? Do skip level employee 1-on-1s occur?

2.2 Answer

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2.3 Office hours

How flexible are employee office hours with respect to start/stop/lunch times? Does the company allow telecommuting? How frequently? Are there core hours?

2.3 Answer

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3. Employee Compensation / Quality of Life / Benefits

3.1 Salary

Do employees get regularly occurring raises? What criteria is used to determine the amount of the raise. Are there yearly cost of living adjustments? Is this rolled into the raise or on top of it?

3.1 Answer

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3.2 Equity

Are employees granted equity or profit sharing? If equity, in what form? If as stock/options: how many shares are outstanding, what is the strike price?

3.2 Answer

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3.3 Healthcare

Describe employee health coverage. What providers are available? When do health benefits kick in? Does your company provide on site or subsidize anything with respect to employee health (gym membership, etc).

3.3 Answer

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3.4 Retirement fund

Do you provide a 401k? Is there contribution match? What is the match?

3.4 Answer

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3.5 Employee space

Where will I work and what equipment will be provided: computer, desk, chair, etc? What is the floor plan: open, cubicles, offices? Are the desks height adjustable for sit/stand? Are the chairs modern and ergonomic?

3.5 Answer

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3.6 Vacation policy

Describe the vacation policy: unlimited, X hours, X mandatory hours?

3.6 Answer

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3.7 Expense policy

Let's pretend I want to purchase a $50 book. What do I need to do do in order to get that approved? What does the expense process look like? How long will I generally spend filling out that single-item expense report?

3.7 Answer

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3.8 Questions asked

Are there any questions you wish you had asked prior to accepting your job offer?


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3.9 Rewarding tenure

How do you reward tenure?


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4. About the Company

4.1 Transparency

How transparent is the company internally? Are financials freely shared with respect (but not limited) to: revenue, profit, employee and executive compensation?

4.1 Answer

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4.2 Funding

At the current burn rate how long until the company must secure additional funding?

4.2 Answer

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4.3 Competition

What companies are the main competition for the market space you're in? Why work for you instead of them?

4.3 Answer

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4.4 Strategy

Related to 4.3, what is the company strategy to succeed?

4.4 Answer

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