Software engineers design, write and maintain software programs. Software engineer duties and responsibilities typically include participating in design and code reviews, fixing errors and bugs, optimizing applications and designing and implementing algorithms.
Whenever company's hire software engineers, the recruiter apart from strong programming skills, also looks for excellent problem solving skills and debugging skills. Great candidates for a software engineer role should also have a passion for coding, a strong desire to learn and the ability to work collaboratively across functions.
Interviewers ask the following interview questions to get a better sense of a candidate’s software engineering skills and experience.
What programming languages have you used in the past? What are your top two programming languages?
This question allows the recruiter to see how many programming languages the candidate knows and whether they are familiar with a language commonly used at the company. Here, the interviewer is looking for:
1. Applicant’s programming knowledge
2. Applicant’s fit for the company
3. Level of proficiency
How much are you coding on a daily basis? If you do not code on a daily basis, what is typical in your role?
Since coding is a big part of being a software engineer, if a candidate isn’t spending much of their time coding and they aren’t in a management role, it may be a sign of problems with their coding skills. Here, the interviewer is looking for:
1. Commitment to coding
2. Applicant’s coding ability
3. Role in previous job
How comfortable are you in a startup environment, or do you prefer working in a more established company?
Working in a startup is very different from being at a more established company. The recruiter wants to make sure that the candidate is a good fit for the company environment and expected workload that comes with working in a startup. Here, the interviewer is looking for:
1. Company fit
2. Ready for startup life
3. Understanding of expected workload
What distinguishes a great software engineer from a good one? Do you feel you have those qualities?
It helps to understand how a candidate feels about what makes someone the best in their career and how they feel about their skills and what makes them a good or great software engineer. Here, the interviewer is looking for:
1. Thoughts on software engineering
2. Their idea of greatness
3. Honesty and introspection
What’s the most important thing to look for or check when reviewing another team member’s code?
While there’s no definitive right or wrong answer to this question, it is designed to test an applicant’s knowledge, how well they articulate their debugging process, and whether they’re a victim of tunnel vision or can they keep their focus on the project at large. Here, the interviewer is looking for:
1. Attention to deal
2. Debugging skills
3. Problem-solving ability
In your opinion, what are the principles of good software engineering? What are some basic principles everyone should follow?
There are different opinions on what makes good software engineering, and those opinions guide a company’s culture. This question will allow the recruiter to see if the candidate’s philosophy on engineering matches the company's philosophy. Here, the interviewer is looking for:
1. Thoughts on software engineering
2. Applicant’s coding philosophy
3. Critical thinking skills
If needed, how would you go about designing scalable applications? Walk us through your process.
This question is designed to test a candidate’s knowledge and thought processes when it comes to design and solving common project specific problems. Here, the interviewer is looking for:
1. Test applicant’s knowledge
2. Problem-solving skills
3. Understand applicant's approach to design
Explain what black box and white box testing are.
Testing the software to ensure it works as it's supposed to, is vital for a successful software engineer. A recruiter would want to be sure that the software engineer candidate is capable of running basic testing to make sure they do their coding correctly. It's important for the candidate to both understand the intricacies of the testing and to be able to explain how the testing works to someone who may or may not have a background in software engineering. When the interviewer asks this question and the candidate responds, he is looking for an answer that:
1. Is straightforward and easy to understand
2. Provides clear distinctions between the two types of testing and what roles are most likely to use them
3. Offers an example of how the candidate might use the testing in their role with the company
Now that you know what questions recruiters ask before they hire software engineers, let’s shift gears to focus on your job search. Ask you friends to recommend you for tech roles at top companies through our Chrome extension. With this your friends get paid $1500 for every successful hire. Happy Job Hunting!