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In the telephone interview I was told I'll be called in for the face to face interview next week.

Company

The company is an engineering/manufacturing firm whose headquarters is about an hour drive away in normal traffic conditions, which is where the software development team are located.

They also have another site, which is about a 10m drive in normal traffic conditions. I don't like long commutes and the close distance might even allow me to cycle for health reasons.

Team structure

They have a single tester, one business analyst, several developers, and the manager. Currently they are all located at HQ.

The role

They are recruiting for two developers in either location, so I may be the only developer in this office.

They also have a support role which is on a per-rota basis, but was advised I may be the contact point being the only dev in this location.

Question

Given I might be the only contact point and working remote from the rest of the team, what questions should I ask the interviewer? What things should I be concerned about, such as communication? Do I need to consider I might the only contact point when thinking about salary?

note

Although I asked questions about what tooling they use, I felt the telephone interview was inappropriate to ask about benefits such as flexible working, and what hours are worked.

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    higher salary than what? – Kilisi Mar 15 at 12:16
  • @Kilisi Good question and I'm not sure how to answer. I've updated the wording to ask if I need to consider it when thinking about salary requirement. I hope this clarifies it. I was thinking if it means I'm possibly on call even during PTO then I'll need to be compensated for it. – Monstar Mar 15 at 12:31
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what questions should I ask the interviewer?

Ask whatever you need to know in order to make an informed decision.

If you need to understand how communication would work among a distributed team - ask about that.

If you need to understand more about the support role, what it entails, how often it would take you away from other duties - ask about that.

If you need to understand about benefits, flexible working, what hours are worked, if you need to be on call, etc - ask about that.

You might consider asking about how often you'll need to drive to headquarters for meetings. You might consider how much authority you'll have to make decisions on your own, if you should end up being the only individual in this remote location.

Ask all of these and more, if you need to understand them in order to make your decision. Don't waste time asking questions that aren't relevant to making your decision.

Leave the salary negotiation until both sides decide they are interested and want to move ahead with an offer. But be prepared to answer a question like "What salary are you seeking?"

For a while, I worked remotely (from home) every Friday. It was okay, but meetings were much, much harder and far less efficient. I tried to squeeze all the important tasks into Mon-Thu. Working remotely full-time isn't for everyone. Fortunately, you will be in an office, with all the relevant office-support systems in place. You will only know if working remotely from the rest of your team will work out for you or not by actually trying it.

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    If the company has never had a split-location development team before they probably have as many questions as you do. Don't insist that they already have all the answers. – A. I. Breveleri Mar 15 at 14:50
  • @JoeStrazzere and if they do say "we'll work it out" don't stop at that, it's a poor answer by itself. Try to forge a discussion about it. No right/wrong answers, just ideas to see if both parties are on the same page. – Erik Erskine Mar 15 at 17:23
  • Thank you, @JoeStrazzere. The problem is I don't know what I need to know in order to make an informed decision, as I've never worked remotely. I've had colleagues work remotely on the odd-day, however the new role may have me working separately from the rest of the team on a permanent basis. I agree about salary, but as I'm currently underpaid I don't like them asking what I'm currently on, nor do I want to state a salary until I have heard what they are offering. – Monstar Mar 16 at 13:45
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    The fact that the company has never had a split team before would lead me to ask about the prior histories of the current team members, in addition to these good suggestions. Things like, has anyone on the team worked remotely in prior jobs? Then you'll know if you are doing something new with people who have never done it before (which could be "interesting"), or doing something new with people for whom it won't be a big deal. – dwizum Mar 16 at 15:40
  • Thanks Joe and dwizum – Monstar Mar 17 at 9:20
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You should clarify what you're unsure about.

Will you be first contact? All the time or sometimes? Will you be expected to be contactable by clients outside your hours? Will you prioritise support over development work?

Do you have backup you can pass issues to when you're busy.

Are procedures/protocols clearly defined. Basic stuff.

These impact directly on your development time versus other duties so would figure into your asking salary. Pressure can become intense if your concentration will be broken frequently, and obviously anything out of hours is a factor as well.

You're really trying to find out how hard your job is going to be and how much you're likely to enjoy it.

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  • Thanks @Kilisi, those are very good points that I need to ask. Do you know of any other issues that may occur with me working remotely in a different office. – Monstar Mar 16 at 13:47
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    Not really further questions would only be clarification of the basic ones. In terms of salary though, it's generally not a good idea to go into a negotiation without at least ball park figures in mind. How much you make now is none of their business, but how much you want to make is important. – Kilisi Mar 16 at 14:42
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    Thank you @Kilisi – Monstar Mar 17 at 9:20

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