This post was updated in December 2017 with new information.
I’m willing to bet that you have at least a short list of questions you like to ask a developer after an interview. But if you’re like many recruiters I’ve spoken to, it’s not uncommon for candidates to inquire about things that make you say, “Wow, that was an excellent question that I wasn’t expecting.” While it’s hard to predict every question that every developer candidate will ask, we were curious to hear about what they want to know about a company after an interview.
Considering that developers say that opportunities for professional development are their most important job evaluation criteria, you should always be prepared to answer technical interview questions about how your staff can advance their careers. In Russell’s case, an upward career trajectory and job security go hand in hand, putting this near the top of her list of questions for employers. “I don’t want to be looking for a job every couple of years,” she adds. “So it’s important for me to be able to see a clear path for growth.”
Whenever I ask a developer about what they like most about their job, I feel confident that I’m about to hear an answer that can be summed up in two words: shipping code. To ensure that she won’t just be another cog to keep a machine running, Russell makes it a point to ask employers about opportunities to contribute immediately. She also takes a particular interest in learning more about each company’s end-users and challenges they’re working to solve. Russell adds, “I prefer to solve problems and design for someone that I can empathize with.”
Developers have made no secret of the fact that they want to work with smart people, so don’t be surprised when a developer asks for more details about your interview process. Russell told us that in her experience, a surprising number of employers hire developers without putting them through a technical interview, which has made it one of her biggest questions for employers. “When they tell me it’s not necessary, I take it as a warning sign,” she says. “Often the end-result is a group of coders programming in the wild west—which eventually becomes a monolith that’s no fun to play with.”
Sure, developers can’t be swayed by endless piles of money alone, but Russell tells us that asking about compensation after an interview helps her learn more about how a company treats its employees. “Usually when compensation comes up, you can get a pulse on whether the company is hiring for quantity or quality,” she says. “I prefer to be hired for quality, rather than just being another warm body.”