Way more than just video interviews.
Our interview intelligence guides you through the entire interview process, so you find your next great teammate—effectively and equitably.
“Having the ability to record and share interview clips with our hiring teams has been a game-changer in getting good candidates into the process and speeding up our time to hire.”
“Pillar is a huge opportunity for us to be completely confident about the fairness and effectiveness of our assessments. It is an invaluable tool for coaching, developing and supporting our newer interviewers on the team.”
Hiring Software Engineers is easy if you have the right systems to qualify, assess, and onboard them efficiently and effectively. But it will require a bit of forethought and work in advance. Before we dive in, let's talk about common challenges you'll encounter as an HR professional or recruiter when hiring developers and software engineers.
1. The Knowledge Gap: one of the most difficult challenges of hiring anyone into a role you're unfamiliar with is the knowledge gap. How can you assess someone's qualifications when you don't understand the intricacies of their role? This is especially true for software engineers, as their job involves complex technical skills and knowledge. To overcome this challenge, it's important to consult with your company's tech team, a hiring manager, or have a technical interviewer help you craft specific software engineering interview questions that will help you assess the candidate's skills.
2. Technical Qualifications: Technical interviews, can be daunting for both the interviewer and the candidate. As an HR professional or recruiter, you may not have a technical background, making it difficult to conduct a thorough technical interview. On the other hand, candidates may feel nervous and pressured to perform well in this type of interview. To make this process smoother for everyone having a "software engineer interview questions to ask" document or library to pull from can be a lifesaver.
3. Cultural Fit: While technical skills are important, cultural fit is equally key to making a successful hire. A candidate may have all the right qualifications on paper, but if they don't align with your company's values and culture, they may not be a good fit for the team. This is why it's essential to include questions that assess a candidate's compatibility with your company's culture during the interview.
This is where your senior software engineer interview questions will diverge from more junior levels. As a senior software engineer, candidates you interview will be required to lead, manage, and assess others' engineering work. This means they should not only be technically proficient but also have excellent communication and leadership skills. Here are some senior software engineering interview questions with answers to get you started:
- How do you prioritize tasks when working on multiple projects simultaneously and with multiple developers?
A: I like to use the Eisenhower Matrix, which helps me categorize tasks based on their urgency and importance. This method allows me to focus on the most critical tasks first while still being mindful of other responsibilities.
- Can you give an example of a time when you had to resolve a conflict within your team?
A: Yes, I had a dispute between two developers who couldn't agree on the best approach for a project. I scheduled a meeting with both of them and facilitated an open discussion where they could express their ideas and concerns. After listening to both sides, we were able to come to a compromise that satisfied everyone.
If these questions are helpful, you may want to check out our library of software engineering interview questions. At Pillar, we developed interview intelligence software to help you make better hires faster. To accomplish this goal, we realized that no interviewing software was complete without the questions HR teams and recruiters would need to ask in the interview. We assembled a list of more than 1,000 questions that can be added to your interviews with just a couple of clicks to streamline your interview preparation process.
As we dive into software engineering technical interview questions, it's imperative to remember that these questions are not solely based on finding the "right" answer. Instead, they aim to assess a candidate's thought process, platform and language familiarity, and problem-solving skills. Here are some tips for conducting technical interviews:
- Begin with a brief introduction of the role and company before diving into the questions to help put candidates at ease.
- Explain the format and structure of the interview, including the types of questions they can expect.
- Ask semi-structured open-ended questions that encourage candidates to explain their thought process and problem-solving approach.
- Give candidates time to articulate their answers and avoid interrupting them unless necessary for clarification purposes.
Now, onto some common software engineering technical interview questions and answers:
1. What is object-oriented programming (OOP), and why is it essential?
A: OOP is a programming paradigm that focuses on creating objects and their interactions to solve problems. It allows for easier code reuse, modularity, and scalability, making it crucial for developing complex applications.
2. What is the difference between a class and an object?
A: A class is a blueprint or template for creating objects, while an object is a specific instance of that class.
3. Explain the difference between abstraction and encapsulation.
A: Abstraction is the process of hiding unnecessary details while exposing essential ones, whereas encapsulation is packaging data and functions together to protect them from outside interference.
4. What is a database index, and why are they used?
A: A database index is a data structure that improves the speed of data retrieval operations by providing quick access to specific rows in a table. They are used to optimize queries and improve database performance.
5. Can you explain the difference between SQL and NoSQL databases?
A: SQL databases, such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, use a structured query language to store and retrieve data using tables, rows, and columns.
Some of these questions are good baseline options, the others are far more technical- and a mix of both will help you thoroughly assess a candidate's skills in software engineering. Remember to also include questions that assess a candidate's cultural fit, leadership abilities, and problem-solving approach. Ultimately, the right combination of technical and cultural questions will help you make an informed decision when hiring for a software engineering position.
If you're hiring entry-level engineers, you may want to focus less on technical knowledge and more on a candidate's potential to learn and grow. Here are some entry-level software engineer interview questions with answers to help you assess a candidate's potential:
- What programming languages are you proficient in?
This will give you a good baseline of the candidate's technical knowledge and experience. You can then follow up with more specific questions related to the languages they mentioned.
- Can you walk me through a project you worked on and explain your role in it?
A: I was part of a team that developed a mobile app for a local business. My main responsibilities included designing the user interface, implementing front-end functionality, and conducting user testing.
This question will give you more insight into the candidate's problem-solving approach, teamwork skills, and ability to handle responsibilities in a project setting.
- How do you stay updated on industry trends and technologies?
A: I regularly attend tech conferences, read blogs and articles from industry experts, and participate in online coding communities. I also enjoy working on
- Can you walk me through your problem-solving process?
A: Sure, I start by understanding the problem and gathering all available information. Then I break it down into smaller parts and come up with a plan to tackle each one. I constantly test and refine my solution until it meets the desired outcome.
This question will give you insight into how a candidate approaches problems, their attention to detail, and their ability to work through challenges.
As far as software engineer interview questions and answers go, there's no one-size-fits-all approach, every role is slightly different. However, having a good baseline as to which questions to ask software engineer interview will help you make the best hiring decision for your company. Don't be afraid to tailor your questions and adjust as needed based on the candidate's responses. After all, the goal is to find the best fit for your software engineering team. So take your time crafting meaningful questions or let our library of questions be your guide.
Since this person will be building the foundation of your products and services (or at least building on it), it's important that these key hiring decisions are made well. A poor choice here can cost a company big time in terms of missed deadlines, increased development costs, and even cause long-term reputational damage to customers. So take the time to create a comprehensive list of software engineering interview questions and answers that will help you find the best candidate for your team.
And, if you'd like a shortcut, try out Pillar's interview intelligence software. Our platform has saved HR teams and recruiters thousands of hours per year while helping teams like yours lower employee turnover by 50%, decrease cost-per-hire, and increase diversity hiring (in several cases by more than 50%). Book your demo today to see how we can help you see similar results. Happy Hiring!