Questions to Ask During an Interview

YouTube video of this blog post

When interviewing, you want to make sure that you are asking the right questions to the right people. These questions can be used for many different parts of the interviewing process such as asking these questions to HR or hiring managers or even team members you talk to.

It’s important that when you ask these questions, you also follow up with how you agree or disagree and an example of you having the skill or have done the job they have talked about. In other words, engage in further conversation after the interviewer has answered the question. Also make sure to jot down the answers to these questions to refer to later.

You don’t have to ask all these questions but it is good to ask a variety to get a feel for the company, team and the position.

I’ve grouped these questions based on what group you could ask these questions to: HR/Recruiters, Hiring Managers, Team Members and a bonus question you can ask all groups.

What is the hiring process?


  • How did this job become available?
    • Ask this question to get a find out what kind of need they need to fill and if you could be that person that fills it.
  • What is the hiring process?
    • This is important so that you know how long this process will take. This becomes important when you are interviewing with multiple companies. You can also keep track of this. Also, after each step of the interview process, ask how long it will be until you hear back if they don’t mention it. It will help you time when you follow up with them.
  • Timeline for hiring?
    • This is like the hiring process above. You’ll want to know how quickly they plan to hire. If they are in a rush, ask them why they are. The answer here could vary (maybe they are planning for a new product to drop soon and need extra hands on deck). Pay attention to things that could be red flags (if they don’t answer this question directly, probe them to gain more insight and if after that you get nothing, you may need to walk).
What kind of workflow does the team use?

Hiring Manager/Engineering Manager

  • How many engineers are on the team?
    • This is important just so you know how large or small the engineering team is. This may not matter to you but for me, I don’t want to be the first or second engineer on the team at this point in my career. I value teamwork and learning from others. However, if being the first or second engineer appeals you then that could be good for you to know early on.
  • Whats something the company/team could improve on or is improving on?
    • This one is important. If they don’t have any thing they can improve on, that’s red flag. No one is perfect. Also pay attention to the amount of explanation they are going into here. If they can clearly explain what the issue is and how they can make it better and what they are currently doing to resolve things it usually means that they’ve had conversations about this with others at the company or on their team and really want to make things better.
  • What are the challenges for someone going into this position?
    • You’ll want to know what you are getting yourself into before you walk on the team.
  • What productivity tools do you all use?
    • You can ask this to the recruiter of the company to get a basic insight into the tools the company uses such as Slack for daily communication or Zoom for meetings.
    • The hiring manager would probably be best to answer this especially if the engineering team is using something in addition to what the company uses. You could also gain a bit of insight into what tools they are using for deployment and version control. If they didn’t mention it, then it may be good idea to ask just in case you do get the job, you can look into the tools ahead of time before your first day.
  • Is the team agile? How long is the Sprint cycle?
    • Some recruiters of direct company’s know how the engineering team works. If not, ask the hiring manager – they should be able to provide you with a lot of insight into this if not, run away 😂
  • Is there a product team or does engineering talk directly to business?
    • Ask this to get a better idea of how the team is structured. To learn about who the key players you will be speaking with if you join the team. Also, ask where the person who gets this job would land in this equation – i.e. who do you need to be comfortable talking to. You can also use this as an advantage during your interview if you have past experience that correlates to how their work environment is set up.

Team Members

  • Whats something you wish you would have known before you started?
    • The answer to this question could give you a leg up if you end up working at the company.
  • What is something you’ve learned while working at the company?
    • This is big! What they learned is key to what you can learn if you work here. If they didn’t learn anything that’s a red flag that nothing is new and they aren’t being challenged. Which for me is a non negotiable.
What is one thing you enjoy about working here?

Bonus Question – Ask to Recruiter, Hiring Manager and Team Member

  • Whats your favorite thing you enjoy about working at the company?
    • This tells me a lot about what keeps them at the company. If I hear things that have to do with perks only, it gives me a weird vibe but if they mix in perks along with things they do that help the people using the product or service the company provides then I’m interested in hearing more.

Happy 2021 + Job Update

YouTube Video of Plans and Goals for New Year

Hey everyone welcome to the new year! By now, I hope you had time to reflect on the weird year we just experienced and have made some great plans for 2021!

As for my goals: Expect a video each week so subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already, 2 newsletters each month – if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter sign up now. I also want to post more on social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram so if you aren’t following me there, be sure you do. Particularly, more interactive and behind the scenes content.

I figured I would start the year off with a job update. I haven’t updated in a few weeks and we have had the holidays but I did want you to know what I’ve been up to. I also want to tell you about the things I have planned for the new year in terms of job hunting and my channel so read on if you’re interested.

This update is to feature updates from the last few weeks of December a.k.a during the holidays. I didn’t do much but I did get a rejection from a coding test I did. I completed the test this time so I’m not sure what went wrong there 🤷🏾‍♀️ Except it looks like 🗑 However, I learned some basic React while doing it so I’d say thats a win. Here a link to the repo: ( If you are a React Engineer and have a second, I’d appreciate the feedback – Feel free to comment on the repository or send me DM on Twitter or Instagram. Thanks in advance.

I applied to a position. Since its was during the holidays, I didn’t hear back however, I do plan on reaching out to spark some conversation about the job.

I had an interview and they also gave me a coding test just before the holidays and I will be following up with them once people start heading back to work.

I decided to take a bit of break during the holidays. To get the creative juices flowing, I started updating my website with a template. I plan to unveil the finished product some time during Q1 (January – March) 2021.

Going forward, I want to seek out jobs to apply for based on companies that are doing good in the world – whether it be through their products, services or through their users.

I plan to practice getting comfortable with algorithms on HackerRank for sure and probably try out LeetCode as well.

I will film a couple of past coding tests I have gotten from interviews. The idea is to give you an idea of what to expect based on my current job search and to practice for future interviews.

Overall, this year I generally want to get better at interviewing, particularly coding interviews. I plan to land my next role and I plan to put out more videos for you all. There will be videos where I give an update or talk about a topic of interest such as job searching topics and diversity. I’ll also be doing more coding topics such as reviewing old coding tests and completing them and creating projects. I also want to include more videos on how I organize and plan things such as planning how I’m going to update my website.

I’m wishing you all a great new year to come! Please take care of yourself and be nice to others.

Job hunting- Then vs Now

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Whether you are currently in a coding bootcamp, just graduated or have some experience I wanted to give you some of things I’ve noticed during my experience looking for jobs. As you may know, I graduated from a coding bootcamp in 2016 and job hunting was a little different back then. Now, after I have three years of work experience, I am on the job hunt again after a lay off and things have changed for me. Here’s a brief look at how my experience has changed.


Before it was tough to get recruiters to call me back. They would ask for experience and of course I had none 🙁 Usually the end result was them telling me not right now or something of the like.

Now many recruiters call and though I still don’t have what they are looking for, they still call me back though. I am still amazed. I started an application and did not finish it because they were asking for 10 years of work experience and asked questions related to being in the tech field for 10 years. So, I did not finish since I did not have the required experience. Anyhow, the recruiter called me the next day or so wanting to talk to me about the position and saying I did not finish the application. I called her back and told her that I didn’t have the experience required. She told me about a couple of other jobs but they weren’t a good fit. This interaction was different because usually the recruiter wouldn’t have wanted to get back in contact with me if I did not finish my application.

Work Experience

Before I didn’t have a lot of experience. As I mentioned before, recruiters would often ask for work experience. It’s tough to sell random projects which is why I stress the importance of passion projects. Another great option is freelancing – Working on real world projects is a great way to get your foot in the door. Though, I do understand that freelancing isn’t for everybody (including myself).

Now, I have more experience from past work experiences. More projects to talk about. I recommend that as you are working on projects that you write down the things you have done, take notes on the part you had on the project, talk about what you liked about it and what you could have done better as well as any challenges.


Before – Not too involved in tech scene so I didn’t have a lot of people in my network. I had to throw my resume in a pot with so many other resumes.

Now, I’ve been involved in tech scene for a few years now and I know more people in the industry that I can lean on for support. I also have the privilege of reaching out to my network to find out about jobs.

Imposter Syndrome

Before – I had imposter syndrome because of my lack of knowledge and skills.

Now-a-days, I still lack knowledge in some areas and am not confident in my abilities as I would like to be. Imposter syndrome doesn’t go away.

Resources – Job Boards

Before, I was figuring out sites to look on for jobs and applied to the general job boards like Careerbuilder and

Now, I know a bit more about what sites to go on to find jobs or even how to go about finding the right jobs. I have other job boards I go on geared towards specific coding languages and job boards geared towards being diverse in tech.

Coding Interviews

This last one is specific to the pandemic.

Before coding tests were on the whiteboard because you had to go up to the company’s offices to complete them. I had to get comfortable being at a white board and solving problems. I think I felt pretty good about getting in front of a white board and solving coding challenges in interviews.

Now, they are over zoom calls and some even allow you to take them home. I recommend practicing interviews over zoom calls and solving problems online instead of solely at whiteboards.

In conclusion, no matter where you may be during your job search just know that it’s not easy, it takes practice but you can do it. Hang in there!

Organize your job search + Free download

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Job hunting is a daunting process, you apply for several jobs, you have to talk to many recruiters and if you’re tech you even have to go through coding interviews. It’s all a lot to keep track of. Fortunately, we can make this process a bit easier if we organize job leads.

During my job search, I’ve been keeping up with my job search leads via a spreadsheet. With this spreadsheet, not only can you keep track of your leads but you can also track the statuses of those job leads and it’s completely customizable to fit your needs. This spreadsheet is meant to be a template and should be tweaked to fit your own job search, I just wanted to make it easier for you to start.

Go to this link to sign up for your free copy of the spreadsheet. After you’ve received the email with your download, come back here and I’ll show you how to use it. 

Job status spreadsheet columns: 

Job name – the name of the job

Company name/size – it’s helpful to know how big the company is, you can usually find this by quickly looking on LinkedIn.

Company location – this a good place to add the location of the job and if they intend for you to locate or if it’s a remote position

Link to job – I keep track of my job descriptions in a google doc, however it’s also useful to have a link to the actual job on the company website so you can quickly have a link to refer to during the interview process.

Main languages – this is specially if you’re adding tech job leads. The language refers to the coding languages the company uses based on the job description

Date applied – once you apply, add the date here so you can see how long your response time is.

Where did you hear about the job? – This is a very important one. Hiring managers and recruiters will ask you where you heard about the job from and if a friend sent you the job, let them know. For example, I put that I heard from the job on twitter from John Smith and also keep track of that person’s twitter username so that if I need to I can quickly go back and see what that person said or if I sent them a message I can quickly refer back to it. Use this same process whether the lead came from any social media like linkedin or if you spoke to this person at an online event etc.

Initially qualified? – I added this because I want to know if the positions I’m interviewing for are seemingly within my reach just at a glance. For me, the main thing since I’m looking at tech jobs is that I have some of the coding languages and most of the amount of experience they are looking for. Spoiler alert, I’m not always initially qualified and that’s okay, I still apply if the position looks interesting and I feel that I could learn the skills they ask for. This column can be answered with yes you are or no you are not

Cover letter – Some jobs ask you to, some jobs you have to apply via email with a message stating your interest and qualifications (this is considered a cover letter) and others don’t require it. Either way, this column can be a simple yes you did add a cover letter or no you didn’t. If I want to provide further information, sometimes I’ll add that the cover letter is saved in my google doc.

Heard back after applying? – Did you get an email after submitting your application whether it was a rejection or an invitation to interview. This is a yes or no column and is used in conjunction with the initial contact column. 

Initial contact For this, I add the first and last name of the person I talked to first from the company in terms of a recruiter or hiring manager. I don’t put down phone numbers usually because we’re talking over zoom. It could be a good idea to add their email here in case you need to quickly refer to it. Also in case you need to write a follow up email, you now have it in this sheet as a quick reference

Initial interview – Here, I write down whom I had the initial interview with and what date and time. If there are important details we talked about or things that may be helpful later down the line, I jot them down here. This may be good time to write down the rest of the interview process to expect for this position. Also jot down how you feel the interview went.

Second interview & Third Interview – Same here, jot down whom the interview with was and the date and time of that interview. As well as any additional notes that may be important throughout the interview process.

Side note, you’ll notice there are no additional columns for any subsequent interviews, feel free to add additional columns as you need them. This is meant to be a template that you can tweak as you see fit

Additional notes – In this column, you can add any information about coding interviews here or you can use it to keep track of important details about the job that you may need later on in the process. You can also use this column to write down how you feel about the job – maybe it’s a good fit but you didn’t like the conversations you had with the people on the team during your interview process. Use this field to write out any helpful details you will need or that may be helpful for the future.

Offer amount – This is the fun part of the spreadsheet! You did the hard work of interviewing and then you get an offer, keep track of your offer amounts for positions. Even if you only have one offer, take note of it here. Write down what all comes with that offer as well including bonuses, equity, vacation days etc. This is important for future reference. Chances are you aren’t staying the same job forever so it’s great to have this to refer back to as where you started at and what you want for future opportunities.

I do hope this was helpful for you. If you have any questions or comments you can find me here.

Failing coding challenges :( Job Search Update 2

Job Search update for the Week of 11/30/20 – 12/6/20

Rather watch? Check out the video here

Monday – I attempted a coding challenge and I failed miserably i.e. I didn’t finish it b/c I was stumped

Tuesday – I turned it in, I ended up putting in comments about what I was going to do. On Friday, I officially found out I was rejected. This evening I was also a part of a panel that discussed finding a job after a coding bootcamp. I’m always happy to share my experience with that and this was a fun thing for me to do to take my mind off of my coding challenge woes I had earlier. Here’s a link to the interview if you’re interested.

Wednesday – I had a final interview with a panel of 5 people. I was not prepared for an interview with so many people and was slightly caught off guard. The first part of the interview was 2 questions from each person. Questions were over the process I used when I get a task, testing my code, dependency injection (which I couldn’t remember the definition of btw) and storing passwords from users. The second part of the interview was coding 2 questions. They did this process a bit different than I have seen thus far: Sent me a link to a question, I went to the link which had an IDE to code the question, they set the clock for 5 mins, after the 5 mins was up I sent them I link to my solution, then I talked over my solution. During my 5 mins, we sat in silence until I was finished. The second questions was more difficult than the first and they didn’t expect you to finish.

Also, on Wednesday, I filmed a podcast regarding my journey into tech and some tips as well. When it comes out, I will provide a link.

Thursday – I took it easy this day and did the hacker rank coding challenge – had to do with an api but I could not for the life of me figure out how to access the data. Later on that day, I went back and coded it and was embarrassed of the mistake I had made earlier…All I had to do was get the response and from the response access the array called data…super simple oversight cost me the job. 

Friday – Therapist appointment, yes I see a therapist…I have been for a year now. And then I had errands to run because my dad’s birthday was the following day and we were celebrating with cake!

Isn’t it cool?! Looks exactly like the real thing! The inside was lemon and tasted delicious

In conclusion, I’m realizing that I need to study more on backend concepts and algorithms, especially in a timed environment.

Laid Off…Again

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So it happened again, I was laid off last Tuesday. This is the 3rd time it’s happened and the 2nd tech job I was laid off from. The low down on the lay off was that the team was going in a different direction than I was. Of course I was sad about it but honestly, this is a blessing in disguise, I get to work on something new and really define what I want in my future. 

On Wednesday, I posted on Twitter that I was laid off and asked for assistance in finding my next gig. The response? WAS BEYOND WHAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE!

I am forever grateful for all those that tweeted about postings, sent DMs, retweeted or liked my post! Most of all – I am beyond grateful to my friends, former colleagues and strangers in the tech industry who helped amplify my post! You all are the true MVPs! Huge shout out to Caree who called out those who were talking diversity – she urged you all to put your diversity words into action and Claire who tagged in lots of her own friends and colleagues to help out! I also had tons of friends who had some great words to say about me – let it be known, I had no idea they would do that and I’m so appreciative of their generosity and honesty! Mariah from We Dish That podcast message me to make a quick graphic with my pic on it to advertise I was looking for work!

Caree tweeting about putting diversity talk into action
Post from We Dish That podcast

I came up with the plan of action. However, not going to lie, I was truly overwhelmed with the responses that it was difficult to figure out where to start. Luckily, I got some great advice which is to set small goals for myself each day – apply to 5 jobs or send my resume to 3 people, etc. Thanks for the advice Claire!

Things I did: 

  • I started a sheet of all the leads I had – including the link to job posting, company name, size of company, who sent the tweet/dm
  • Started a list of questions for potential employers
  • Thought carefully of some things I want in my new gig
  • Diversity and inclusion – how are you promoting diversity? What’s your leadership team look like?
  • Challenging work – I want to be out of my comfort zone with the backing of my new team
  • Making a difference – for the consumers of the product/products I’m working on
  • New technologies

At the end of the day, I’m taking things one day at a time and hoping to find employment soon!

If I can give any advice that I’ve confirmed through my own experiences this week is to expand your network! Go to those meetups, talk to that recruiter, do the things outside of work that excite you and get to know others while you do it, be nice to people, do your best, be attentive in conversation – It all matters when it all comes down to it.

The last 2 times I was laid off – I didn’t have a network, I didn’t have much experience and not much support from the community to which I wanted to work in. I can say that things are so different now and I’m grateful for that but it didn’t come easy – lots of work, lots of making myself go to those meetups initially, lots of not believing in myself.