30 of the best questions you could ask in a job interview at a tech company

by Taylor Majewski
December 1, 2016

Landing a job is hard. From networking with everyone you know, to perfecting your resume to crafting an intriguing cover letter, the process is arduous and often lengthy.

If one thing holds true in all job interviews, it’s the importance of asking your own questions. Not only does it show you’re genuinely interested in the job, but you’ll also be able to get a sense of if the role, and company, is right for you.

We caught up with four New York tech companies to find out what they think are the best questions a candidate can ask during an interview. Here what they had to say.

 

 

Built In: What are some of the best questions a candidate can ask while interviewing at your company?

Yotpo: The strongest questions are the ones that dig deeper into the role, management, hiring managers and the company itself — allowing the candidate to gain further insight into the topics most important to him or her. Some examples include:

  • As a prior agency recruiter, you were exposed to 150+ startups before joining Yotpo. Why did you choose to join this one?

  • What are the biggest challenges someone in this position can expect to face, and how might they overcome those?

  • If I were to be successful in this role, what would my trajectory for growth look like? How do you define success in this position?

  • As a company, what are your short-term and long-term goals? How does the role that I am applying for fit into those goals?

  • You’ve told me why you love working at Yotpo, but what are some of the challenges you face?

  • I know that your HQ is in Tel Aviv. Does that affect how changes are implemented in the NY office?

  • As you are growing at a rapid base, what are you proactively doing to ensure that you keep that small organization mentality alive?

Built In: Why is it important for candidates to ask questions in an interview?

Yotpo: Questions allow you to learn aspects of the role and company that can’t be found online, but they also allow you to get various perspectives from the team. Utilizing each interviewer — asking not only different questions but sometimes ones you have already asked, for a different opinion — is ideal because each will have a different answer based on his/her role and experiences at the company. Additionally, asking questions demonstrates genuine interest and prior research. Interviewers want to see that you have put thought into your potential future at the company, assuring that you won’t be surprised by what is expected of you come day 1 on the job.

 

 

Built In: What are some of the best questions a candidate can ask while interviewing at your company?

Flatiron Health: We look for candidates who ask specific and deep questions about our business strategy that are not necessarily obvious or detailed on our website. Complex questions show us that not only did the candidate do their homework and are truly interested, but that they have the critical thinking skills to identify what factors might be driving our strategy and how their role would fit into that. It shows us that they are goal-oriented thinkers who can quickly separate salient information from irrelevant information and will know how to focus their time and energy in a startup environment, which can often be ambiguous.

Built In: Why is it important for candidates to ask questions in an interview?

Flatiron Health: It gives us a sense of not just how they think about the questions we throw at them, but also that they have thought about Flatiron as a company and what it means to have a career here. Superficial questions like ‘what are you looking for in a candidate?’ are fine, but a really thoughtful question about our business objectives shows us that you have taken the time to think about how you’d contribute. This can often be the difference between an ‘okay’ candidate and a great one.

 

 

 

Built In: What are some of the best questions a candidate can ask while interviewing at your company?

Grovo: Get to know your new manager. Ask them how their direct report would describe them — their positives and negatives. Great leaders are self-aware and open about their own strengths/weaknesses.

Ask about open roles and your team. Is it a new team? This may mean the company is growing (a good sign), or a lot of people have recently left (a bad sign).

Ask multiple interviewers the same question: what is the team/company strategy? Great teams/companies have a clearly articulated strategy that everyone remembers. Different answers is a warning signal.

Ask how their go-to-market differs from direct competitors. Great companies have a clearly articulated approach that differentiates them from competitors.

Ask about internal communications. Transparent organizations have frequent all-hand meetings, team meetings, and strategy offsites.

Ask about the internal staff engagement score. Great companies will often do internal staff engagement surveys and will score above 75 percent. 

Built In: Why is it important for candidates to ask questions in an interview?

Grovo: It shows you are curious about the opportunity and it stops you from joining the wrong team or company.

 

 

Built In: What are some of the best questions a candidate can ask while interviewing at your company?

OrderGroove: These are some of the best questions you can ask OrderGroove's recruiting team:

  • What does the success of the technology team look like 5 years from now, and is there a blueprint present to help drive that vision?
  • What are the biggest risks your current technology faces, and how would you be prepared to deal with those risks?
  • Is the technology/tech team in line with the overall culture of the company, or do other departments have different views on the culture opposed to the tech space?

  • Tell me about the strongest performer you managed, what quality traits/characteristics did he or she embody that helped push their success?

  • Startups tend to have limited resources therefore, everyone tends to wear multiple hats. How do you balance having your team roll up their sleeves and pitching in when needed while not compromising the quality of the work because they may be over-extended.

  • What made you make the decision to choose this company vs. others?

  • What does success look like for the person in this role? What are your expectations and how will you support the candidate in getting there?

  • How would you describe the culture for your particular team and how it aligns to the overall organization.

  • What is the best part for you, working at this company?

Built In: Why is it important for candidates to ask questions in an interview?

OrderGroove: It's crucial that candidates ask questions during an interview for several reasons. For one, it shows the interviewer they have interest in the role, and really thought about what they wanted to say before meeting (the passion they have for the role lies within the questions they ask). They should be interviewing us just as much as we are interviewing them.

By asking thoughtful questions, they can make sure this is the right opportunity and company for them. It also shows that the candidate has done their research on the position as well as the company; research and collaboration are necessary to reach success for any work related projects. It also shows that a candidate knows how to articulate their craft and to elevate one's resume to life with their own personal questions. It truly speaks volumes to who they are as a candidate and person, and will certainly stand out in the eyes of the interviewer/hiring manager.  

 

 

Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Know of a company that deserves coverage? Let us know or tweet us @builtinnewyork.

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