I am looking for a new job. One of the things that is very important to me is how I will get along with the team. I am passionate and am always technically challenging myself. I am looking for a job where I have enough autonomy and a lot of challenge. However I also expect that I have co-workers who are technically engaged and with whom I can share my ideas.

A passage in Land the Tech Job You Love describes my feelings very well:

Technical challenges from one's co-workers can also be an important part of job satisfaction. I've talked with many dissatisfied people who complain with this: "I hate being the smartest person in the place."

How can I rate employers on my future work-environment with my colleagues? I have thought about the following options:

  1. Assume that if there is match with the technical lead in the interview that I will also fit in the rest of the team.
  2. This is something to evaluate in the first month of your new job.
  3. Ask to meet your co-workers during the interview.
  4. Ask specific questions during the interview about your future colleagues.

Is there an accepted way to find out if you like your future co-workers or is it always a bit of a gamble when you finally start working at your new company?

closed as not constructive by squeemish, Rhys, enderland, acolyte, CincinnatiProgrammer May 10 '13 at 13:54

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    This answer cannot be answered. There is no way to predict if you will get along with people you know nothing about. All you can do is get hired and attempt to see how well you mesh. If you don't mesh with the people then you start looking for a new job or attempt to address the reasons you don't mesh well. – Ramhound May 10 '13 at 12:21
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    This question here has a lot of good ways to do this from the employer perspective. Also, I don't think I've ever had troubles determining the overall competence of potential coworkers (ie those interviewing me) simply through the course of interviews, how they ask questions, how they respond to my answers/dialogue about them, etc. – enderland May 10 '13 at 12:32
  • Start working. You will find out soon enough. – Oded May 10 '13 at 12:41
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    This question also has a lot of answers which may be helpful, even though it was closed. – enderland May 10 '13 at 12:53
  • I would ask the question "Can you give me an example of code that would automatically fail your code review process?" There's a lot of stuff packed into that question. – Amy Blankenship May 10 '13 at 16:31

Is there an accepted way to find out if you like your future co-workers or is it always a bit of a gamble when you finally start working at your new company?

When joining a new circle of people (either socially or professionally), the fit will always be unclear initially. A short contact period may or may not be sufficient to clear that up. Some people can learn to adjust and fit in anywhere, and some people cannot.

A friend of mine ran a team where fit was particularly important. What he did was offer new candidates a 3-month trial period. He would hire them on a trial basis for 3 months. If it worked out well for both sides, the hire would become permanent (with an increase in salary). If either side decided that it wasn't working out as hoped, the trial would end without a permanent hire. He liked the results, although it did cause some folks to decide not to take that trial route and reject the job offer.

You could propose a similar trial period, and use that time to decide if you like your co-workers enough.

In some jobs, a "working interview" works well. My wife works as a dental professional, and that is common for potential hires in the offices where she has worked. Basically, you go in for a day and do the actual work (sometimes without compensation). They get to see how you do in a real work environment, and you get to see them in the same light.

And when setting up an on-site interview, you can always ask to meet people in particular roles. When I interview candidates for my team, I do an initial phone screen. If they seem good, I invite them in to meet and talk with people face-to-face - me, their co-workers on the team, and usually someone who would be a peer, but on another team. My intent is twofold: to gather input from different viewpoints about the fit of the candidate, but also to give the candidate a chance to meet some of the people who will be co-workers. I never want to hire someone who won't fit in or who will be unhappy.

You could request something similar when you set up your interviews, just don't go overboard and ask for too many people, or too much time.

Good luck!


This is why linkedin exists. If you know people who used to work there, you can ask them (or extrapolate). If you have friends/coworkers who have moved to the new company, you can ask them. If you have friends whose opinion you trust who have connections that work there, etc...

Beyond that, I would look at glassdoor.com (or similar sites) to see how people describe the company. It might not indicate how you'll relate to people there, but it might provide some insight into the culture. The company might be very bureaucratic for example. If your group of friends are more individualistic or rebellious, then you might not find many in a heavily bureaucratic environment.

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