You’re in the middle of an interview and the conversation seems to be going well…until the interviewer hits you with that dreaded question: “Do you have any questions for me?”
Many of us have been in this position before. Numerous times throughout my career, I’ve made the mistake of going into an interview without having prepared a good set of questions to handle the situation I described above. I end up winging it which has a 50/50 shot of actually working. Sometimes, I get lucky and can think of something quickly enough to keep the conversation flowing seemingly naturally (and I can breathe an internal sigh of relief) but many other times, it results in a horrible awkward silence, broken only by my “uhhh”s and “hmmm”s while I try to think of something, followed by the less than ideal, “Actually, I think you just about covered everything!” Regardless of whether or not I have come off as unprepared to them, I feel super unprepared in that moment and it throws off my interviewing mojo.
So to prevent this, I’ve compiled a template consisting of a list of solid, general questions I personally have asked in interviews that seemed to have gone over pretty well. I originally made this as a reference for myself but thought it might be useful to share it with all of you. If you think of any of your own, or have suggestions for what has worked for you, let me know and I’ll append them to this post!
Questions to Ask a Company In An Interview
- Where is the company trying to go? What do you think is the company’s long term mission/vision?
- Who is the company’s target market/audience/client?
- Who are some of the company’s biggest clients?
- Have you already released your product? (Is it live?)
- How successful has your product been so far?
- Who are some of your competitors?
Company Financials (Startup-oriented)
- What is the funding process? (eg. How often does the company raise? Which series?)
- How does the company acquire funding?
- Who are some of the company’s investors?
- Is the company profitable? (Does the company generate income?)
- How big is the company? What is the current number of total employees?
- How many people are on the engineering team?
- How many women are on the engineering team?
- If the percentage of women engineers is low, what are some of the ways the company is trying to increase that percentage?
- What is the management structure? (flat? hierarchical?)
- If the management structure is flat, how does the company plan on scaling?
- How do you see the company structure changing as the company grows?
- What is the typical engineering schedule? (lots of overtime or emphasis on work/life balance?)
- What are the typical hours people usually come into and leave the office?
- Are employees allowed to work from home?
- How many people work remotely?
- Are you currently more interested in language/platform specialists (e.g. Objective-C programmer) or software engineering generalists?
- What are the primary languages and platforms engineers at your company work in?
- What is your code stack?
- What is the build environment like?
- Is testing automated? (unit tests, integration tests, etc.)
- What would I be doing?
- What kind of problems would I be solving? Can you give me some examples?
Meta questions about the Interview
- What are the next steps?
- Is there anything in particular I should prepare?
- Is there a particular language you will be testing me in?
- (If the person you are speaking with reached out to you first) I imagine you’ve already seen my LinkedIn profile or my resume – What made you initially interested in reaching out to me?
- Do you have any other questions for me?
If you have any questions you want to add, post them in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@blackfemcoders)! Happy interviewing! :)