One of the worst kind of experience you can have as an interviewee is when the interview is one-sided: you need to answer a bunch of questions but you don’t get the chance to ask any. As a hiring manager I try to make sure there’s always enough time for the candidates to know more about the role, the team(s), the company, whatever they are interested in. To help you prepare better – both as interviewers and interviewees – I’ve gone through my ~200 interview notes and gathered the twelve questions (because top 10 is way too click-baity) that were asked in most of the sessions:
- What technology stack do you have and how did it evolve?
- Can you describe your company culture to me?
- How does a typical day look like for an engineer in your organisation?
- Tell me about your team layout, structure and roles.
- What’s the thing you like most and the least about your company?
- How does the career/growth path look like for an engineer in your organisation?
- What do you see as the biggest challenge currently for your product? How about the biggest challenge for your engineering organisation?
- Do you do agile? Is it real or just a bunch of processes?
- How are projects born? Who decides what to work on? Can ideas bubble up?
- How would my first 30, 60, 90 days look like if I joined?
- How do you handle tech debt?
- Do you support remote work?
I’m really happy to see that nowadays candidates are way more conscious about what’s important for them in a job – I remember how one-sided most interviews used to be say 10+ years ago and even in the rare occasions of candidates asking about the job it was mostly about tech only.
I really like these 12 questions as they resonate with me, most of the topics are personally also important to me which makes it really easy to be authentic when answering them.
Finally, answering some of these questions is also a great opportunity to be candid and hopefully embody your company’s culture – it’s OK to talk about things that are not wonderful at your work! Letting in the candidate in some of the things your company, team or organisation is currently looking to improve shows that you’re conscious about things and that you’re honest and transparent. Everybody knows no workplace is perfect and it’s fine! They key is to tell your candidates how you’re trying to improve. Trust me, you don’t want to hire someone based on false promises from your side and then have them leave in their probation period because they realise you’ve fooled them.