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20 Questions To Ask A Recruiter When Looking For A New Tech Job

stetsenko_me profile image Andrew Stetsenko ・4 min read

So, you’re looking for a developer/any other tech job. How do you ensure that the vacancy and the company suit you maximally? The first thing you should remember: don't be shy to ask questions. Jointly with the Relocateme.eu, the team of relocation and tech recruiting enthusiasts, we created a compelling list of the useful things to find out during the hiring process for your next job.

The tech side of the project

1) What languages/frameworks/libraries are used on the project?

This question needs no explanations — you need to know what you're going to work with.

2) What is the project’s architecture?

Is it a monolithic or a microservice app? What patterns does it implement?

3) How soon is the code from a repository deployed to production?

Is the project a self-hosted solution, or does it use cloud technologies? Does the team employ the CI/CD practices? Are container technologies used in the project? Do the team members review each other’s code before deployment?

4) What are the other significant tech details the candidate needs to know?

Find out as much as you can about the databases, APIs, build tools, IDEs, version control systems, etc.

5) Who maintains the project’s documentation? How often is it updated?

You need to know whether writing and maintaining the project’s documentation will be among your direct responsibilities.

6) How is the code tested?

Is it a Unit, Integration, Regression, or A/B testing, or some other type? Who is responsible for writing tests? Which amount of code is now covered by tests? What bug trackers are used?

7) Who is responsible for force majeure situations?

What if the server failover happens in the middle of the night? Who will be responsible for fixing the issue? Does the project have on-call rotations?

The project, the team, and the company culture

8) What are the key details of the project?

What problem(s) does the application solve? What are the project’s short-term and long-term goals? Is the project raising investments, or is it planning to do so? How does this solution differ from the competitors'?

9) What methodology does the project use — Agile, Waterfall, Scrum, Kanban?

Sometimes there are several methodologies utilized. However, it’s important to know what will be your entry point and what is the present developmental stage of the project.

10) How much is development vs. maintenance?

Your interest in the project directly depends on this, right?

11) How large is the team? What is its structure?

Do you prefer working on a big team with a complicated structure, or are you a perfect individual contributor? To avoid further frustrations, learn as much as you can about the team’s size, structure, the number of foreigners, etc.

12) To whom will I report?

Or, maybe, you will be reported to?

13) Is there room for growth?

Are there any career advancement opportunities for this position? Is there a job rotation program?

14) Does your company encourage education for this position?

Are there any workshops or hackathons planned within the company? Will the education, (conferences, courses, training), outside of the company be encouraged and paid for? Will you have a mentor, or will you have to mentor somebody else?

15) What is the working schedule?

How flexible is the schedule? Is it possible to work from home? Do employees on this project work overtime? If so, is overtime paid? Does the position entail business trips? If yes, how often will they take place and what will be the destination(s)?

16) Is the team friendly?

Are there any corporate events? How often do they take place? How are the conflicts within the team usually resolved?

The hiring process itself

17) How many stages will be there in the interview process? How will it proceed?

To be prepared, you should know all the stages of the hiring process and their average duration. Moreover, don’t forget to ask who will be interviewing you at each stage of the process.

The technical interview deserves special attention. Will it be a Skype call or a personal meeting? Will you have to write code or answer technical questions? If it’s a job involving relocation, will the company cover flight and living expenses for the final meeting at the office?

Note: Jobs with relocation need a much broader list of important questions. Here is the list of the relocation-related things your recruiter should tell you about.

18) What does a test task look like?

Knowing the specifics of the test task, you will be able to prepare for it. Specify also how much time it will take to perform, or whether you will be limited in time.

Other extremely important questions

19) What is the salary range for this job? How flexible is the salary?

Specify the salary range and how often it will be reviewed.

20) Can I talk to some of the team members personally?

The recruiter's answer and reaction will show you whether all they've told you about the company was the truth.

Remember that forewarned is forearmed, and don't be shy to ask a lot of questions while looking for a tech job. What other questions do you usually ask before accepting the job offer? Please write them in the comments.  :-)

Posted on Jun 19 '19 by:

stetsenko_me profile

Andrew Stetsenko

@stetsenko_me

HR Tech Entrepreneur with coding background

Discussion

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These are great questions. One thing that helped me be better in an interview, was to realize that I need to be interviewing the company as well. They want to know what kind of person I am, my goals, If I will be likeable, get along with the team, etc. But you are interviewing them as well. I have worked for some shady startups.

You should be interviewing them as well to make sure they are a good fit for you. With the right questions you should be able to get an idea of how the company is managed, likelihood of it being a hostile work environment, whether you would like them, their values (yes a companies values IMHO are important too), and everything else the above questions would tell you. Also look for where they might be dodging questions which is a red flag.

Overall, good post. Some good questions in there.

 

I completely agree with you. It's important to remember that you're interviewing the company, too, to define whether the organization and the vacancy meet your expectations.

 

Awesome list. Most recruiters won't have deep answers to some of these questions, especially about technology and engineering practices. But there's no harm in asking, and these are certainly worth digging into on the phone screen with an engineering team member or manager.

 

Thank you! Before starting to search for a new tech specialist, a recruiter should arrange an intake meeting with a hiring manager. Perhaps the answers to the tech-related questions won't be deep, but a recruiter should know at least the basic information.

 

Nice points you're making!

I also really like the Joel Test with these points:

  1. Do you use source control?
  2. Can you make a build in one step?
  3. Do you make daily builds?
  4. Do you have a bug database?
  5. Do you fix bugs before writing new code?
  6. Do you have an up-to-date schedule?
  7. Do you have a spec?
  8. Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
  9. Do you use the best tools money can buy?
  10. Do you have testers?
  11. Do new candidates write code during their interview?
  12. Do you do hallway usability testing?
 

thank you so much, I actually have an interview tomorrow morning, and I was wondering what might be the questions that I need to ask.

5, 7, 10, 12, 13, 15 and 19 are the most important ones for me 🙌🏻

 

Thanks for your feedback! Good luck with your interview :)

 

Thanks men! Some of this are really good!

 

Thanks! I wrote myself a similar list, but this is much more complete!