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What Questions Would You Ask?

42 replies on 3 pages. Most recent reply: Nov 3, 2006 7:33 AM by Tapan kumar Rath

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terence toh

Posts: 1
Nickname: cutebanana
Registered: Oct, 2006

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 7, 2006 9:07 PM
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(1) Who is my immediate superior

(2) Am i supposed to work with another department without any prior notice by my superior ?

(3) Who is my immediate subordinate (if there's any) ?

(4) Can another department 'borrow' my subordinate without informing me first ?

Nicole Bethmann

Posts: 1
Nickname: nbethmann
Registered: Oct, 2006

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 7, 2006 9:55 PM
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I start with: Do you guys go to lunch together? If the answer to that isn't positive then I know I don't want to work there.

Nicole

Nick Sophinos

Posts: 1
Nickname: nickmdf
Registered: Oct, 2006

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 7, 2006 10:21 PM
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Oh, this one is simple:
So, how many hours, days, or weeks will it take for me to get my copy of your development environment up and running?

(Longer than one day -- I am outta there)

Anonymous Anonymous

Posts: 1
Nickname: tinker123
Registered: Oct, 2006

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 7, 2006 10:30 PM
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I've read Bruce's stuff for years. I have been impressed with his level of knowledge and much more importantly his depth of thought.

I am glad he is addressing this topic as I have moved into a phase of my career where I want more than just _a_ programming job.

I have found that a lot of companies want to hire people with the skills of a good programmer for jobs that require very little ( even if any ) programming.

The next time I go job hunting I thought I would address this problem by asking about specific details of the project they have for me

They can make up a snow job ( I have seen this ), but I think if I watch for changes in tone of voice, body language
I will be able to tell if it is a bs position.

To this end I like Bruce's questions about the number of projects they attempted, succeeded at, failed at and why.

The answers to these question will force a good description of what kind of work is going on in the place, what life will be like working them, how thoughtful they are etc.

I'm guessing if active development isn't happening or if the managers aren't trying to be progressive these questions will force that out quickly with a certain amount of hesitation and awkwardness from them.

I think of the jobs I had where there wasn't a lot of development going on and the managers weren't trying to be progressive.

I can not see those managers faking their way through those kind of questions.

Chris Dailey

Posts: 56
Nickname: mouse
Registered: Dec, 2002

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 8, 2006 12:40 PM
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Some important non-technical questions:

- How are the paychecks funded? (Product sales, advertising, venture capital -- if something happens to the economy, will you be out of work?)

- How much debt does the company have? (How much of your time is paying off the company's past mistakes?)

- What is the company's annual revenues? How many employees? (Do a mental calculation of revenue / employee, if it's less than $100,000 / employee, then that's a potential warning sign.)

- What is the company's net profit/loss?

They might not be able to answer some of these questions if they are not a public company.

Tony Nassar

Posts: 2
Nickname: slideguita
Registered: Sep, 2006

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 8, 2006 10:30 PM
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At a confident company, these might create a positive impression: "This guy is interested in making a commitment." At an unconfident company, these would make the interviewer wary. I.e., you might be better off not going there...

> Some important non-technical questions:
>
> - How are the paychecks funded? (Product sales,
> advertising, venture capital -- if something happens to
> the economy, will you be out of work?)
>
> - How much debt does the company have? (How much of your
> time is paying off the company's past mistakes?)

Simone Gianni

Posts: 1
Nickname: simoneg
Registered: Oct, 2006

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 13, 2006 7:18 PM
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Maybe, instead of all this questions :

may I spend a day aside a developer on my same position and ask him whatever i want?

If many of these questions seems silly or scare the person interviewing you, they will surely sound serious to a developer!

Andy Dent

Posts: 165
Nickname: andydent
Registered: Nov, 2005

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 14, 2006 5:40 AM
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The two questions I've not thought of to ask:

"If I were looking at a piece of code or a design document, how do I find out why a particular design or architectural decision was made?"

"Why are you interested in me as opposed to any other candidate?"

Here are my favourite two I have asked, with informative reactions:

"What is your top technical risk or problem right now?"

"What is your top social or organisational risk or problem?"

Andy Dent

Posts: 165
Nickname: andydent
Registered: Nov, 2005

Re: How does the group communicate? Posted: Oct 17, 2006 2:09 AM
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> Apologies for being slightly off topic here but I want to
> get out of the situation of being the "guy who knows
> everything about XXX project" as Chad spoke about here in
> question 1. I want to do this in an agile way though not
> by writing a truckload of documentation

I think this is worthy of its own thread, over to http://www.artima.com/weblogs/viewpost.jsp?thread=180637

Mike Fischbein

Posts: 1
Nickname: mpez0
Registered: Oct, 2006

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Oct 18, 2006 10:06 AM
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Just one question:

"What is the turnover rate for people coming in to similar positions at similar seniority levels?"

Tasos Zervos

Posts: 17
Nickname: tzervos
Registered: May, 2003

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Nov 2, 2006 4:48 AM
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> (1) Who is my immediate superior
>
> (2) Am i supposed to work with another department without
> any prior notice by my superior ?

What make you believe that your manager is your superior?

With that attitude you'd better avoid any questions...! ;-)

George V. Reilly

Posts: 2
Nickname: georgere
Registered: Sep, 2004

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Nov 2, 2006 11:28 PM
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I nearly always ask an interviewer, "What do you like about this place?" and then follow it up with "What DON'T you like?"

When I was offered a position at my current company, I emailed my lead-to-be a list of questions, such as:

* Owning what's in my head. Some companies want employees to sign away all rights to the ideas they generate, whether at home or on the job. What's your position, assuming no conflict of interest?

* Writing books, articles, etc. Any issues if I continue to write the occasional book or article?

* Blogging. Any issues? Obviously, it's important to exercise good judgment when discussing work-related topics.

* Moonlighting. Any policy on occasional part-time work for others? Assuming no conflict of interest or effect upon my work at my day job.

* Training/Education/Books/Tools. Do you pay (within reason) for employees to attend conferences or training? What about books and software tools?

* Contributing to Open Source projects. Any problems? Usual disclaimers apply.

Tapan kumar Rath

Posts: 18
Nickname: papuni
Registered: Sep, 2005

Re: What Questions Would You Ask? Posted: Nov 3, 2006 7:33 AM
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Well my questions would be:
1. Would you bother what I am doing as long as I am finishing up what is being assigned to me in time.
2. How do I fit in the hierarchy.
3. Is there a chance that I get promoted to my immediate superior's position without, his being involved with me in noways.
3. If my immediate superior is a stooge do you care for what
he says or what I say.
4. Can I take a holiday if I finish up my work early.

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