Questions to Ask in Interviews

As you might’ve heard, I’m looking for a job. Julia Evans wrote a great post on questions she asks during interviews. It’s helped me so much, prompting me to ask questions I’d never thought of before, or never had the guts to ask. Julia’s post reminded me that when you’re interviewing somewhere, you should be interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.

Here are some of my favorites from her list:

What’s your approach to technical debt?

How often do you have meetings? Are there any scheduled/standing meetings? Who talks to customers (if appropriate) and how?

How are disagreements solved – both technical disagreements and other kinds? What happens when personalities clash?

Can you tell me about a time when you’ve had to let someone go?

What’s your retention rate of women over 1.5 years? Do you think you could have done anything differently to keep people who left?

How much vacation do people get? If there’s “unlimited” vacation, how much vacation do people normally take?

How does internal communication work? This one is super important and I need to remember to ask it more.

These are just a few gems from the amazing list she’s made. Here are some I like asking too:

  • What is something you dislike about [company name], and do you feel something is being done to address it?
  • Is there a clear path for career growth opportunities like added responsibility, promotions, raises?
  • How would you describe [company name]’s design philosophy?
  • Does your product have a design system? If not, why?
  • What’s the approach to working on your design system?
  • How often do you feel you’re working on something where requirements aren’t clearly defined or are constantly shifting?
  • Can you give me some details about [company name] efforts to create a more inclusive team?
  • As Julia writes in her post, don’t ask all of these in the same interview, and ask the same question to several people. You’ll start noticing a pattern in their answers; good or bad.

Have questions you like asking too? I’d love to hear about them.