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Software Engineer interview questions and answers

This is a sample of Software Engineer interview questions to help you identify and select the ideal candidate with software development skills.

Christina Pavlou
Christina Pavlou

An experienced recruiter and HR professional who has transferred her expertise to insightful content to support others in HR.

software engineer interview questions

Software Engineer Interview Questions

Software Engineers are designing, developing and implementing software solutions. These questions will help you identify candidates with excellent coding skills and a deep understanding of full lifecycle software development.

Although a Computer Science academic background is usually necessary, it’s equally important to discuss your candidates hands on experience. You should ask about what programming languages they know and if they’re familiar with specific design tools that you use. You should also focus on their desire to learn and evolve, as this position requires continuous development and acquiring new knowledge. As with any technical role, you should consider including an assignment to better evaluate your candidates’ skills.

In addition to programming skills, keep an eye for candidates with strong passion for their profession. You can ask them about relevant books or blogs they like to read. Or, you can learn how they stay up-to-date with latest technology trends, by asking if they attend seminars or hackathons and if they contribute to open source software projects.

Computer Science questions

  • Can you explain what test-driven development is?
  • In which cases do you use an abstract class and when do you use an interface?
  • When do you use polymorphism and when do you use delegates?
  • Can you name the differences between object-oriented and component-based design?

Role-specific questions

  • Describe the process of writing a piece of code from requirements to delivery.
  • How do you prioritize program requirements? Mention any different techniques you know.
  • Which are your favorite programming languages?
  • How do you ensure your code can handle different kinds of error situations?
  • Can you name some limitations of a web environment vs. a Windows environment?
  • How do you ensure your program runs smoothly and fast?
  • Which tools have you used for testing your code quality?
  • How can you debug a program while it’s being used?
  • How can you ensure changes in code will not affect any other parts of the product?
  • Are you familiar with design patterns? What design software have you used and in what situations?
  • Where do you put most of your focus when reviewing somebody else’s code?

Behavioral questions

  • What is the last thing you learned about programming from a book, magazine or website?
  • What is your field of expertise and what would you like to learn about more?
  • What types of problems have you encountered most often in your programs after deployment?
  • Describe a time when you managed to reduce the user’s perception of waiting. What features did you use?
Ready to fine-tune this interview kit?
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