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Behavioral Interview Questions And Answers Software Engineer

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Give Me An Example Of A Time You Faced A Conflict While Working On A Team How Did You Handle That

All You Need To Know About Behavioral Interviews (for software engineers)

Ah, the conflict question. Its as common as it is dreaded. Interviewers ask because they want to know how youll handle the inevitable: disagreements in the workplace. But you might be nervous because its hard to look good in a conflict even when youre not in the wrong. The key to getting through this one is to focus less on the problem and more on the process of finding the solution.

For example, you might say:

Funnily enough, last year I was part of a committee that put together a training on conflict intervention in the workplace and the amount of pushback we got for requiring attendance really put our training to the test. There was one senior staff member in particular who seemed adamant. It took some careful listening to understand he felt like it wasnt the best use of his time given the workload he was juggling. I made sure to acknowledge his concern. And then rather than pointing out that he himself had voted for the entire staff to undergo this training, I focused on his direct objection and explained how the training was meant to improve not just the culture of the company, but also the efficiency at which we operatedand that the goal was for the training to make everyones workload feel lighter. He did eventually attend and was there when I talked to the whole staff about identifying the root issue of a conflict and addressing that directly without bringing in other issues, which is how I aim to handle any disagreement in the workplace.

Behavioral Interview Questions For Software Engineers

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Related: How to Spot Behavioral Interview Questions

Taylor, explains why employers ask behavioral interview questions with tips on how to identify them in an interview and be prepared with great answers.

When interviewing for a job as a software engineer, you may answer both technical and behavioral questions so that the employer can gain a better understanding of your capabilities. However, behavioral interview questions allow the hiring manager to learn more about how you would perform in a variety of workplace scenarios and situations. Preparing for behavioral interview questions may help you answer these questions more confidently, which can help a hiring manager better assess your skills. In this article, we list 10 common software engineer behavioral interview questions with sample answers for you to review.

Related:What Is Software Engineering?

Why Do Behavioral Interviews Matter

Acing the technical interview is obviously important, but the behavioral interview is just as critical if you want to stand out as a desirable candidate. Technical skills are replaceable, after all. What really makes you hireable must go beyond those skills to something else. This insight into your behavior and capacity for self-reflection may be the thing that makes or breaks you in the job hunt.

A hiring team wants to bring someone on board who will make their lives easier and who will fit in with the company. Behavioral interviews are a vital determining factor. They are even used for reducing legal risks, implementing policies of equality, and building fulfilling work environments.

Its a common misconception in the tech world that soft skills are less important than technical skills. The reality is quite the opposite: soft skills are often the determining factor for hiring a candidate. Soft skills will make or break you as a potential hire.

They demonstrate longevity, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work on a team. In fact, soft skills are one of the only ways to stand out to non-developers on the hiring committee, who may not be familiar with the technical skills you bring to the table. Behavioral interviews matter just as much as your coding interviews, so, its time to prepare!

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Good Behavioral Questions To Ask Your Interviewer

The interviewer is trying to decide if they want to work with you, but youre also evaluating whether you want to work with them.

Seize the opportunity to learn about the person who may become your manager, or, if youre speaking with a recruiter, about the company culture.

Asking plenty of questions also helps you cross-check the claims your interviewer makes. Stenzel talked about a time she finished an interview with a hiring manager who stressed his companys friendly culture, only to leave the interview room and watch him walk past dozens of employees without saying hello.

Here are some behavioral questions to ask your interviewer, according to Brown, Hedges and Stenzel.

  • What are the external pressures on this team?
  • From the companys perspective, does this team cost money or earn money?
  • When this team has a new project to tackle, how do you start? How do you know when its finished?
  • Is this role a backfill? Why did the last person leave?
  • Why is this role necessary or important?
  • How much support would I receive in this position, and from whom? What would that support look like?
  • Can you tell me about a moment you were particularly excited about this companys culture?
  • Can you tell me about a time something didnt fit this companys culture? What happened next?

Stephen Gossett contributed reporting to this story.

Behavioral Interview Questions For Software Engineers On Teamwork And Collaboration

Software Engineer Behavioral Interview Questions

Teamwork and collaboration are important elements for the success of important projects. Letâs look at some commonly asked software engineer behavioral questions on teamwork and collaboration.

Q1. Tell us about a time when you had to coordinate with multiple teams to finish an important project.

Q2. Tell us about practical challenges you faced while collaborating with other teams to complete a project.

Q3. Tell us about a time when a coworker in your team wasnât cooperative. Did the project suffer? What did you do about it?

Q4. Tell us about a time when you supported a different team on a project that required cross-team expertise.

Q5. What activities do you think can boost team collaboration and team spirit?

These software engineer behavioral interview questions across various categories will help you understand what to expect at behavioral rounds of technical interviews. Make sure to devote adequate time forming answers to these behavioral interview questions for software engineers.

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Tip #: Review Projects Youve Worked On

One of the most common behavioral interview questions is to ask you about a project you have worked on. It is important you review all your previous projects and pick the one that best represents your strengths that fit the job you are applying for.

It will be difficult to come up with previous projects on the spot and, if you are prepared, your answer will be more focused and relevant. This also allows you to bring an example of a project you worked on along with you.

What Are Your Hobbies/interests Outside Work

This helps the interviewer get an idea whether you lead a balanced life or whether you are too focused to have hobbies and outside interests and also regarding the kind of person you are. Remember here: the more outside commitments you have, the less attractive youd look to potential employers. Watching Television or playing PC games may distract the employer attention. Reading good books will be a good answer. Though, it would be suspicious if you say that your hobbies are studying financial market or working overtime for free.

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Walk Me Through An Example Of How You Set Goals

Setting goals is an important part of any job. This behavioral question gives an interviewer a stronger insight into how you set goals that are both achievable and reasonable. To respond, you should discuss one specific goal you set, and the process you used to decide upon that goal.

At around the middle point of working in my last job, I knew that I wanted to advance on to become a full stack web developer in my career. Because I was only a front end developer at the time, I decided that I was going to ask to be assigned to a small full stack project, to give me a taste of what I could expect further down the line.

“Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!”

Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot

I started spending some of my spare time learning about full stack development practices and invested heavily in building a few side projects to reinforce my skills. This helped me build the skills I needed to position myself as a good candidate for a bigger full stack web development task in the future.

What Approaches Do You Use To Stay Organized


Organizational skills are critical for senior software engineers. Three strategies that your candidates might mention for staying organized include:

  • . Source control ensures that files and code remain organized and that developers can keep track of any alterations made to them.
  • Using Kanbans. Kanbans help senior software engineers visualize the progress made on a project that is otherwise impossible to see. They facilitate task tracking and ensure the status of different tasks is acknowledged.
  • Updating tickets. Within a Kanban, tickets describe the user story, and they must be constantly updated. This involves updating statuses, notifying the team if youre stuck, reassigning tickets, or making comments.

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Behavioral Interview Questions Faq

What is a behavioral interview?

A behavioral interview focuses on a candidates past experiences to predict what type of employee they will be. Behavioral interview questions focus on what you have done, not on what you would do. During a behavioral interview, you will be asked a series of questions relating to past experiences that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

How many behavioral questions are asked in an interview?

How many behavioral questions are asked in an interview completely depends on the interviewer and the position you are applying for. Typically, you are asked about five or six behavioral interview questions and you should expect the interview to last one hour.

How long should behavioral interview answers be?

Behavioral interview answers should be a couple of minutes on average. You should spend a maximum of five minutes on any answer and a minimum of one minute. How long should behavioral interview answers be is completely dependent on the question. For example, two-part questions or open-ended questions may take longer to answer.

How can I ace a behavioral interview?

If you want to know how to ace a behavioral interview then read this guide. This guide will help you identify the top behavioral interview questions and practice your answers. You can study sample questions and common behavioral job interview questions to ensure you are well prepared.

What’s Next?

Give Me An Example Of A Time When You Were Able To Successfully Persuade Someone To See Things Your Way At Work

No matter your role, communication skills are critical and interviewers are going to keep asking related questions until theyre sure yours are up to snuff. When asked about persuasion, emotional intelligence and empathetic listening can be good pieces of your communication skill set to emphasize.

A good answer could sound like:

I once was tasked with pulling the plug on a project. Of course, this can be incredibly disappointing for those affected. Done poorly it could destroy a teams morale. I cant discuss the project too much, but suffice it to say that everyone on it worked really hard and it took some serious convincing for them to agree this was the right choice. Rather than letting the idea take hold that months of their work was being scrapped, I proactively shared with everyone all the ways their work would still be utilized by different parts of the company. Its not what they had intended, but seeing that their work wasnt wasted softened the blow and allowed me to share the hard truth that we wouldnt be able to realize our original goals. Taking the time to consider what negative reaction they might have and making the effort to be empathetic allowed me to directly address their concerns and show them that this was the best way forward.

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How To Prepare For Behavioral Interviews

Many job seekers underestimate the behavioral interviews, and most of them do little to no preparation for them! Some people assume that they will have no problem talking on the fly, but this is rarely a good idea. Remember that interviews are stressful! Stress can produce negative side effects that will make you look unprepared, and your brain wont be working at full capacity.

Without preparation, you may ramble, miss the mark on your personal stories, or focus on strengths that the company doesnt favor. Lets walk through four easy steps guaranteed to make you confident, focused, and prepped for behavioral interviews ahead.

For a list of the top behavioral interview questions, see the resource list at the end of the article.

Common Behavioral Interview Questions For Software Engineers

Software Engineer Job Interview Questions

As interviewers, we often deal with a large number of talented candidates who rock coding questions but are still unable to properly describe a project that they have done recently. Interviewers are encouraged to ask behavioral questions and go over the past experiences at the beginning of interviews so that the candidates become comfortable before jumping to the technical part.

It makes the behavioral part even more important since failing on the simple non-technical questions at the beginning can lead to the bad first impression on the interviewer and more stress on the candidates shoulder.

In this post, we have tried to gather some popular behavioral questions in software engineering interviews which every candidate should be prepared to answer:

  • Tell me about one of the most technically challenging projects you have done.
  • 2. What will you do differently if you are given the same project again.

    3. Tell me about the project that you are most proud of.

    4. Tell me about the time that you had conflicts with your teammate/manager, how you resolved it, and what you learned.

    5. Tell me about a time that you were behind a deadline and you knew that you could not meet it.

    6. Tell me about a time that you had to implement a workaround for a critical issue to meet a deadline. What did you do with the issue after the deadline?

    7. Tell me about a time that you introduced a technical debt in your work.

    8. Could you mention some general issues in your current job?

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    Tell Me About A Time You Needed To Get Information From Someone Who Wasnt Very Responsive What Did You Do

    Hiring managers want people who can take initiative and solve problems. Many workplace problems boil down to a communication breakdown, which is what this question is getting at. Try not to get too bogged down in the nitty-gritty details of the story and make sure finish with a clear lesson learned.

    A good answer to this question might be:

    Back when I was just starting out as an assistant to a more senior recruiter, I once needed to book interview rooms for several different candidates with a few sessions each, all on the same day. The online system the company used to schedule conference rooms was straightforward enough, but the problem was that it allowed more senior people to bump me out of my reservations. I had to scramble to get them back. When I didnt get responses to my emails, I literally ran around the office to find the people who took my rooms and explain why I needed them. It was stressful at the time, but it all worked out in the end. Most were happy to move to a different room or time to make sure the interviews went smoothly. I also met a bunch of people and earned early on that talking to someone in person can often move things along more quickly than an email can.

    Explain How You Prioritize Work When Everything Is A Priority

    When everything is priority, you could use the following approach

    • Make a list of all your tasks
    • Identify task important vs. urgent
    • identify the task that holds the highest value to your organization and business
    • Target those topic first whichever one you think will take the most effort to complete
    • Be adaptable and flexible to the task
    • May happen that not everything in the list can be achievable, focus on the priorities that you can complete

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    Why Are You Leaving Your Current Company

    You want to give legit reasons for wanting to leave, but dont make it sound like you are miserable at your current job. That could hurt you in the negotiating process, and also could make you seem like a negative person in their eyes.

    Another angle to go at this question is to word it in a way where it doesnt sound like you really want to leave your job, but you would just rather be with the company you are interviewing with. Then give reasons as to why you are excited to work there over your current company.

    Example:Although overall I am happy in my current role, there are a few reasons I am looking for a new opportunity.

    I feel that I have gotten to a point in my career where I am not learning as much as I want to be. I noticed that your company is using AWS and that is a technology that I have been wanting to get some experience in. Cloud platforms in general are something I am excited to work with.

    This kind of leads into my next reason, which is that I am looking for more challenging work. As I mentioned I feel that I am not learning as much as I want to be, and the work that I have been doing lately hasnt really provided any new challenges. I am excited to work with the newer technologies that your company is using as I know they will provide new and unique challenges.

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