Software Engineer Interview Questions And Answers

Great teams start with great interviews.

By recording live interviews, our platform harnesses the power of artificial intelligence to help teams run a faster, better interview process.

Request a Demo

Software Engineer Interview Questions And Answers

Software engineering interviews, especially phone screens, and initial interviews can be a daunting task for recruiters and HR. The reason for this is that software engineers have a very technical set of skills that are not well understood by the vast majority of the workforce. For this reason, it's important to have a set of go-to software engineering interview questions and answers that can help you determine the most qualified candidates.

Before we dive into software engineer technical interview questions, let's talk about how the interview process will look different from hiring for other departments. Most software engineering interview processes will begin with an initial phone screen, to see if the candidate has the required qualifications and certifications to be a high-performing member of your team. Then, they'll move on to technical interviews, hiring manager interviews, panel (or) team interviews, and finally, a coding challenge.

For technical interviews, it's important to use software engineering interview questions that will help you get a better understanding of the candidate's skills and expertise in programming languages. Below are some of our top software engineer interview questions for beginners:

1. What coding languages are you most familiar with and why did you decide to focus on those languages?
2. What have you done to improve the performance of your code?
3. How do you stay up to date on the latest coding trends?
4. What are your thoughts on open source and collaborative development?
5. How do you debug code that has multiple errors or conflicts?
6. Tell us about a time when you were faced with a difficult coding challenge and how did you solve it?

One of the key elements in an effective software engineer interview process is to ask coding questions for beginners. Coding questions for beginners give recruiters a glimpse into the candidate's familiarity with programming basics, as well as how comfortable they are with troubleshooting and problem-solving. If you'd like to see more questions, click here to chat with someone from our interview intelligence team to see our library of 1000+ questions you can ask in an interview.

Software Engineer Interview

To begin with, entry-level software engineer interview questions should reflect the position's technical requirements, as well as the team leadership and collaborative skills needed to be successful in this role. If you're hiring someone whose basic responsibility will be to develop and maintain software systems, then you'll want to focus on questions that test the candidate's understanding of the basic functions of their role and their desire to learn and grow in their career.

Additionally, if they are applying for a leadership or managerial position within your department you may also want to ask questions about their experience in leading development teams. This can include topics like how they handled difficult situations, their ability to delegate tasks and motivate other team members, and how their communication style impacts the success of a project.

No matter which questions you choose to ask during your software engineer interview, it's important that you clearly explain what role the candidate is applying for so they can adequately prepare for the job at hand. It's also beneficial for recruiters to provide a comprehensive job description with the interviewing materials so that candidates are better prepared and can bring their best selves to the interview.

Software engineer coding interview questions will be role dependent as well. For beginners, coding questions should focus on basic principles such as variables, classes, functions, and code organization. As the candidate progresses in their career, more advanced questions about concepts like data structures and algorithms can be asked to assess their programming expertise. Software engineer interview principles should also be considered when preparing for coding challenges. Make sure to provide candidates with the problem statement and a timeline so they can adequately prepare their solutions and have time to debug.

At Pillar, we recognize the importance of asking well-crafted software engineer interview questions and we're here to help you through every step of the process. Our interview intelligence software offers a suite of tools to help you identify the most qualified candidates for your team. Pillar is powered by Ai to give you an edge over human interviewing processes to identify the things that human eyes and ears can miss. We've taken our library of 1000+ questions and made them easily accessible for recruiters to create a custom interview that will ensure the best hiring decision.

Coding Questions for Beginners

Let's look at some basic coding questions for an interview. Keep in mind that these are entry-level and beginner coding questions so you may want to add more advanced questions as the candidate progresses in their skills.

1. What is a variable and how do you declare one?
2. What is an algorithm and what are its general steps?
3. Describe the difference between a class and an object?
4. What are the advantages of using functions in a program?
5. How do you debug errors in your code?
6. Describe the process of refactoring your code and why it is important.
7. What are the most common data structures used in software engineering?
8. What is polymorphism and how can it be implemented in programming languages?

These coding questions for beginners can help you assess the candidate's understanding of basic software engineering principles and their ability to think critically about programming concepts. Asking questions that delve into their problem-solving skills and collaboration techniques can also give you a better sense of how well they would fit into your team.

But what if you need to go a level deeper? Here are some coding interview questions with solutions:

1. Write a program that takes an array of integers as input and returns the sum of the elements in the array. (Solution: Loop through each element in the array and add them together. Return the total sum at the end.)
2. Create a function to reverse an array in place without allocating any additional memory. (Solution: Use two pointers to swap elements from the beginning and end of the array, then move the pointers inwards until they meet in the middle.)
3. Write a program that takes two strings as input and finds if they are anagrams. (Solution: Sort both strings alphabetically and compare them character by character.)

These types of coding questions for beginners can help you get a better sense of how they think through complex coding problems and their overall programming abilities.

There are several types of software engineer interviews. Technical interviews are the only ones we've mentioned thus far, but there are also system designs interviews, behavioral interviews, take-home projects, systems architecture interviews, and cultural fit interviews. Each interview structure has a purpose and should be considered when preparing for an interview.

At Pillar, we are here to help you create the most impactful software engineer interviews. Since the development of great technology is the backbone of our society, we realize how important it is to get these hiring decisions right. Our team can provide you with tailored advice on which questions would best suit your organization's needs. From entry-level to senior-level positions, we can help you find the right fit for your team. With our interview intelligence software, you can have peace of mind that your candidates will be thoroughly vetted and ready to take on the job at hand.

Software Engineer Interview Questions

Diving a bit deeper into the software developer's technical interview questions and answers will help your non-engineering team members understand what to look for when interviewing a software engineer. You can also provide resources like, "Software Engineers Interview Questions to Ask," which gives you interview questions and answers to assess the candidate's coding, problem-solving, and debugging abilities.

Software engineer interview questions are a specific skill, and very few of us actually understand what's being asked, and if the answers are BS or real solutions, but becoming familiar with the types of questions and answers will help you make an educated decision when hiring software engineers.

Some commonly-asked software engineer interview questions include:

1. What is a data structure, and what are some examples that you have used?
2. How can you optimize code to improve performance?
3. What techniques do you use for debugging programs?
4. Describe a software engineering project that you have worked on.
5. Explain the concept of object-oriented programming and how it is used in software development.
6. What design patterns, principles, or frameworks do you use when coding?
7. How do you handle changes to requirements during the development process?
8. Are there any security considerations you take into account when developing software?

These are just a few software engineer interview questions that recruiters can use to help identify the best candidates for their team. At Pillar, we understand how difficult it is to find and hire the right people, so we've tried to make it easy. Our interview intelligence software was created to help you decrease time-to-hire on technical roles without sacrificing your quality-of-hire metrics.

We've helped our customers lower employee turnover by 50% over the last 12 months while also increasing diversity hiring. Book your demo to see how today!