A list of questions to ask potential employers.
- Does one single person own a unit of work (task, project, product, etc)?
- Can that single person's manager override the decisions made by that person on that unit of work?
- How are goals communicated throughout the organization?
- How is mentorship approached?
- What does a week look like when the stars align and everything goes the very best it can?
- What does a bad week for your team look like?
- Tell me about your last vacation
- Looking for more about how detached did they get, and did they take a vacation at all more than the details
- How many weeks over 40-50 hours have you put in in the last year?
- How much turnover has your team/org/company had in the last year?
- When you think about your company, what fills you with gratitude? Optimism? Concern?
- What do you enjoy about your job?
- If you were to leave this company, what is the most likely cause of your departure?
- Do you like your job? Why or why not?
- What are your organization's values?
- What characteristics to you look for in employees to exemplify those values?
- Tell me about a time where values were considered as part of making a tough decision. How did values affect the outcome?
Leadership / Management
- Do managers regularly meet 1-1 with their reports?
- How responsive is your management to your questions and concerns?
- What does success look like for a manager here? How about failure?
- What sort of training do you give managers? Even if not interviewing for a manager role
- What does organizational leadership do well?
- How could organizational leadership improve?
- How does this role relate to other teams?
- Do people regularly interact across departments?
Defining Success and Failure
- How might this role help with the organization's challenges and opportunities?
- Imagine it's a year from now, and you're thinking "I'm so glad we hired Your Name Here". What are the top 3 things I did that made you glad you hired me?
- Who is currently making important contributions to your organization? What qualities do they have that are adding such value?
- Who has gotten ahead in your org? To what do you attribute their advancement?
- What 3 things differentiate someone who is really great in this org from someone who is merely good?
- What does success look like in this position?
- Imagine it's a year from now, and you're thinking to yourself "We made a poor choice in hiring for this role". What are the things the person you hired did that make you regret the hire?
- What concerns do you have about my suitability for this role?
Employee Health and Fatigue
- How many days do employees work over the standard working hours?
- What are the standard working hours?
- Can employees work outside of the office ("work from home")?
- Are there any restrictions on when employees can work outside the office?
- Do employees each have their own office?
- Are there partitions or space between each employee's workspace?
- How much time off is given per employee?
- Do different employees get a different amount of time off?
- Is there a minimum amount of time off required/expected of each employee?
- Is sick leave counted as time off?
- Who is eligible for parental leave?
- How much parental leave is given?
- How much parental leave is taken?
- How do other employees view someone who takes parental leave?
- Are employees expected to be on call?
- If employees are expected to be on call, is a device provided or compensated?
- How often do on-call employees get notified?
- What sorts of tasks does your team do to reduce the number of on-call incidents?
- How much room for growth do you feel people here have on average?
- How much room for growth do you individually feel you have?
- Do you have a clear understanding of your career ladder?
- Tell me about a new idea that someone brought to you that was a surprise, either because you hadn't thought of that solution or hadn't even considered the problem they solved.
- What do you see as the most challenging aspects of this role?
Challenges and Opportunities
- What are the biggest challenges facing the team/org/company?
- Where are the biggest opportunities right now?
- If you had a magic wand and could change anything about your org, what would you change?
- Variant: If you had an infinite amount of money & the CTO's job, what would you do?
- Variant: If you could improve 3 things about your org, what would you improve?
- What challenges and opportunities will the person you hire for this role encounter in their first year?
Compensation and Benefits
How is compensation calculated?
- Are pay bands used to determine compensation?
- Is compensation negotiable?
How transparent is your compensation?
- Is all employee compensation public knowledge?
- Is all employee compensation known within the company?
- Is employee compensation shared within the team?
What kind of meals are compensations?
- Is breakfast provided?
- Is lunch provided?
- Is dinner available and provided?
- Is there non-meal time food available?
Who do people report to?
- Does every individual have one single manager they report to?
- How do you approach distributed teams?
- Are managers and reports co-located?
- Are teams co-located?
- How are decisions handed off between time zones and locations?
Tech / Tools
How are devices supported?
- Are personal devices allowed to connect to the company network?
- BYOD? BYOA?
How is diversity approached?
- Composition of team you will be joining?
- Does your company have an active diversity policy/program?
- How do you define diversity?
- Does this company value diversity? If so, how do employees individually and the organization broadly demonstrate this?
- What are you doing to ensure diverse teams?
- What resources are available to provide safe spaces for people in the organization?
- What is the customer churn and/or renewal rate?
- Whether they know the rates is a good indicator, separate from what it is.
- (If a startup) What is your runway? How many employees do you have?