What To Ask Before Joining a Software Engineering Team

Artem Golubev (Dev Lead - Automated Retail @ Hivery), Alex Gurr (Head of Engineering @ Cloudwave), Paul Kelcey (VP Engineering @ Displayr), Xavi Ferro (Head of Engineering @ Simply Wall St), Tim Tang (VP Engineering @ Local Measure), Alexander Iskrenov (Head Of Engineering @ Bluewater Control), Vinny Lawrenson-Woods   (General Manager, Product Engineering @ Prezzee), Stuart Totman (Head of Engineering @ Campaign Monitor)

Authored by engineering leaders at Hivery, Simply Wall St, Prezzee, Campaign Monitor, Bluewater Control, Car Next Door and Longtail UX

Questions to Ask Before Joining a Software Engineering Team


**Looking for a software engineering job right now? Head to our job board
here.**

Artem Golubev (Dev Lead - Automated Retail @ Hivery)

I’d ask if it’s possible to spend a couple of hours in a team on a regular day to see what they do and how they work, as one of the interview rounds. It’s not always possible, but I’ve seen it happen before.

Alex Gurr (Head of Engineering @ Cloudwave)

Ask members of the new team for their experience, even if they’re not involved in the hiring process. Ask your hirer for names of contacts or look at the company’s employees on LinkedIn. Glassdoor will also show reviews for working at a company

Paul Kelcey (VP Engineering @ Displayr)

Unless you know someone there that you can talk to, I’m not sure that you can. You can read reviews on Glassdoor. You can get some signs from the interview process itself. But until you get there, you never know for sure. But probation periods work both ways. The company is on probation for you just as much as you are for them. Normally, if you get a bad vibe, you’re likely to be right.

Start-ups can be the wild west. If you are learning and are treated well and paid according to market rates then you are probably in a good business. Don’t put up with any mistreatment especially with the job market being as buoyant as it is now.

Xavi Ferro (Head of Engineering @ Simply Wall St)

You can get a lot of insights during the interview process. How much does the TA know about the business? What about the engineering team? How deep is the technical interview? Did you feel that people interviewing you were great people to work with? What about managers?

Remember that the interview goes both ways, so it is important to ask any questions that can clarify your point of view. So, some questions:

  • What does the release process look like?
  • How often do you release?
  • How do you monitor the changes? Gatekeepers?
  • What is current traffic?
  • What are the major problems?
  • What is my manager supporting my growth?
  • How is the team organised?

For me it is important that I get a sense of transparency. If something is broken, that’s fine if they are happy to share it and can give me context and a plan to solve the problem.

Tim Tang (VP Engineering @ Local Measure)

Ask to meet with some key team members in product, engineering, design. Ask about process, tools and day to day activities. Check for consistency between their answers and get a feel for how much input everyone has to make changes to these factors.

Alexander Iskrenov (Head Of Engineering @ Bluewater Control)

Simply ask to spend a day with the team, have lunch with them or attend a company event. Meeting the people in person is the most reliable way to make a good decision and the initiative will be usually welcomed.

Vinny Lawrenson-Woods   (General Manager, Product Engineering @ Prezzee)

Talk to the engineers. Grab a coffee with them and have an open conversation about the positive and challenging aspects of the team. Asking what the engineers would change or what they would do more of will give you some important insights. Speak to the team leader for their perspective and see where things align and where they don’t. Also, ask what the team vision/strategy is.

Stuart Totman (Head of Engineering @ Campaign Monitor)

We try to ensure we have your prospective team members in the interview process and that is a great opportunity to dig into how the team likes to work. Before the days of pandemics we also liked to take candidates around the office so they can see what it looks like to work with us and get a feel for the culture of the office.

Related Articles

Software Engineers: Why Work at a Startup Over an Established Business

Authored by engineering leaders at InLoop, Mr Yum, Atlassian, EntryLevel, Culture Amp, Zeller and more

Authored by engineering leaders at InLoop, Mr Yum, Atlassian, EntryLevel, Culture Amp, Zeller and more

Software Engineers: Resume and Job Application Tips for Startups

Authored by engineering leaders at Atlassian, Simply Wall St, Mr Yum, Culture Amp, Campaign monitor and more

Authored by engineering leaders at Atlassian, Simply Wall St, Mr Yum, Culture Amp, Campaign monitor and more

Startup Interview Tips for Software Engineers

Authored by engineering leaders from Simply Wall St, Prezzee, Mr Yum, Hivery, Local Measure, Campaign Monitor, Cloudwave, Bluewater Control, Car Next Door and Displayr

Authored by engineering leaders from Simply Wall St, Prezzee, Mr Yum, Hivery, Local Measure, Campaign Monitor, Cloudwave, Bluewater Control, Car Next Door and Displayr

What it Takes to be a Successful Startup Software Engineer

Authored by senior engineering leaders from Cloudwave, Displayr, Simply Wall St, Campaign Monitor, Bluewater Control, Prezzee and Zeller

Authored by senior engineering leaders from Cloudwave, Displayr, Simply Wall St, Campaign Monitor, Bluewater Control, Prezzee and Zeller

40 Questions Software Engineers Should Ask in Startup Interviews

Authored by engineering leaders from Atlassian, Culture Amp, Mr Yum, Campaign Monitor, Cloudwave, Displayr, Simply Wall St, Campaign Monitor, Prezzee, Bluewater Control, Pendula, Zeller, and Car Next Door

Authored by engineering leaders from Atlassian, Culture Amp, Mr Yum, Campaign Monitor, Cloudwave, Displayr, Simply Wall St, Campaign Monitor, Prezzee, Bluewater Control, Pendula, Zeller, and Car Next Door

Software Engineers: What to Look For When Choosing a Startup

Authored by engineering leaders at Longtail UX, Simply Wall St, Campaign Monitor, Prezzee, Bluewater Control and Cloudwave

Authored by engineering leaders at Longtail UX, Simply Wall St, Campaign Monitor, Prezzee, Bluewater Control and Cloudwave

What To Ask Before Joining a Software Engineering Team

Authored by engineering leaders at Hivery, Simply Wall St, Prezzee, Campaign Monitor, Bluewater Control, Car Next Door and Longtail UX

Authored by engineering leaders at Hivery, Simply Wall St, Prezzee, Campaign Monitor, Bluewater Control, Car Next Door and Longtail UX

Day in the Life of a Startup Software Engineer

Authored by engineering leaders from Culture Amp, Mr Yum, Atlassian, Car Next Door, Pendula, Entry Level and Zeller

Authored by engineering leaders from Culture Amp, Mr Yum, Atlassian, Car Next Door, Pendula, Entry Level and Zeller

Importance of Maintaining a Portfolio for Graduate Software Engineers

Authored by engineering leaders at Atlassian, Culture Amp, Zeller, Mr Yum, Wisr and more

Authored by engineering leaders at Atlassian, Culture Amp, Zeller, Mr Yum, Wisr and more

Interested in writing an article around getting a startup job?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.