Alexander Bird Software • Blog

Learning to build useful, valuable software as part of a team.

"Do you have any questions for me?" (2022 edition)

Questions I ask my interviewers.

When I interview for a job, these are the questions I ask at some point during the interview process. When there are multiple rounds of interviewing I try to cover each of the questions at least once.

I should clarify that I don't expect great answers to all these questions. I've never worked somewhere where each of these questions has an answer that I love. This isn't a checklist for me because I don't expect to work somewhere where every aspect of the work is just the way I want it to be. I'm looking to get answers that excite me for some of these questions, and answers I can tolerate for all the others. If the excitement outweighs the disappointment, I choose to continue with my application. If I end up getting and accepting a job offer, it's helpful to know in advance what areas of the new team's working style will be slightly disappointing for me so that I can brace myself and think of mitigations. In some cases it's an opportunity for me to learn to love a new way of working, in other cases it's an opportunity for me to share some of my experiences with the team (maybe they'll like my preferred way of working), or in other cases it's an opportunity for me to remember that this is a job and not a hobby and I'm not expected to love all of it.

I'll also say that this is a personal list -- it's what matters to me. There are lots of teams that work in totally different ways to how I want to work, and I'm not making any comments about whether that's good or bad, effective or ineffective. This list describes what I am personally looking for in a team, not what I believe all teams should be like. I would be sad if every team worked exactly the same... variation is a delightful source of innovation. That's another reason why I would proceed with a job even if some of the answers to these questions are not what I'm looking for. I'm keen to learn new ways of working (if they seem to be good ways of working), so it seems good to me to join a team that has some practices that surprise me. In asking these questions, I'm assessing to what extent the team will have familiar practices to me, and to what extent they will be different. I'm expecting a balance somewhere in the middle.

With that introduction aside, here are the questions and what I'm looking for in the answers.

Deal Breakers


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Written 2022-12