Skip to main content

Getting to Know an Employer as a Developer

Background

When getting to know a potential future employer, I have never asked the exact same questions twice. Many answers are given without an explicit question. Nevertheless, there is a core set of explicit questions that I want to hear about from an employer to get a better picture. I'll share that set with you today.

I won't go into much detail about what I ask each question for: for most questions it should be obvious. The overall theme is:

Can I be happy at this place, in this team, for longer?

There will hardly be time to ask all of these questions in one session or even two, so getting answers to all will be hard to unrelastic.

I have tried to categorize them a bit, but there is no clear cut for many of them. And forget about order. On to the questions!

Questions

Dynamics and Process

  • Who gets to decide what is being built, how it is build, and when?

  • What other teams does this team interact with?

  • Are you doing agile? Which flavor: Scrum, Kanban, ...? Can you walk me through your version of Scrum? How well does the current approach work for you?

  • Are developers doing DevOps as well? Who's in charge of deployment and operation?

  • How is code review done within this team?

  • How is code making its way into the master branch? What does the current branch/merge workflow look like?

  • Do you do continuous integration, do you do continuous delivery?

Team

  • Besides the people in this room: who else is on the team? Are there any freelancers / external people are involved on top?

  • I would like to get to know the rest of the team. Is that possible?

  • (How long have you been in this company?)

  • (Has anyone of you terminated his contract?)

Product

  • Can you give a quick tour of the product to me?

  • Please tell me about the current tech stack? Are there known plans for change?

  • What version are you using of ... and ...? (Debian wheezy and Django 1.8 anyone?)

Culture

  • At work, what opportunities are there to learn something new, to grow as a developer, to grow as a person, to experiment, to have fun?

  • For my position, what are potential options for promotion?

  • How do you keep technical debt down?

  • What's the approach to overtime in this company?

  • What is your take regarding home office?

  • What are the core hours for work at this company?

  • I have no plans on touching Windows or macOS. Is that okay with you?

  • Was there a 13th salary last year? Roughly how much in percent of a month's salary was it?

  • There is a conference called Chaos Communication Congress every year from December 26th to December 30th that means a lot to me. Will I be able to take vacation during that time of the year?

  • I need a truly ergonomic chair. Is that possible?

That's about it, should take quite some time. The more you rush through questions the less you hear answers!

Surprised by that list? Found it helpful? Do you ask something more that gets you interesting replies?

Drop me a mail!

Sebastian