Discussion on: Questions to ask a team you're considering joining

mitchpommers profile image
Mitch Pomery (he/him)

I am going to have to borrow some of these questions for when I'm interviewed. I especially love the first one. What are people thinking about and wishing they could change.

Questions I ask:

  • If there was one skill you could hire into your team, what would it be? This one is fun, because it has shown me when managers and tech leads have had different conflicting priorities. One manager might want more quality to come out of the team, while the tech lead is hiring for more speed.
  • Where does work come from? Somewhat self explanatory, who puts pressure on the team to deliver and who do they answer to.
  • Who are the juniors on your team? If they don't have juniors, why not? In a large org, the claim that the work the team is doing is too complex or advanced should be alarm bells that there are other issues at play.
  • What do people like to do outside off work? Do people talk about what they do outside of work at work? The best teams I have worked in are the ones where I knew what my colleagues liked to do. And we would get to talk about all the cool things that happened on the weekends without it being forced or out of the ordinary. I also like to flip this and ask it when I'm the interviewer. What do the people we are interviewing like to do in their free time? It's really hard to asnwer this question wrong.
  • How is work prioritized and the backlog organized? I asked a tech lead this once and his answer was "It isn't. It is supposed to be my job, but I don't like doing it. We've ended up with 2000 open issues."
  • What does onboarding look like? How long does it take for someone new to the team to become productive, and what is in place to make them feel welcome and supported?

And one that I have definitely stolen from elsewhere:

  • How do I make the logo purple? From the request comingg into the team to the logo being updated on the main page, what is the process to gget that work done. Who needs to be involved and who needs to approve it?
gadse profile image

I like your restriction to one skill. I think I'll add that to my set of questions the next time I'm interviewed. I'll start with that one and then ask the question again without the constraint.

mitchpommers profile image
Mitch Pomery (he/him)

Oh, and I forgot my favourite question:

Have you looked at what the take home test you require does for the diversity of your candidates?

Most interviewers don't have an answer for this, or try to deflect and say it has no effect, without having anything to back up the claim.

Now I've never issued a take home test, so don't have any data to look at, but I would be interested to hear from people who have looked at how take home tests change their applicant pool.