My Interview Checklist
Heavily inspired by and copied from Julia Evans' "Questions I'm asking in interviews".
I intend to use this from both sides of the table: when I am the interviewee and when I need to gauge a candidate's interest.
Could be answered by up-front investigation:
- How does the company make money?
- Does the business model scale?
- Any ethical concerns regarding the business model?
Questions to ask ordered by stage (when to ask in the interviewing process) and topic.
- How is the interview process structured?
Organization, management, culture
- How does the on-boarding process look like?
- How does internal communication work? Tools? Hierarchies? No-gos?
- How are (technical / architectural) decisions made?
- Are the company revenue, profit and cost structure transparent for employees?
- What is your turnover rate (devs hired-to-lost-ratio last/this year?)
- Is it possible to move to other locations of the company?
How many hours does senior management work per week (CEO/CTO)?
Do you think there is any company benefit that is over-the-top, unfair or a waste of money?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge in the team/department/company right now? How do you address it?
- How is performance evaluated?
- Can you give me an example of someone who’s been in a technical role at your company for a long time, and how their responsibilities and role have changed?
- Do you contribute to open source projects (project names, which teams)?
- Do you encourage employees to speak at conferences/universities? How are they supported? Could you name the last talk your company supported (speaker/topic/event)?
- What is the education budget? Are travel costs to conferences covered? How is money/time needed for education balanced?
- How do you address plateauing and mental health?
Adapted Joel Test, less binary, more Julia questions. Let's call it "Joel & Julia Test" (or "JJ Test"):
- Which version control system do you use?
- Do new candidates write code during their interview?
- How do you track bugs, tasks?
- Can you make a build in one step? Test environment in one step?
- Do you make daily builds?
- How does your deployment process look like?
- Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
- May I see some of the code the team has written?
- Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
- Do you have testers, designers, tech writers?
- How is your roadmap determined?
- May I use/test/see your software right now?
- When and why did you join this company?
- I need one day in home office on short notice. Who needs to approve this?
- Number of vacation days? If unlimited: how many are taken on average? Is unpaid vacation/sabbatical possible?
- Average number of work hours per week? What are the peaks?
- On call duty? How often? Work on weekends? Special benefits?
- Am I required to travel for this position? How often?
- Do people "login" during vacation? How often?
- How often do you offer above the requested salary? May I speak with someone who got such an offer?
- Observe office space layout/organization
- Observe developer desks: Multiple screens? Good panels? What is the dominant non-Mac computer brand?
- Check bathroom. Any shortage of soap/paper towels towards the end of the year?
- Could the outside smoking area affect the office climate?
- Water dispenser, kitchen?
Questions for potential team mates
(Could be one prepared A4 printout per person)
- First name? Position/role/task in team? Time with the company?
- What program windows do you have open on your PC right now?
- Which one is correct and why: 1. Compress, then encrypt or 2. encrypt, then compress?
- In computing, what is a signature? What properties does it have? What is the use-case?
- Open-ended coding task asking "how would you improve this piece of code?" Watch out for data structure usage (set/list test), whether they would mention tests, naming