Reverse Interview Questions

This is a list of questions I keep on me when interviewing prospective employers.

Getting Started

  • What have you been doing today?

I try to ask this at every phase of the interview process for each person I come in contact with. It gives me a small peek into what the person does and can sometimes reveal bits about the company I’d otherwise miss. For instance, if they answer something like, “So many meetings,” that tells me something. Or they may say something like, “Been working on an annoying bug,” it can spur a fun conversation.

Logistics

  • Where is your office located?
  • Work from home/remote policy?

For me, these can be deal breakers, so I make sure to get these out of the way up front and save everyone time if answers don’t align well.

Management/Leadership

  • What drives the company? (Eng/Product/Sales)
  • Who is your competition?
  • How do you define success?
  • How do you prioritize tasks?
  • How is the organization structured?
  • Are you making your product better? How do you know?
  • What is feedback that you’ve been given from your team as a leader/manager?
  • Describe a time where you had to pull rank.
  • What is churn/turnover rate for employees?
  • What happens if someone is feeling burnt out?
  • What risks are your biggest concern right now? What are you most worried about?
  • How did leadership handle COVID-19?

I don’t ask all of these, but I keep these in front of me when talking with managers or execs.

Product Leadership

  • When deciding to work on a new feature, what makes you confident that it will succeed at launch?
  • Give me examples of when that has failed and succeeded. What did you learn? How did you apply that learning?
  • How do you document learnings?

Technology Leadership

  • What are the qualities of (or what makes) a good programmer/engineer?
  • How do you help facilitate growth of a developer/engineer?
  • What are you most worried about?
  • What does quarterly/weekly planning look like?

Engineering Team

  • The Joel Test.
  • Has the development process changed since you’ve started?
  • How often do you release?
  • What could the team be doing better right now?
  • What is the team really good at?
  • What do you value in your team and your teammates?
  • Tell me about developers who have left the team. Why did they leave?
  • Who do you interact with on a daily basis?
  • Can you give me an example of how team mates have worked collaboratively?

Invididual

  • What could you be doing better for the team?
  • What other industries interest you? Why did you choose this one over those?
  • What are examples of feedback you get from teammates?
  • Describe a typical day.
  • Who is the eng/dev teams' customers?
  • What’s your nerd story? Why did you decide to become a programmer?

See Also