I’m not one to prepare for every eventuality in a job interview, so I usually answer the titular question with a simple “no” unless I have an absolute burning desire to know something about the company or the interviewer. It’s probably for the best that I didn’t read up on “do you have a question for me” ahead of time, because most guides I’ve read online view it as yet another way for the interviewer to judge the job seeker and would have advised me to stick to variations on “how can I be awesome for this position?”.
Nor have I interviewed any prospective software engineers in my career. I’ve known enough people who did, though, to be able to say with relative confidence that they aren’t looking to judge the candidate with that question. They use their regular interview question to find out if the candidate can do the job, but at the end they genuinely want to help the job seeker find out more about the job – at least if the candidate wasn’t a complete dud. (Joel has stated that he even tries to sell the company on candidates he intends to reject, just so they leave with a positive impression.)
I don’t know if I’m cut out to be an interviewer, and so much has been written about interviewing software developers that I wouldn’t have much to write about if I were. But I have been a software interviewee many times in my career and will likely continue to do so (I probably won’t stay at my current position for the next 30 years). As such, I have amassed quite a few questions that I would like to ask my interviewers, and I will share them over the next few posts.
As I move along in my career, I am certain I’ll find more questions to ask, and I’ll either update these lists or make new addendum posts. I’m pretty sure the list I use now will not be the same as the list I will use ten years down the line, or possibly even ten months down the line.
Quick note to recruiters who read this and think “I’d never hire someone who asks me all these questions”: Good. I’ll go work for someone else. Feel free not to send me recruiting emails.
Next time: perhaps the most important thing to me, as a developer…