In our anxiety to secure a job, some of us might forget that joining a bad team might be worse than waiting it out for a good opportunity. An interview is in fact an invaluable opportunity for the candidate to speak to someone who actually works in the company and find out more about the practices there. Few key aspects you should evaluate about a job before joining:
Good questions asked at the end of the interview help a candidate achieve 2 objectives - leave a good impression and help the candidate assess if the company is truly suitable for them.
In this article, we have provided a large list of useful questions you might ask to achieve this. Questions are organized by interviewer/interview round as well as objective.
The recruiter is usually not working directly in the team who is hiring you. Hence, it could be less insightful to ask questions about the team's day-to-day or on-the-ground situation. However, you could still find out information that recruiters would know, such as the candidate evaluation criteria or general company policies.
These questions are very useful to understand what the hiring team is prioritizing, which they would probably have communicated with HR/recruiters beforehand so that they could help screen candidates accordingly.
These are invaluable as you would be able to pinpoint the key criteria the team is prioritizing in hiring, which allows you to specifically showcase those required skills, characteristics or experiences in the next rounds with the hiring team.
This question is extremely useful as it's often hard to guess what the interviewer is really looking out for. Hiring is often a hit or miss and hiring managers are usually especially excited to find candidates who seem to be a perfect fit to their internal hiring criteria.
More often than not, starting dates could be a key criteria when a position has to be filled urgently. You could check this with the recruiter early if you have a delayed start date, to avoid wasting their time and yours.
If you were to meet the hiring team within the process, it would be good to know which rounds it would be, and if possible, who's who. This will help you prepare relevant questions or conduct background checks beforehand.
This question may or may not be useful depending on how familiar the recruiter is with the hiring team (sometimes not at all). However, you might still be able to get good insights on the structure or dynamics of the team.
This question gives you insights on the importance and position of the team within the company, including how the team contributes to the company's key goals. This could provide critical insights on the team's key deliverables and priorities, and correspondingly how you could best serve the team. In bad times, lower priority teams could also be laid off.
While HR/recruiting might not be familiar with the team's day-to-day, they would most likely know about the company's policies and culture. This could give you some useful insights which could also carry over to the next interview.
In a similar vein, we want to know if there is a general company culture for or against overtime work (without being too obvious). This could be a dealbreaker for some people, and should be cleared up asap.
As a front end developer / web developer, rounds with the engineering team usually means rounds with the hiring team itself.
Questions to ask in these rounds are highly critical in elucidating the experience you would likely get when you actually join the team (Note: This section is focused on questions to ask your potential team mates except manager. Questions to ask your potential manager are in the next section).
This question is useful to elucidate the exact kind of work you would be doing, as well as some of the technologies used. In general, having the opportunity to build products from grown up could be a better learning opportunity than doing small, incremental features.
The types of technologies used could also be a criteria, as learning to use modern stacks (and having mentors proficient in that area) will likely be more beneficial to your career growth.
This question helps to clarify quite a lot of things - the kinds of tasks that a developer might be expected to do, stakeholders that you will work with, as well as the project management process and lifecycle.
This question is useful in uncovering some potential issues in the codebase or workflows which could be a dealbreaker for certain people. It might also uncover dysfunctional teams or processes.
Asking this question could help uncover unreasonably high expectations or pressure for the role, elucidating more about work life balance without explicitly asking about it.
If you're someone who seeks to grow your skills or portfolio in the role, be sure to ask this question to know if you will have reasonable autonomy to work on more complex projects on request.
This question differentiates companies by their levels of transparency. Some candidates might find this important, as it could be frustrating to have little information and hence little control over your compensation and promotion schedule.
This question elucidates if your potential manager is someone who is hands-off or tends to look into the details of your work. This could have a large impact on your experience on the job.
This question is useful as it helps you to paint a picture of the role in context to the overall team structure, how big the team is and roughly what each part of the team does.
This question indirectly elucidates the likely culture of the team - do people work in silos or do they communicate frequently with one another.
Another open-ended, useful question which allows you to gain more insights which may not surface from a more general ask.
This question indirectly elucidates the culture of the team with respect to work life balance.
In these rounds, it is useful to take the chance to find out your manager's managerial style, the performance review process/criteria, as well as his/her expectations of the role (which could give you an idea of how well you might perform on the job)
It is common to interview with someone you may not work directly with. In these cases, its best to cast a wider net and ask questions about the general company policy or culture. You could still ask them about your team if they are close collaborators.
Here are a few examples of what not to ask at the end of your interview:
Only start discussing salary when the team is already keen on hiring you (i.e. at the end of the process), unless they ask you about your salary requirements.