CS Internship Guide #8: Stellar Questions to Ask Recruiters

Part of the CS Internship Guide

Before You Go

After a career fair conversation or interview, you’ll probably asked if you have any questions for the recruiter. Always ask at least one question. It shows that you’re interested in the job, and there’s probably tons of things you’ll want to know anyway.

So, here are a few guidelines:

  • Ask questions that are relevant to the internship and the company
  • Prepare for the career fair (or interview) and arrive with a list of questions in mind
  • Likewise, have a basic understanding of the company (what they do, their size, location, etc.)
  • Don’t ask anything that you could easily find on the company’s website
  • Ask questions humans can answer. Recruiters are people, not robots.
  • Don’t ask lots of questions for the sake of asking lots of questions
  • Feel free to ask questions that you think few people have asked before

OK, give me some examples

Here are some questions that I’ve asked (or been asked) during career fairs or following whiteboard programming interviews. Since a software engineer probably knows more about his project than someone from human resources, and a few things are more relevant to post-graduation jobs than internships, I’ve divided the questions into several sections.

When talking to anyone, including HR or non-technical recruiters

  • Why do you work at this company?
  • What did previous interns think of their internship?
  • What is the company culture like?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • How many people work at the company? (Only if you couldn’t find a number on their website.)
  • What do you like about your job?
  • What’s one thing you would change about your job?
  • If you were the CEO of the company, what would you do differently, and what would you do the same?
  • How are you different than your competitor, XYZ Co?
  • Why should I work at this company as opposed to XYZ Co?
  • Can I get your email address? (Use this to follow up in a week or two. Even better if this recruiter is the one making hiring decisions.)

When talking to an engineer

  • What programming languages do you use?
  • What kinds of problems do you encounter on a day-to-day basis?
  • What kinds technical challenges do you enjoy working on?
  • Are you agile?
  • How do you think your product/website/application/solution will beat the competition?
  • Why do you use X language/framework/technology instead of Y?

Concerning a post-graduation (“full-time”) job

  • How much do full-time employees travel?
  • How easy is it to change teams?
  • What perks about your job do you like the most?

Feel free to come up with your own questions, or ask other students for advice. Good luck at your next interview!

What questions do you like to ask recruiters?

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6 Responses to CS Internship Guide #8: Stellar Questions to Ask Recruiters

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