In almost every job interview, the interviewer will inevitably ask if you have any questions. Most of us say “no,” which is the wrong strategy. Here are three questions every dev or engineer should ask. (Keep in mind, these are probably best utilized when you’re interviewing with technical leads and project managers; an HR rep or recruiter may not know the answers.)
“How Does The Company Handle Bugs?”
Every developer knows that most of your job is creating (then squashing) bugs.
How companies deal with bugs is another matter. If you’ve got a preference for certain debugging techniques, it’s best to bring that up during the interview. This opens the door to learning more about the company’s debugging process; is there a QA system, or a beta program? Are you responsible for bugs you create, or do you just catch JIRA tickets as they come in?
Other questions to consider: Is the company diligent about writing tests? What’s the monitoring system? What type of bug prevents an update from shipping?
Such queries not only give you a bit of vital insight into the company’s process, but illuminate at least some of the day-to-day workflow. Also, if the company has a system you’re not a fan of, you’re forewarned.
“Where and When Do You Work?”
While most of us have to commute to an office, that’s not always optimal. During the interview, it’s worth asking if employees can work remotely. If so, what’s the policy? How many other devs or engineers do so? Will you be on-call during the weekend or evenings?
More critically, when do you have to work? If your office is in New Jersey, but the core team is on the West Coast, you might be interviewing for a job where your hours are on California time. Do you really want to work from noon to 8 o’clock (or later!) every day?
Work-life balance is always important, and you should be able to have yours; in light of that, understanding when and where you are expected to work is a good thing.
“What’s The Team Like?”
Who you’ll be working with is a huge (and important) question: How many are on your team? Are they all senior developers? Is it a diverse team?
If it’s a large team, are there sub-groups of developers working on projects? Do those smaller teams change? What are the collaboration techniques used within teams (and the company itself)?
You might also want to know more about your upward mobility opportunities. Does the company offer advancement opportunities readily? Do junior developers have a chance to grow and prosper? Even if you’re not a junior dev, that last question is important: you can’t move up unless someone is able and willing to take your spot.
Three Prime Interview Questions
With these questions, you’ll learn something vital about your prospective team, company structure, day-to-day workload and activities, benefits, and how much room you have for professional growth. The answers will also allow you to potentially stop the job-application process at a convenient point, if you don’t hear the answers you need. It’s always better to discover things about a company before you start working there.