This is a sample questionnaire that mid-career product professionals who are in a high demand-supply tech job market might benefit from. If you are just starting out in tech or have the proverbial “dream company” on your mind, this is certainly not for you. Your odds are better with your Twitter game.

This might be especially useful while interviewing at startups where as a candidate you have not many options than base your judgement on super favourable public information about the company or biased opinions from forums like teamblind.com.

As you might already know, the initial 30-minute phone screen is almost a scam. It is one of those crucial conversations where many times I have felt not getting a true sense about the company and the opportunity in the most inexpensive way. (I’m definitely not upgrading my LinkedIn)

So I’ve been sending questionnaire to inbound interview calls I receive via LinkedIn or email. I’m surprised and delighted that many recruiters (based in the US) have been candid and forthcoming in responding to my questionnaire. (Salute you!)

It helps as a way to:

  1. Have meaningful conversations in the initial phone screen
  2. Reduce your call by 5 to 10 mins and focus on next steps
  3. Give recruiters an opportunity to understand what’s important to you
  4. Most importantly, notice hidden red flags early before you invest your precious time in the interview loop

When recruiters have tools, processes, dedicated teams and high standards for recruiting, this is the least you can do to get most value out of the initial conversations.

Here you go!

This is a non-exhaustive list of questions. I must caution: pick what’s most important to you before you go ahead with an annoyingly long list. If you think I could make this better with other questions that has helped you during the interview process, do drop them as comments.


Respected Recruiter, thanks for reaching out!

As a candidate, I have a ton of questions about the opportunity and the company, and I want to be respectful of your time. Having your inputs here would help us have a more meaningful conversation during our phone screen.

All responses to this questionnaire are completely anonymous and confidential.

Link to the company you’re recruiting for:

How does my experience make me a good fit for this opportunity?
If there was anything in specific about my profile that caught your attention, I would love to learn about that.

What aspect of the work culture is the company improving today?

What stage is the product at today? 

  1. Pre product-market fit stage
  2. Initial scale
  3. Rapid growth stage after achieving product market fit
  4. Profitable stage
  5. Describe in your own words:

Why are you recruiting for this position now?

  1. Replacing a PM who left/ is leaving
  2. New position
  3. We just thought you’ll make a cool colleague

What’s the size of the product team today?

How many PM hires are you planning for this year/ quarter?
A number or percentage increase would help.

What’s the annual employee churn for the company like?
An approx percentage would help.

What’s your timeline to fill this position?

  1. By this month
  2. By 2 months
  3. No specific timeline
  4. Other:

How many people who identify as she/her work at the company?
A number or percentage would help.

What’s the mode of work at the company?
My current location is: <x> Open to any location in: <x>

  1. In person preferred
  2. Flexible with in person and remote
  3. Fully remote
  4. Hybrid
  5. Other:

What is one of the coolest things about building product for the company?

Would you be fine if I decline to participate in take home assignments based on the company’s current or future product?

  1. Absolutely!
  2. No, this is a part of our interview process
  3. I can discuss with the hiring manager and let you know

Are you willing to sponsor work visa?
I do not require visa sponsorship for <country> at the moment. Curious in case there’s a need for it in the future

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Maybe
  4. Other:

When was the company’s latest 409a valuation performed and what was the valuation?

Indicate approx. base salary budgeted for this position
My preference for base pay is between the range <x> and <y> but I’m quite flexible around those numbers for the right opportunity

What do you think about this?

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