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Questions You’re Asking in Interviews

Yujie Z.
Yujie Z.

Looking for your next engineering role? In 2013, a blog post by Edward Ocampo-Gooding (@ Shopify) inspired a list of suggested questions for interview candidates looking for their next web dev employer. Shortly after, this list inspired a popular blog post, Questions I'm asking in interviews by Julia Evans. Questions I'm asking in interviews open sources an extensive list of questions covering topics such as engineering practices, management's style and company culture, drawn from many others in the tech space sharing questions that are important to them throughout their interview process.

At Aptible, we care about hiring the best team members and thus we strongly encourage and make time for Q&A in each step of our hiring process. Moreover, we’re committed to transparency and open sourcing of our culture and hiring process. Below you’ll find our responses to the questions in Julia Evan's blog post - something we'd like to title: Questions you're asking in interviews.

Engineering Practices

What version control system do you use?

Do you test your code?

How do you make sure that all code is understood by more than one person?

Do you do code review? Does all code get reviewed?

Do you have an issue tracker?

Describe your deployment process – how do you find bugs in your team’s code? What recourse do you have when you find a serious bug in production code?

Who is responsible for doing deployment? How often do you deploy?

When something goes wrong, how do you handle it? Do devs get shamed for breaking the build?

How/when do developers talk to non-developers? Is it easy to talk to the people who are/will be using your product?

Who are the people at your company with a lot of depth of experience? Will I be able to talk to them?

What’s your approach to technical debt?

Management Style

How does engineering work get assigned?

How are technical decisions made and communicated?

How do you balance support work and feature development?

Can you give me an example of someone who’s been in a technical role at your company for a long time, and how their responsibilities and role have changed?

Do you have a dedicated designer? QA? Technical writer? Dev manager?

How often do you have meetings? Are there any scheduled/standing meetings? Who talks to customers (if appropriate) and how?

Has there been a situation where someone raised an ethical concern? If so, how was it handled? If not, have there really not been any?

How are decisions made? Is architecture dictated top-down? Are ideas from anyone welcomed? If so, in what scope/context?

How are disagreements solved - both technical disagreements and other kinds? What happens when personalities clash?

Can you tell me about a time when you’ve had to let someone go?

Is there a written roadmap all developers can see? How far into the future does it extend? How closely is it followed?

How is performance evaluated?

Quality of Life

How much vacation do people get? If there’s “unlimited” vacation, how much vacation do people normally take?

Is it possible to take sabbaticals or unpaid vacation?

How many women work for you? What’s your process for making sure you have diversity in other ways?

How many hours do people work in an average week? In your busiest weeks?

Is variability tolerated or is everyone expected to be on the same schedule?

What time do people normally leave work?

Would I need to be on call? How often?

How often are there emergencies or times when people have to work extra hours?

What is your turnover rate like? How many devs were hired last year and how many left?

What’s your retention rate of women over 1.5 years? Do you think you could have done anything differently to keep people who left?

Do people work on the weekend?

Do people check in when they’re on vacation? How often?

Is it possible to work from home, say, 1 or 2 days a week? Does anyone do this? (can be a nice option to have)

Does this position require travel? How often?

Community Involvement

Do you contribute to open-source projects? Which projects? Which teams work on open source? Do you work mostly in the community or do you have a private fork?

Do your employees speak at conferences about your work?

Career Development

Are employees encouraged to go speak at conferences?

Do you cover travel to conferences? How many conferences a year do devs typically go to?

Does your company support continuing education? (will they pay for employees to do a master’s degree?)

In what other ways do you support career development?