Evaluating a tech team

Julia Evans has been collecting questions to ask a tech company during a job interview with them. It’s a really good list. Many of the questions would also be useful in other contexts, including as something to ask about yourself. Some I particularly liked:

  • How/when do developers talk to non-developers? Is it easy to talk to the people who are will be using your product?
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • Can I see some code the team I’m interviewing for has written? (from an open-source project you work on, for example)
  • How are disagreements solved – both technical disagreements and other kinds? What happens when personalities clash?
  • 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 does internal communication work? This one is super important and I need to remember to ask it more.
  • 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?
  • Is there any sort of institutionalized way of dealing with plateauing or preventing burnout?

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