Software Engineers design, develop, test, and maintain software applications.
In their day to day, they apply engineering principles and knowledge of programming languages to build software across web, desktop, mobile, hardware, etc. They work cross-functionally to understand and implement requirements for the end user. Depending on the area of focus, Software Engineers may further specialize into Frontend, Backend, Full Stack, Infrastructure, etc.
Asking the right questions is crucial for hiring teams to identify the best Software Engineers for a role. Effective interview questions should go beyond just assessing a Software Engineers technical skills and experience. They should also help evaluate the candidate's cultural fit, soft skills, and overall potential. We’ve compiled top questions to ask candidates when hiring for a Software Engineer position below.
Introductory call questions
Candidate Motivation and Interest
What about this opportunity excited you and interested you enough to jump on the phone with us today?
What are you looking for in your next role?
What do you know about our company so far?
Are you interviewing anywhere else? How far along in the process are you?
When is the earliest you would be able to start a new role?
Do the location requirements of this position work for you?
What Annual compensation are you targeting in your next position?
Would you require visa sponsorship, either now or in the future?
Are you interested in moving forward with our process?
How many people are on the team you work closely with? What functions are they in?
What frontend frameworks like React do you use for your development work? How many years of experience do you have with each of them?
What backend programming languages do you use for your development work? How many years of experience do you have with each of them?
How much experience do you have doing infrastructure or devops work?
Do you prefer frontend or backend work?
These questions are designed to help you assess a software engineer's problem-solving abilities, adaptability and communication skills. When asking these questions, pay attention to specific examples, actions taken, and results achieved, as this will provide insight into the candidate's abilities and experiences.
Example questions below:
What would you do if you were assigned a project with a technology you're not familiar with?
How do you stay updated on the latest industry trends and technologies?
Can you describe a time when you had to work on a project with tight deadlines? How did you manage your time and prioritize tasks to meet the deadline successfully?
Tell me about a project where you had to collaborate with a cross-functional team. What was your role, and how did you ensure effective teamwork and communication?
Can you share an example of a time where a project that didn't go as planned? What were the challenges, and how did you and your team adapt to overcome them?
How do you handle conflicts or disagreements within a team?
How would you design Twitter?
Write up the data model
How would you model Tweets, Likes, Followers, Replies?
How would you explain APIs to non-technical stakeholders?
What do you think are the most important aspects to pay attention to when reviewing another team member’s code?
Please explain big-O notation in the simplest terms.
Here is a simple programming challenge. Could you have a go at solving it?
Example question 1 (shorter time frame): Write a function to compute the Nth Fibonacci number.
Example question 2 (longer time frame): Write a function that takes the current position of a knight on a chessboard, and returns a preliminary list of possible moves the knight could make. (That is, the current positions of other pieces are not provided, so you can’t check against capturing pieces on the knight’s own side nor making their king vulnerable to capture.)