I know we've covered what questions you should ask about a company before you would decide to work there. But what do you do with the answers?

In other words, what would you consider a dealbreaker? I.e. what would scare you so much about a company that you wouldn't work there, even if everything else was great?

For example, if they tell me they don't use version control, I wouldn't work there. End of story.

  • 21
    "Say, have you read 'Twilight'? What an awesome book! Changed my life!"
    – BlairHippo
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 14:37
  • 43
    "We'd like to hire you." Any company willing to hire me is clearly not a company I'd want to work for! Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 14:46
  • @BlairHippo: the book is still awesome (yes, I read it) if you compare it to the film... not to mention the loads of vampire stories that were published in reaction to Twilight's success.
    – ShdNx
    Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 10:22
  • The book is always better then the film.
    – Chris
    Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 12:53
  • 1
    I could live with 'Twilight' (i mean, wearing black clothes, speaking wise things noone understands and trying to avoid the sun comes kinda natural to most guys in IT), but when they mention 'Digital Fortress' by dan brown in a sentence without curse words, THAT would be a dealbreaker
    – keppla
    Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 8:48

33 Answers 33


If I can't ssh home, that's it.

  • +1: Even if working from home is out of the picture, you need to at least be able to check on a build or commit something, or change a config script or anything else that you forgot to do at work. And the cost is nearly nothing to make this happen. Commented Oct 28, 2010 at 22:58
  • @SnOrfus: I think he's talking about accessing his home machine from work, not the other way round!
    – timday
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 4:00
  • @timday: Ah, I see. I thought it said 'from home'. In that case, it's a shame that I can't remove my upvote. I can't see a real reason that this would be a must. Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 21:33
  • I've ssh-ed home to read personal email for years now. A more modern setup would be to use webmail, but it works for me. Also useful for checking on the progress of big rendering jobs.
    – timday
    Commented Oct 30, 2010 at 17:52

Windows. Any version. GTFO.

The key thing for me; at any point is it hinted at that you'll bleed into other roles?

Example: one of my previous job titles was Analyst Programmer... which essentially meant "Sometimes programming, sometimes re-writing requirements document so you can actually start coding, occasionally doing the Analyst's job and other times, well, good luck. May the force be with you.".

If you're applying to be a developer make sure that's what your role will be once you're through the door. Get a feel for a developer's role on a typical project. Ask them to explain the role to you - make no assumptions.

One other question I always ask is: "Suppose technology X becomes the new hotness, how do you fill the technology gap?". If the answer is "we just hire new people" then i'd get out.

Oh, and Windows.

  • 4
    Heh, so have you tried Windows 7? :-) Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 18:20
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    I have indeed. It's just not for me, to each their own :). Happy now I get to use a Mac. Sounds silly to some, but the platform you develop can make all the difference. Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 19:54
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    I suppose you mean that Windows can be an option, so long as it's not the requirement? Or are you saying that Windows shouldn't be used by anyone at all?
    – waiwai933
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 23:10
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    I wish the MacBook keyboards didn't suck so much ass. Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 1:23
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    I've always had the opposite feeling--anyone who is so rigid that they are unwilling to work on operating system X is far too rigid to work as a programmer. Good programmers use the best tool for the job by weighing the pros and cons in an intelligent manner (rather than letting personal bias get in the way).
    – riwalk
    Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 20:04

If the company doesn't have a control version, you can put it. You should be scared if they say in the interview, that everyone do unpaid overtime (because they are the best or whatever), or they focus too much on the money you will earn in the future (someday...).


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