How to Spot a Bad Software Development Team?
How to Spot a Bad Software Development Team?

All people want to want in a good company with friendly and helpful colleagues without any stress and toxic people. The question is how you can avoid bad teams or companies.

Job description

The first signal for you should be a job description. So your first step is happening even before you go to the interview. If you see in job description some strange stuff like a list of 20 or 30 technologies for junior position or maybe a role where you need to manage everything from the beginning to the end then normally it's not a good role and it's not a good company.

Too many skills

Either they don't know in this company how to split job correctly between different people which means you will do the job of several people or they don't have enough processes to manage a good HR process.

What you want to see in job description is just normal stuff where you bell inside your head is not ringing.

About company

For example normally you have a short description of the company and what they do. Secondly there should be a description of your specific role.

What you will do

For example you will take a position of frontend developer. Also normally there should be written what level on knowledge they expect. For example they want senior frontend developer, which means you need to have at least 3-5 years of experience.

After that there should be a list of technologies that you must know. And this list should be normal for this position. Also there might be a list of the benefits that you will get.

What you bring

So if you see something like this than it is fine and it makes sense to go to the interview.

And obviously I understand that when you are a beginner you will jump at any job. And this is totally fine. But if you already have some experience than it doesn't make any sense to spend time on interviews when you know that the job will be bad.


You next step starts on the interview. And actually a lot of people think that interview is a process where you simply answer some questions of the interviewer. And actually it's not like this. Interview is a dialog. Which means you can ask your questions, first of all because you want to clarify some things about the company, and secondly you need to show your interest to work in this company.

And here is a list of questions that I highly recommend you to ask:

  • What processes do you have inside your team? Do you have sprints? How you implement new features? Do you have feature freeze at the end of the sprint? How you release new stuff?

Actually when you hear answers to this questions you probably can understand how processes are working inside you future team. If they say that they don't have any processes at all, probably it's not the best company. Because actually everything there will be quite spontaneous, you won't have a list of features for the next sprint and probably it will be quite stressful and maybe with overtimes.

  • Do you have overtimes at all? How often do you have them?
  • What will happen if we don't deliver stuff on time?
  • How often people leave the company?

If you hear that people work there 5-7 years than it's probably a good place to work. And it is much better to ask a tech guy this question than HR because you will get more realistic information.


Also I see really often that people are not allowed to see the office on the interview. And I think that you always need to ask for the tour inside the office. At least to see the working conditions and understand if you want to work there at all or not. If it is super dark, no windows and you don't want to work in such conditions than it's better to understand it at the beginning.

Team and teamlead

Also it is super important to speak with your future teamlead or even better with the whole team. Because with the teamlead you will work for sure quite a lot. So if you don't like teamlead from the beginning or you see on the interview that he is not friendly or helpful or you see some pressure from him than probably in the future it won't be better also.

The same I can say about the team. Even if you talk with them 10 minutes you can grasp the atmosphere that you have inside the team. If it friendly or happy or maybe it is depressed and stressful.


And here is my bonus tip if you are smoking. It really makes sense after the interview to stay outside and smoke a little bit and you can see guys who come out of this company to smoke. And you can talk with them while smoking and ask about working conditions in this company, you can say that you was on interview so you are interested and you will hear a lot of realistic stuff about the company where you want to work.

Also if you are interested in my 5 tips how to be productive don't forget to check this post.