Based on my own interviews, as well as those of colleagues and mentee, I’ve compiled a list of questions from a teamleader to a company that are worth clarifying at an interview – what to ask the interviewer.
The questions would be appropriate, perhaps not just for the teamleader, but were made up for him.
The questions and their clarifications I try to write without value judgments, everyone has their own priorities and desires. Also, the questions all go without any order or priority, everyone will determine it for themselves.
What is the financial performance of the company?
Is the company profitable or is it wasting investors’ money? Or has it not even reached investors yet, and the founders are paying out of their own pockets so far? What does the business development plan look like?
If the company has a representative office in Russia, is the employment official (according to the Russian Labour Code) and is the salary completely "white"?
Even now, some companies sometimes use "gray" salary payment schemes. There are also sometimes employees who knowingly ask for a "gray" scheme.
Tell us about your understanding of a "good timelid."
The interlocutor should have a clear and consistent understanding of what he means by "teamlead" and what criteria are used to evaluate teamlead performance.
Perhaps this understanding is even spelled out in job descriptions.
Somewhere a teamleader should be a developer (i.e., writing code) with a minimal public workload, somewhere a supervisor, somewhere trying to combine.
Who else (besides you) will interview me and why?
Different companies have different procedures for interviewing. It’s worth clarifying this question beforehand so that you’re not surprised if you’re called in for a group interview and are there with a group of other comrades to test your blockchain knowledge.
And at the same time answering this question will give you a chance to prepare if you plan to go through all these stages of the interview.
Why and how was the last employee who left fired/was fired?
The answer to this question will complement the answer given to the question about "the qualities of a good team leader" and at the same time will show what the company’s attitude towards such questions is.
Attention : The question may be seen as provocative, be careful with it.
What can you get fired for anyway? What constitutes a "failure" in terms of work/performance/behavior?
As with understanding who a "good teammate" is, the supervisor should always have a clearly broadcast and unambiguous understanding of what is unacceptable in a job for which an employee can be fired.
What are the company’s employee turnover rates? Are they satisfactory to you? If not, what are you doing to improve the rates?
The main indicators of turnover are turnover rate and turnover cost. This question complements the question about growth and development and the management tools of the teamleader, allowing you to gather at least some picture of how the company works with people and what kind of results that work brings.
Who will do my onboarding and what is the process?
Often a new teammate is not adapted in any way – "on you command, swim onwards". Sometimes, however, there is a full-blown adaptation process, with goals and objectives (most often crossed with a trial provision).
Is there a probationary provision or is the employee hired immediately considered to have passed the probationary period?
It will become clear how the probationary period in the company works, what you need to do within this period to pass it, and whether the probation is formalized by the RF Labor Code or by word of mouth.
I will write separately about the probationary period and the specifics of how it is handled.
How is the growth and development of a teammate accomplished, "where and how" to grow, and how and for what to get a pay raise?
There are many pay raise schemes in companies, from "seniority" to grades and performance reviews. It is worthwhile to understand before you even start work how, when and for what to "ask for" or "expect" a raise.
It is also worth clarifying the potential for growth and development – what additional roles and responsibilities can be taken on and what are the criteria for assessing the quality of those responsibilities and what are the criteria for assessing the quality of those responsibilities.
Are there additional financial motivation schemes?
Does the company have a bonus system, if so, what are the amounts of bonuses and on what basis are they paid to which categories of employees?
There could be all sorts of RSUs and so on. Be careful, you will often be told about total annual income, which will include entities that are not part of the payroll.
Is equipment given out for work?
The employer is required by law to issue equipment even in its entirety to a remote employee or to compensate for its cost. You can read more here Sometimes employers don’t, but it’s worth clarifying this point beforehand.
What is the teammate’s level of control over the team’s FOT, what are the procedures for dealing with it?
Based on the fact that all companies have their own understanding of what a team leader is and what his/her job description is, there are different models of how a team leader works with the salaries in the team – somewhere a team leader doesn’t even know the salaries of his/her subordinates, somewhere team leaders are "given forks" within which they can work and only highlight the problematic moments to the management. And somewhere, the team leader has full control over the team’s payroll and can raise the employees’ salaries, justifying this necessity.
Sometimes there are ready-made processes for dealing with salaries – performance review, for example, somewhere there are rules that if you try to leave, somewhere they just index the salary for length of service, somewhere the salary stays plus or minus one, but RSUs of all kinds are added on quite a bit.
Does the teamleader have full authority in hiring, growing/developing and firing employees?
How does the teamleader carry out these processes, what management tools are available to him/her? It’s often the case that the team leader only does the selection phase of the hire, not responsible for all of the hiring. Sometimes there are no adaptation processes at all. All in all, there’s a lot to learn about a company’s processes right there.
You can also add here the question "who is a good developer and what is unacceptable?".
Does the company have an ACS, is the work schedule hardwired or flexible? Is there telecommuting, what are the rules?
The schedule and working conditions are worth clarifying right away.
How is goal setting and outcome monitoring done? Is there an accounting of time?
Who sets goals/objectives, in what form? There are all kinds of goal setting – OKRs, KPIs, direct instructions, and documented orders from management.
How does the company handle sick and vacation time?
Each company has its own policy – some pay 100% of their salary during a long sick leave, some act on the RF Labor Code.
In terms of vacation, many companies require vacation planning a year in advance, while some are more flexible.
Does the company pay for the VHI policy, if so, which company?
Different VHI provider companies provide different levels of service at different prices. Recently, services that optimize the cost of VHI for companies and provide additional services to clients have been popularized.
What are the team’s development processes and why? Does the teammate have the ability to change them?
This question echoes the question about the authority of the timeline in hiring/developing employees and may indicate the expected level of competence of the timeline.
It is also important to hear the answer to the question "why" such processes are established – it will show the manager’s level of competence in making decisions to implement anything.
Talk about a meaningful process change initiated and implemented by someone in the team
The interlocutor must be aware of what the subordinate timelines are doing and why they are doing it. If the teamsters aren’t changing processes, then either they’re dead or the processes are rigged from above.
Describe the entire software production process
Based on the answer to this question, you can "dig" deeper and get a more complete picture of the manager’s level of competence and knowledge.
Does the company have redundancies, how often? Do you struggle with them and if so, how?
Warning : the question may seem provocative, you can soften it to "is there recycling in the company?"
And you could also add "When was the last time and for what reason? How were the employees paid for overtime? "
Is there a budget for employee training? How is it allocated?
Sometimes companies have a fixed and planned budget of X amount of money per year for "training." Training can include going to conferences as an attendee or participating in various courses.
The list will be updated forever, the work itself is being maintained on githab , join in. Pool-requests, forks, everything is welcome.