Software Engineer Interview Questions To Hire the Right Candidate

Software Engineer Interview Questions To Hire the Right Candidate
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Finding the right software engineer is always a difficult job, whether it is freelance or in-house, but it can be less difficult if you know exactly what you are looking for. If you know the right questions to ask, then it is not going to need a lot of work.

Generally, software development is a technical field, so you need to prepare technical interview questions that will help you gauge the capabilities of the developer. You also need to prepare personality and ethics questions to ensure that you hire the best fit for your project.

In this post, we will highlight the most important software engineer interview questions to help you with the hiring process.

Interview Preparation

Just like any interview, preparation is essential, thus you need to know beforehand what you should ask. Although the questions depend on the type of your software project, below are some general steps to prepare:

•    Understand your project specifications

You are looking for a developer who understands your needs and the only way for them to understand it is for you to communicate properly the project specifications. The best way to understand your project clearly is by reading and reviewing the documentation.

•    Know your budget

Every software engineer has their own price. The rates depend on the tech stack, years of experience, location, and project complexity.

•    Understand your deadline

Knowing your deadline will also help a software engineer to give you an overall estimate based on the requirements of your project. In addition, some software engineers don’t perform well under pressure, so knowing your time limit will also help you hire the right developer.

•    Prepare interview questions

Prepare questions that will test the developer’s both technical and ethical skills. You can ask for an experienced developer to help you with technical questions if you don’t have enough knowledge.

There are three phases in hiring a software engineer:

Phase I: Entails basic questions about their previous job and projects

Phase II: The technical stage of the interview to test the technical skills of the developer.

Phase II: The last part of the interview and the stage where the developer is allowed to ask questions and iron out any confusion.

Software engineer interview questions

After shortlisting the software engineer candidates, it is now time to go through essential questions to ask them during the interview. The questions in this list are general software development questions and not language-specific. Make sure you prepare only the questions that will help you get the right man for the job based on your project requirements.

Interview Question I: Explain one of your previous projects and how you successfully completed it.

This question allows the candidate to openly discuss their previous task without including technical answers. This question serves several purposes, first, you can detect whether the candidate is a team player or not. It also helps you understand how they handle time, their interactions with project managers and management skills.

Interview Question II: Did you face any hurdles when working on your previous project and how did you handle it?

This question helps you to identify how the candidate can cope with obstacles, delays and any other problems that may come up during the project. It is common for software projects to run into hitches, one way or the other, so it is important to test the capabilities of a developer to handle hurdles that may come along. If a candidate struggles to identify an obstacle with their previous project, that may be a bad sign.

Interview Question III: Are you familiar with the Agile Software development process, and do you observe the principle when building applications?

Today, all software development follows an agile principle. So, developers should be familiar with the procedure, and it is important to ask in the interview if they follow the process.

Interview Question IV: What are your views on multi-threading?

Multi-threading has been an important component of software development. Developers use this concept to improve the performance of an application using different processors to run code snippets. Multi-threading also prevents the code from “hanging” when it runs. 

Interview Question V: What do you think about unit testing?

Unit testing, along with test-driven development (TDD) is mostly considered as the best software development practices. The principle is also used in code maintenance. Unit testing is an additional code that tests different methods and processes for code flaws and logic errors, eliminating bugs that could be exported to production.

This concept should be in the fingertips of every developer and it is crucial to identify during the interview if the candidate is familiarized with and is willing to prioritize it in the project.

Interview Question VI: What is MVC?

MVC simply a technique of separating code into its own slots, as M stands for Model, V, view, and C, controller.

Interview Question VII: Are you conversant with OOP analysis and design?

OOP or Object-Oriented Programming is the basis of almost all major programming languages such as C++, Java, C# and VB. For this, a top software developer should be very much familiar with OOP.

Interview Question VIII: How do you organize your assets and class modules?

This question tests the candidate’s efficiency in organizing their code. Although there is no written on the stone rule of organizing assets and class modules, it is still useful to know how the candidate organizes their code and if it can be maintained easily.

Interview Question IX: What is ORM?

ORM stands for object-relation mapping and is a technique of using the code in a manner that it can map to database tables. This practice turns the table into own classes, which developers can use for LINQ queries. The candidate should indicate knowledge in different ORM frameworks such as Hibernate.

Interview Question X: What is your method of identifying a bug in application? How long do you spend on debugging?

The first question helps you understand how the candidate reason when working with challenging bugs. Every developer has a different way of finding and dealing with bugs, nevertheless, they must use a debugging tool.

The second question will highlight how often the developer debugs its code. If they use much time debugging, then they will need additional help to refine the code that they write.


When interviewing a software engineer candidate, it good to start with general questions before diving into technical ones. If you have limited knowledge of software engineering, you can ask someone to help you with technical parts of the interview, maybe a senior software engineer.

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