Interview questions from the candidate

What questions can the candidate ask on an interview?

Sometimes, in an initial interview the interviewer asks a whole lot of questions and you do your best to keep up, and then he asks, “do you have any questions for me?” This can be a bit disheartening: you’ve been on 10 of these this week, he didn’t even introduce himself, the company reached out to you, he went on to technical questions without prefacing them with any personal-company fit, and now, “Do you have any questions for me?” – a generalized, boilerplate inquiry that doesn’t mean what it may seem. So now, it’s time for questions, and it’s bad not to have any.

The first question you want to ask yourself (not him) is: do you want to work there? If your general answer is no – then maybe there is no need to continue. If the answer is yes, the next quesion is: why do you want to work there? You can ask the interviewer this: why should I want to work for your company? Although, admittedly, this is quite aggressive.

Other questions that should have been answered to you by the human resources – but if they haven’t been, you can definitely ask them, are:

  • What city is the position in?
  • What is the title? – The implication here is that you want a certain level. I make a clear distinction between senior and principal, for example.
  • Who does it report to? – You should require to speak with that person at some point in the interview process. And see if you want to work with him.
  • What’s flexible vacation policy? What about work from home? – a boilerplate question that you may ask
  • What’s the salary? – a boilerplate question that you may ask, although be careful! Salary negotiation is a perilous task, you may shoot yourself in the foot. Specifically study the art of salary negotiation. See the article on Salary Negotiation.
  • What technology is being used? What is the technical stack, and what part of the stack am I expected to work on?
  • Do I have to manage other people, and if so, what’s the arrangement?
  • What percentage of my day will I be expected to code? – This, as contrasted to managing.

With these questions you can at least be prepared for those last 3 minutes of the interview.

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