Interview Questions

When I started the interview process with my current company, I wanted to be sure that accepting a role with them, should I be offered one, was the right thing to do.

I missed software testing but I didn’t want to take just any role. I wanted to take a role where I knew I could learn, grow and flourish in my career.

With that in mind, here are the questions I asked throughout my interview process, why I asked them and how that helped me know we would be a good fit for each other.

What does a bad day look like at this company?

This felt like a risky one to start with but I thought that it would help me frame follow on questions. I asked this of two interviewers, a manager and a team lead.

The managers response was “Down time because it can affect the long term perception of the business”. So, I knew based on this answer that customer perceptions are important, they care about their end user. Not everyone does in my experience.

The team lead responded with “People handing in their notice out of the blue because you feel like you missed some way to help them”. This showed to me a desire to learn from mistakes and an awareness about communication across the team, both things that are very important to me.

What is the most expensive lesson to date for the company in your opinion?

I used this to drill into the bad side of things more with the company and I asked this in all of my interviews. My strategy with this approach was to see how aligned/aware everyone in the process was with the mistakes made to date.

I got multiple variations of the same answer at all levels of the interview process. “No testers in the early days.” Or “Not enough focus on quality”. It seemed that the company was now in a position where they saw the value testing provides across the development life cycle and how it could have helped them in the early days.

I didn’t want to get too excited about this whole company focus on quality but this was the type of thing I’d heard about at conferences and very much wanted to experience for myself.

What does a typical day look like on the team?

I wouldn’t have mentioned this question in this post were it not for one stand out answer I got “We’re using the agile principles that make sense in our context”.

So, nobody was shoehorning in agile ceremonies just because everyone else was. Nobody was forcing stand ups or retrospectives or story points just because “that’s agile”.

What challenges are you most proud of overcoming in the role?

I didn’t want all the questions to be doom and gloom! I wanted to know how they defined success and how they viewed the journey to getting there. Was it all them? Did they acknowledge others? Did they feel like they had been set up for success at all? Did they feel like there was more growth for them in their roles?

Again, the answers here helped to give me valuable insight into the teams I would be working with and helped me to start thinking about how I would communicate with them.

What attracted you to this company?

This was a fun one to ask because I followed it up with “And is that still the case for you?”

It helped me to get an insight into the journey of everyone so far. Additionally, I was able to gauge if they were actually happy based on their responses to the follow up, i.e. they hadn’t been sold a lie in the interview process 😅

If you could change one thing in the current processes, what would it be?

On the surface of things, this might seem like a vanilla question to ask. However, the answers I received to this were incredibly honest. I got a completely transparent set of responses that let me know exactly what awaited me should I start in the company and that didn’t scare me.