Have A Consistent Scoring Mechanism
This is what I like to call the assume-the-candidate-is-exceptional way to score.
- Assume that the candidate will solve the question in the best possible way and give them a 5.
- Throughout the course of the discussion, add negative points for things that matter and the candidate doesnt do well on.
- For a role requiring a good grip on algorithms, for example, take off -1.5 for only being able to arrive at an unoptimized answer on their second attempt, -1.5 if you had to give a very revealing hint to move forward, -2 if they give up too soon, -0.5 if they miss edge cases and so on.
Pieces Of Advice For Asking Your Candidates These Software Engineer Interview Questions
Before we close this article, here are five pieces of advice that you should bear in mind when asking your candidates these software engineer interview questions.
- Exceptional technical abilities
Software Engineer Interview Questions Related To Technical Definitions
The next 22 software engineer interview questions are related to technical definitions and concepts frequently used in the industry. Take a look and choose the questions that suit your organizations brand.
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How Would You Scale Up This System Through Design
It is a more advanced question in which you ask the applicant how they would design and scale the system. Should the system be a single, unified service or a collection of microservices? What is the number of databases, cache layers, or message queues required?
You might inquire about whether they would utilize Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft Azure, as well as the trade-offs and how this would affect the system. How would the applicant handle scaling a unified web service like a Django or Ruby on Rails application? Would they deal with caching layers at all?
This wide topic opens up a slew of debates and questions and gives a lot of information on how senior software engineer thinks and how effectively they can build a system.
Even if your organization is not only focused on scaling, it might be instructive to observe how a candidate would scale or rework the present architecture. If scaling is not the aim, you might modify the question to include additional requirements, such as legal compliance or reliability.
What Are The Expectations That You Have Set For This Role
Knowing the expectations of a role can help you better prepare for the duties and demands of the job. Especially at a high level of software engineering, position expectations can vary widely across companies. You can also ask the interviewer how the expectations for the role change over time, as expectations can often be different at 30 days than they are at 90 days, for example.
Related: âWhy Is the Team Looking To Fill This Role?â
Jenn explains the strategy behind asking the question âWhy Is the Team Looking To Fill This Role?â including what you could learn and what it tells the interviewer about you.
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Talk About Some Mistakes You Learned From
Every software engineer who is passionate about engineering and has worked on personal and business projects will have made some mistakes. Perhaps they worked on a project that ended up failing. That is not a bad thing, however, as it allows them to learn important lessons from those failures.
During the interview process, try to find out what mistakes the software engineer made and what lessons they learned from those mistakes.
This allows you to get an insight into their work ethic, their willingness to admit mistakes and learn, and how they work on improving their skills while working on projects.
During And Post Interview
Take notes during the interview on how the candidate replies to the questions. What impression did you get of the candidate during the interview?
After the interview, inform the applicant that they will be called for more rounds or the next steps in your company’s recruiting process. Also, while the interview is still fresh in your mind, reviewing and comparing notes with the other interviewers or hiring managers is a good idea.
Let us now move on to the crucial senior software engineer interview questions.
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Based On What You Know Of Our Company How Do You Plan To Reach Goals With Your Team
This question can help the interviewer gain insight into how much research you’ve done to learn about their organization and how you plan to address current challenges and support the company’s mission. Use your answer to discuss one or two aspects of the company to which you can contribute to achieving successful results.
Example:”Through my research of Unlimited Tech Solutions, I notice your organization has multiple portals for clients to access account and technical support services. Although I realize your organization has multiple types of clients it serves through its software solutions, I also understand the necessity of efficiency and high productivity. To increase efficiency and product delivery speeds, I would plan to scale the additional client access points into a single portal. From there, I would program each account type to reflect the support services available to better focus the company’s software solutions to relevant clients.”
How Would You Describe An Api To Someone Who Knew Nothing About Programming
Your interviewer may ask you to break down a complex concept in a way that’s easy to understand. Being able to explain highly specific, technical processes in simple terms can show excellent communication skills and thorough understanding of a topic. Try to make your answer as basic as possible and avoid using specialized vocabulary in your description.
Example:”**API stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs exist to allow programs to communicate with one another.For example, if you wanted to schedule a hair appointment on a salon’s site and have that appointment show up in your Google calendar, an API would allow the salon’s server to communicate directly with Google’s. APIs allow users to complete an action without leaving the website.”
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How Would You Guide A Junior Developer Or Onboard A New Team Member
Mentorship is a crucial part of any senior software engineering position. Candidates should show that they could assist a junior developer even through informal mentorship, and give you specific examples of how theyve achieved this in the past.
Perhaps they conducted a series of code reviews. Maybe they were part of the onboarding process. They might have contributed to informal coffee chats and given junior developers useful career advice.
Or maybe theyre used to establishing regular meetings. Look for candidates who can explain you their methods of deciding on:
- Crucial topics they need to discuss with the junior developer
- The frequency/cadence of the meetings
- Ways to contribute to progress development
Mentorship can help a senior developer grow within their role. Look out for candidates who mention specific skills that theyve gained while mentoring others, such as:
What Are You Working On Right Now
Find out what the software engineer is working on at the moment. Even if they are not currently working for a specific company, a good software engineer who is passionate about development will usually be working on a side project of their own.
If they are indeed working on a private project, ask them why they chose that project, what their goals are, what they enjoy about that project, and what they are learning from the process of working on that project.
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What Data Tables Do An Inventory Management System Require
It is a great senior software engineer interview question since it covers a broad topic. From here, anticipate the applicant to inquire about the things maintained in the inventory system, if orders are entered into the system to add or remove inventory, and how orders will be recorded. This allows the candidate to create at least a few data tables with various data field types.
For example, a library management system might have a database table for each book as well as a record for batches of a book that contain publication information. You’ll also have a table of library signups, orders for the book, and orders for reissues.
As this example shows, there are several data tables involved. You may see how a senior software engineer candidate tackles system design at each stage of the process. You may also see how they collect requirements.
Senior software engineers must be able to gather requirements and ask questions to do so. They are supposed to be more capable of defining their work than junior or mid-level software developers.
Best Questions To Ask For Knowing More About The Role
- What qualities do you look out for when hiring for this role?
- What would be the most important problem you would want me to solve if I joined your team?
- What does a typical day look like in this role?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current team? What is being done to improve upon the weaknesses?
- What resources does the company have for new hires to study its product and processes? Are there specifications, requirements, documentation?
- What would I work on if I joined this team and who would I work most closely with?
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What Are Your Expectations For The Person In This Role
While this can reveal interesting information at any level and for any kind of role, its especially important for higher-level engineers. Entry-level software positions typically look similar across companies and titles and bands are consistent. However, at higher levels, there tends to be a lot more variation.
For example, a senior staff software engineer job at two different companies can come with completely different sets of expectations. When I was recently interviewing for roles with this title, I found that some companies expected me to be on a small scrum team and spend all of my time coding while others expected me to spend a large percentage of my time mentoring, speaking, or working cross-functionally. Some hoped to leverage particular knowledge I already had while others wanted to leverage more general design thinking or leadership experience. None of these are bad, but they might not be what youre looking for.
It’s also important to find out if a company will offer growth opportunities in the areas you want to focus on. For example, if they want you to leverage your deep knowledge of Java but you want to learn a new programming language, you’re going to have problems. If, however, they want to leverage your knowledge of API design while still allowing you to learn a new language, that might be a good fit.
How Much Do Software Developers Interact With Other Departments
Asking this question shows youre interested in the interpersonal and cross-functional aspects of the job, not just the programming side of it. Employers often look for software developers who are good communicators and are able to easily collaborate with different departments. This is especially true on remote teams!
Depending on what the answer is, you may want to dig deeper. For example, if the role interacts a lot with other teams, is it because of company culture or a lack of organized communication? Alternatively, if the role doesnt interact much with other teams, is it because software developers are given a lot of time for deep work or theyre simply too isolated?
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Senior Software Engineer Interview Questions Related To Technical Skills
The next eleven senior software interview questions will help you learn about your candidates technical skills and knowledge. Use them to find out whether their abilities align with the requirements of the role.
Do You Have Any Questions For Us
An effective way to end an interview is to ask if your applicants have any questions for you. Check this out! Whatever questions they ask show whether they also see themselves fitting in with the company.
Allow potential software engineers to ask questions. If theyre not interested in the company, they might not have any questions prepared. On the other hand, a suitable candidate that asks several questions might ask about the company culture and company values.
Best Questions To Ask For Knowing More Culture And Welfare
- What is the most frustrating part about working here?
- What is unique about working at this company that you have not experienced elsewhere?
- What is something you wish were different about your job?
- How is individual performance measured?
- What do you like about working here?
- What is your policy on working from home/remotely?
- What does the company do to nurture and train its employees?
- Does the company culture encourage entrepreneurship and creativity? Could you give me any specific examples?
In Your Opinion What Are Some Principles Every Software Engineer Should Follow
The interviewer is likely to ask this question to evaluate your diligence in your job and how you’d meet or exceed the expectations of the company. Consider mentioning the value of adaptability or resourcefulness, as these qualities are useful in many professional settings. You can also discuss your personal coding philosophy and overall thoughts about software engineering.
Example:”One principle that I try to follow as a software engineer is to keep things simple and straightforward. The work itself can be technical and complicated, so I find that a simple and effective system for coding and task execution allows me to stay focused on complex tasks without becoming overwhelmed.”
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Give A Coding Problem To The Applicant To Solve
The interviewer can pick out any coding problem suiting the jobs requirement. The Candidate should be able to solve it by using his previous knowledge and experience. This web developer interview question will give you the idea of how fast the Candidate can answer the coding problem, and if they do it perfectly, then you will get the right person for your company.
What Project Management Tools Do You Use
When coding or making new software during a project, efficient management is put into place. Sometimes, engineers wont meet in person but will update each other digitally. This is done using project management tools. Some recommendable tools are Asana, ClickUp, and Jira.
You could ask them how they use the project management tool theyre most familiar with. Their response tells you more about how disciplined they are and how they manage their time. It could also give you an insight into their communication skills, which is important when a team is creating software.
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What Are The Biggest Challenges Facing Your Team
I like to leave this question open-ended since I think it’s interesting to see if people pick something technical, cultural, or process related. Regardless, the answer can tell you a lot about team culture and can give you insight into what you might be working on.
Are the challenges they bring up something you’re excited to try to fix or at least willing to work with? Samantha Paras, Engineering Tech Lead at DataFox, also likes to ask this to gauge if one of the challenges mentioned is an area that she feels like she can contribute to. Knowing that she can make an impact makes her much more excited about a company.
Are there challenges? If a team isnt trying to improve anything, that can indicate apathy or little room for growth on the team. Does everyone on the team reference the same challenge? Consistency can mean good self-awareness across the team . Do they seem optimistic about finding a solution?
When I was interviewing at one company, every single person I talked to referenced their design and decision making process being cumbersome and slow. While I obviously wouldnt want to deal with that, the fact that everyone noticed the problem and wanted it fixed made it seem likely to be addressed quickly. Several of them also referenced discussions they were already having around changing that process.