Software Engineer Interview Questions

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Software Engineer
Interview Questions

The rise in new technologies has resulted in a massive demand for software engineers, system engineers, and web developers. This opens up a world of possibilities, but it also presents unique obstacles during the recruitment process.

The candidates you will be interviewing have access to thousands of resources that can help them prepare for the questions you'll be asking them. YouTube, blogs, coding boot camps, and LinkedIn Learning (to name a few) offer numerous interview preparation tools that will assist them in acing the interview and landing the role of their dreams.

Many junior web developers will come to an interview prepared to answer coding questions and coding interview questions about java, python, and other languages relevant to the role, so your hiring manager or talent acquisition manager should assemble a list of the technical skills required so they can be written into your job description.

We use The Ultimate Interview Checklist to thoroughly prepare for each interview. This resource helps Hiring Managers approach each candidate with an unbiased perspective, evaluating their skills, abilities, and potential without putting any undue stress on them.

As you consider seasoned candidates, advanced software engineer interview questions can be tricky. On one hand; you want to ask them questions that will help you understand their experience and expertise. On the other hand, they've probably been through this process before and have been asked to answer the standard coding interview questions with solutions dozens of times. This can lead to lower levels of engagement in candidates and interviewer bias

So how do you solve this?

Interview intelligence software solves this challenge by using a video interface to gather video, audio, and other data from every interview to help your hiring team increase efficiency. You can also check out our e-book on How to Hire Great Software Engineers.

Software Engineers Interview Questions and Answers

To prepare an interviewer for a successful interview, make sure you have a clear understanding of the skills and experience you are looking for before you start the interview process. A list of technical questions obtained from a  Product Manager or CTO that cover coding language, problem-solving, or application design and architecture will give you a firm grasp of a candidate's technical skills.

We love this list of Java Technical Interview Questions from Frédéric Desmoulins, Cofounder and CEO of CodinGame.

But to hire the best people, they need to possess more than just technical skills. They need to be able to work well with others, communicate effectively, and think critically.

That's why software engineer behavioral interview questions and answers are so important. A semi-structured list of questions will allow the interviewer to see how a candidate responds and assess whether or not they possess the skills the company needs.

Interview intelligence platforms like Pillar give you the ability to create a standardized list of data-driven questions to ask candidates during the interview process. Questions like; "Have you ever experienced conflict with a teammate - how did you resolve the conflict and what was the outcome?", allow the candidate to showcase their soft skills and help the Hiring Manager make effective unbiased decisions.

The most important thing to remember when asking software engineer interview questions is to focus on the behavioral aspects of the candidate's skill set. How the candidate answers these questions will give you a good indication of their ability to think critically, work well under pressure, and communicate effectively - all qualities that are essential for success in the role of a software engineer.

Entry Level Software Engineer Interview Questions

With the massive influx of new software engineers graduating from universities, boot camps, and coding programs today, there's a high probability that many of the candidates you interview will be doing this for the first time.

So let's say you're interviewing an entry-level software engineer. How do you know if they have what it takes to be successful in the role?

Effective hiring starts long before you even create the job post. By taking the time to sit down with your team and create a list of entry-level technical interview questions including entry-level coding questions to ask in the interview process, you'll set both the candidate and the company up for success.

Map out the skills, experience, and attributes that you are looking for in an ideal candidate and formulate them into semi-structured questions that will help you assess a candidate's fit for the role. Then, write these questions into your job posting.

Entry-level technical interview questions will often be similar and have responses that set a great baseline for an interview intelligence platform to help you analyze candidates without human bias.

Questions like; "What was the most difficult problem you solved as a junior software engineer?" or "What inspired you to become a software engineer in the first place?" will help you gauge a candidate's critical thinking skills, creativity, and motivation.

A best practice is to ensure that entry-level software engineer interview questions are the same for each candidate so you can hire based on skill and merit without being influenced by typical biases like sharing the same alma mater, having mutual friends, or sharing a similar interest.

To eliminate unconscious bias in your hiring process, here’s What NOT to ask in an interview.

Senior Software Engineer
Interview Questions

When it comes to senior software engineer interview questions, remember that these candidates will have years of experience under their belt. They will have likely been in the industry for a while and may have even started their own companies.

Social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and LinkedIn have connected the world and many senior software engineering candidates will come to your organization as a referral from a friend, former co-worker, or through a network of like professionals.

The key here is to focus senior software engineer interview questions and answers on a few of the core factors that ensure their success in the role. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively with technical and non-technical employees across various teams, to show attention to detail, humility, emotional intelligence, maturity, and a high standard of engineering excellence all contribute to a dynamic addition to your team.

Some good questions to ask senior software engineers in an interview are; "What are some of the biggest challenges you faced as a software engineer and how did you overcome them?" or "What characteristic sets your work apart from other software engineers in the industry and how did you develop that trait?"

The brevity with which a candidate responds to senior software engineer interview questions can also be telling. If they need more than a couple of minutes to think about their answer or go off on tangents, it may be an indication that they're not as laser-focused as you need them to be in the role.

A best practice of senior software engineer interview preparation is sending a candidate a list of questions to prepare responses to ahead of time. Not only will this help you assess their ability to communicate effectively, but it will also give you an idea of their engineering process and the way they approach problem-solving.

If you've taken the time to map out the skills and attributes that you are looking for in a candidate and formulated questions, this step should be simple. The most important part is to ensure that you are evaluating candidates objectively on their answers to the questions, and not on any other factors.

Pillar can help you remove bias and bring interview intelligence into your hiring process. We'll help you solve the challenges of building a world-class team through effective hiring. We use data-driven, semi-structured questions to create an equitable hiring experience for all the candidates you interview.

System Software
Engineer Interview Questions

So far, we've addressed the dynamics of interviewing junior web developers, software engineers, and senior software engineers. Each category has its unique traits and skills that you'll want to assess in an interview.

When creating system engineer interview questions, bear in mind that they are in charge of designing, building, testing, and maintaining the systems on which our software and networks depend. They must have a thorough grasp of how these systems operate in order to troubleshoot, establish performance standards, understand required specifications, and have the technical knowledge to create efficient and reliable systems.

One of the most effective system software engineer interview questions is, "Let's say I'm hesitant to adopt a new technology, how would you communicate to me the importance of this change?"

The answer will let you know if the candidate is able to put themselves in another person's shoes, empathize, and understand how to effectively communicate difficult topics. This is a key skill for system software engineers as they are often working with teams of people who may not have the same technological know-how that they do.

The most important part of interviewing software engineers is to ensure that you are evaluating candidates objectively on their answers to the questions, and not on any other factors. Pillar can help you remove bias and bring interview intelligence into your hiring process. We'll help you solve the challenges of building a world-class team through effective hiring.