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5 Questions to Ask When Interviewing for a Software Engineering Role

Software Engineering Interviewing

Congratulations on landing an interview with a great company! The team values what they’ve seen so far on your resume and are interested in learning more about you. How can you make sure this company and the role is the best fit for you? Here are 5 questions that you should ask to find out.

1. What is the problem being solved?

As engineers, we are focused on the problem at hand and creating the best solution for the problem. This question opens the conversation to review the big picture as well as discuss their approach to the solution. Have they identified a clear problem and a path to fixing the problem? This may be that they have a solution that needs to be implemented, or that they are still trying to figure out how to solve the problem.

Is the problem something you’re interested in solving? Is their solution truly fixing the issue or did they wrap something in a blockchain and sprinkle some AI on it?

2. How is a solution being made?

This is a chance to discuss more of the technologies being used to create a solution. Is it a website, software as a service, mobile app, a combination or multiple products? Ask about the development languages, packages and frameworks being used. Is there a standard for development tools and deployment methods? This will give you a chance to make sure the project is something you’re qualified for and are interested in working on.

Take-aways: Is the technology something you have experience with or interested in using?

3. What does a typical week look like?

There are many different project management methodologies that can be used to successfully accomplish goals. Do they develop on weekly or biweekly sprints? Some companies like more structure while others prefer very loose schedules and agendas. Often times people thrive under one condition and struggle under others, while some are flexible enough to adapt to new strategies. Identify which is best for you and see if your style aligns with the company.

Take-aways: Does the company create working conditions that would allow you to be successful?

4. Who is on the team?

At the end of the day, all of the planning and execution is done by people. These may be your teammates that you spend a third of your day with. By asking more about them or to meet them, you can get an idea of the culture and style of the team. Is it a large or small team? Do they have a similar education or experience level? Are they broken down into smaller functional teams, like QA, support, development, and DevOps, or do all members split the responsibilities? How deep is the leadership structure?

Take-aways: Are you excited by the company culture? Are you energized by being with the team?

5. How is success measured?

Engineers are in the business of execution. These deliverables can be measured in numerous ways. This is important to know going into a new position so you can know if the company sees your success. Some companies measure the number of tickets completed, number of features released and others set clear measurable goals that are priorities for the month or quarter. Aligning with the company’s expectations will give you an advantage in your new role.

Take-aways: Understand your company’s goal-setting methods and align with them to ensure your success.

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