I’ve been involved in interviewing people, and like everyone I have also been interviewed. I believe that when you are interviewing for a company, it is a time for both parties to determine if you will fit into the corporate culture so everyone should ask questions. I strongly believe that if something really bothers you in an interview that you should walk away if you have any doubts.
I usually ask at least these four questions, although sometimes I will ask more to clarify something I’m concerned with or to show that I don’t quite understand but would like to understand.
Do programmers have quiet working conditions?
This question really determines if I will be able to get into a really productive mind set or if I will struggle most of my day getting in and out of the zone. I believe that there’s no harm with a programmer sharing an office with someone else, but it wouldn’t be very logical to put a programmer beside someone else that is always on the phone.
On average, how long does an employee remain with your company?
You should never suggest or use the phrase “turnover” because you will probably just receive a simple response like “low.” Obviously, if the company is younger or a startup this question might be completely meaningless. Ideally, you will hear that there are some programmers that have been with the company for several years.
Could you explain to me how the development process works here?
I don’t usually expect much of a response to this question if the person works in Human Resources, but hopefully you will hear about processes being documented.
How do you track/follow bugs/issues?
This question is used to probe how organized the development and maitenance processes are. Ideally, the team will be highly organized which should make your time used effectively and software released with fewer bugs.