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Interview questions to ask future employers 😲

💡 What's behind the idea

You can see many lists with questions asked by employers, mostly about specific, work-related topics. Companies have whole departments, standards and methodologies keeping their recruitment process effective through hundreds of interviews.

However, IT is a bit different and we developers receive dozens of offers from various companies. When we eventually decide to change our job, we often end up with several offers and don't know which exactly to pick (or reject).

Recently I did some interviews on this topic, to help myself choose from two similar job offers and decided to write it down for the future.

Notice that my points may not be obvious for people in various countries, especially regarding tax optimizations, contracts etc.

Also, many questions shouldn't be asked and you need to be careful. Many of these points are better to ask anonymously or your colleagues working there.

Visit my blog for series of articles where I describe them in detail (currently in Polish only)

Feel free to contribute

🚀 General

  • What does the company do?
  • What is the company structure?
  • Who will your manager be?
  • How many managers will you have and what are their qualifications?
  • How does the decision-making process look?
  • Will your managers/bosses do micromanagement? (Don't ask it directly)
  • Are you going to work with developers from different countries and cultures?
  • Does the company support the community?
  • Is the team specialized or rather language-agnostic?
  • Does the company contribute to open source?
  • Does the company have open source code to preview?
  • How many people in the company work there less than 6 months?
  • Do people leave the company often?
  • Why did the person for whose position you're applying leave?
  • Will you be able to change your team/project if you don't like it?
  • Is there more that one project to choose from?
  • Will you work with people speaking foreign languages?
  • Who is responsible if some crisis occurs and what could the consequences be?
  • Will you work with other developers (especially related to your field) or will you be a single programmer among salesmen etc?
  • What are the company's plans for next 1-2 years and how it will affect your work?
  • How will your personal development look like?
    • Will you be promoted in technical fields or maybe management/business ones? How does company see this?
    • Will you be able to change between different development fields, like changing languages, technologies etc?
  • What are the factors for promotion? Results or rather time spent in the company?

💰 Salary and benefits

  • What kind of contracts can you choose from?
  • Will you receive the same benefits on various contract types?
    • Amount of holidays
    • Paid sick days
  • What benefits will you have?
    • Extra health insurance
    • Sports card
    • Learning budget
    • Hardware
  • Are there any rules about raises?
  • When can you expect the first raise?
  • Are there any extra material benefits like stock or yearly bonus?

🖥️ Technology

  • What technology is used in the whole company?
  • What technologies are used in the project you are applying for?
  • Is there legacy code and will you work with it?
  • Do they write tests?
  • How long will it take to understand the codebase, to become productive?
  • Is the project you are applying for covered with tests?
  • First-day commit
    • Will you be able to setup the project in a few hours, or will it take weeks?
    • Will you wait for access/credentials hours/days, or weeks/months?
    • How long will it take to make your first production deploy?
  • How is the project automated?
  • How often are there releases?
  • Do they have continuous integration?

💻 Hardware and software

  • Will you be able to work on any OS you choose from?
  • Will you be able to pick a computer you like?
  • How often will my computer or company phone will be renewed?
  • Will I be able to buyback computer or phone from company after some time?
  • Will you be able to choose displays and accessories?
  • Will you be able to choose IDE/Software you like, including paid?
  • Will you get admin/root account on your machine?
  • What chair will you sit on?
  • What software company use?
    • Slack?
    • Jira?
    • Other software you like / you don't

🙇 Company culture

  • Does company care about values (both company's and employee's) during recruitment?
    • Are people hired only by skills or maybe also soft skills?
  • Does company have written culture book (set of established rules to follow)?
  • Can you work remotely on demand?
  • Can you work remotely if you catch a cold instead of taking a day off?
  • Will you be able to work remotely after some period of time?
  • Will you be able to take extra non paid days off and how many?
  • Does the company network block some domains?
  • What are the security rules in the company?
  • How much break time will you have during the day?
  • Will you track working hours?
  • Will there be team/company integration trips?
  • Does the company have some traditions like pizza Fridays etc?
  • Does dress code apply?
  • Is the company structure flat?
  • Will you know your boss?
  • How does the company handle conflicts?
  • Do interns work there and how many?
  • How often would my manager have one-on-ones with me?
  • How will company know about your progress, good/bad work?
    • Will you know about it? When? Who will talk to you about it?
  • Does company invest in developers?
    • Paid conferences (and paid time)
    • Courses
    • Certificates

⏱️Working hours

  • Is the employer able to give you crunching hours?
    • Has it happened in the project/team you are applying for?
  • What are the working hours?
  • Are working hours flexible?
    • Can you work longer one day to leave earlier another day?
  • Are requested overhours paid or only collected? If paid, will it be 100%, 150%, 200% etc?

🤼Team's work culture

  • How big is the team?
  • Is the team divided into roles?
    • Does the team include designers, managers?
  • Is there agile?
    • How do they treat Scrum/Kanban, are they strict about it?
  • Can you pick technology?
  • Are the used technologies usually open source or in-house?
  • Does the team invest some time in self-development?
  • Does the team use any Extreme Programming methods e.g. Pair Programming?
  • Is there a QA department?
  • Is there dedicated DevOps engineer?
  • How much impact will you have on project development?
    • Will you be able to propose ideas?
  • Does the team have established some processes, like QA, planning, code review, documentation standards?
  • How company balance new features and maintenance

🏢Office

  • Are there fresh fruits/snacks/drinks/ whatever you like?
  • Is the coffee good :)
  • Are there any chill rooms?
  • How does the office look?
  • How well equipped is the kitchen?
  • Where and what food can you eat around?
  • Do developers sit near non-developers (like marketing/calling people)
  • Is the office an open space?
  • Are there quiet zones in the office
  • Is there a shower?

✈️Trips

  • Are there company business trips?
  • Are they obligatory?
  • How trips costs will be refund?

🍻Extra

  • Are you going to be spied on by your employer ;)
  • How is the traffic to the office

🤞Extra tips

  • Always ask to talk directly to the team
  • Be sceptic, especially if you're talking to recruiter/manager
  • Don't believe if you're promised that "something is not there, but will be for sure"
  • Get "package.json" or other dependency list if possible
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