Asking the Right Software Engineer Interview Questions in 2022

The increasing demand for software engineers shows no signs of slowing down. And why should it? Virtually every industry today depends upon constantly changing software—and for many companies, creating software applications is their primary business. The IT team, whether on staff or hired, is ubiquitous across industries and drives the demand for software engineers from entry-level fresher to senior dev to team leader.

The challenge for engineering managers is recruiting in a highly competitive field where quality is essential at every level. Asking the right software engineer technical interview questions for both seniority level and position is key (like junior frontend developer, senior backend developer, and so on.) Then comes software engineer behavioral interview questions and answers in later-stage interviews.

It is, of course, a major mistake to confuse entry level software developer interview questions with senior software engineer technical interview questions and answers. Let’s explore the distinctions so that you can accurately screen, assess, and hire the right people for your open roles.

Entry level software engineer interview questions

Entry level software developer interview questions and answers—for freshers and junior developers—usually focus on code. Writing code is the essential skill for new developers joining the team and is expected of recent grads and computer science majors. Other questions will focus on career motivation and working in the software field.

Adequately trained computer science graduates, in addition to code-writing competence, should be familiar with specific coding and programming concepts. And unlike senior developers, they need to prove it.

This interview process typically involves software developer technical interview questions and coding questions for beginners. Here are a few examples of entry-level coding questions:

  • How do you appropriately populate a linked list in C#?
  • How do you remove multiple duplicates from an array in place if there is more than one duplicate?
  • What is a bucket sort algorithm and how would you implement it in a project?
  • What are the different model types available in SDLC?
  • How would you go about designing a scalable application?

After the coding interview, junior web developer interview questions are used to assess a candidate’s culture fit. Some examples:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses at this point in your development as a software engineer?
  • Why do you want to work in the software industry?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • Why do you want to be a software developer?
  • What are some projects you’re currently working on?

More in-depth questions in these areas might include:

  • Which programming languages do you prefer?
  • What is your experience working on technical projects as part of a team?
  • What was the development process of one of your previous projects?
  • Tell us about a time you had to take the lead on a project.

Senior software engineer interview questions

Now comes the hard part.

Engineering managers looking to hire experienced engineers have to select and refine senior software engineer interview questions that are more complex than entry or junior level questions. In general, senior software engineer interview preparation is complicated and time-consuming; fortunately, Woven can help.

Our technical assessment platform allows you to screen candidates before moving on to senior software engineer behavioral interview questions. We’ll take care of the senior software engineer interview questions C# and senior software engineer interview questions Java so that by the time you get to your late-stage interviews, you know that every candidate is technically qualified for the role.

Here are five examples of problem solving interview questions for senior software engineers. Notice that these questions are open-ended; we’re not looking for right or wrong answers here. Rather, we want to see a candidate’s approach to problems and solutions.

  • Which development methodology are you most familiar with?
  • How do you test and find bugs in an application?
  • Which programming languages do you use most?
  • Can you explain what the software development life cycle is and why it’s important?
  • What is your quality-control process when developing software?

Position-related challenges can also help you determine who has the skills to uplevel your development team. For example, these senior backend developer questions are specific to HTTP:

  • What happens between the time you enter a URL in your browser until you see the page that you requested?
  • How does the 3-way TCP handshake occur when you request a page from a server?
  • What are the contents of an HTTP request header? Response header?
  • What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS?
  • How would you design a URL shortener similar to Bitly?

Software engineer coding interview questions

It’s important to say a bit more about how technical interview questions for senior devs differ from entry-level devs—and why.

Senior engineers already know how to code. They can easily learn new code. And they don’t need to define the programming concepts that typically are taught in college classes. Candidates for senior engineering positions are increasingly declining code quizzes and 10-hour take-homes because they don’t want to waste their time on engineering basics.

Whether you’re choosing coding interview questions with solutions for senior developers or using an online testing platform to do the job for you, you want to be sure the questions are appropriate. The goal is to challenge the special knowledge, experience, and creative problem-solving skills that a candidate can bring to your development team. And while some challenges will involve coding, you want your candidates to define problems and lay out promising approaches to solving them.

Final thoughts

It’s no secret that technical hiring is hard work.

Woven aims to make the process easier by providing a positive experience for senior engineers and fast-tracking qualified candidates to late-stage interviews. We identify talented engineers by focusing on real-life coding challenges for specific levels of seniority and for specific roles: Mid/Senior Fullstack Engineer, Junior/Mid Fullstack Engineer, Engineering Manager, SRE/DevOps Engineer, and more.

The foundational skills required for these engineering positions are the same, which is why we don’t ask senior engineers to take code quizzes. Instead, we pose a mix of technical challenges related to debugging, technical communication, systems thinking, backend programming, and frontend programming.

Plus, every candidate who completes our coding challenges receives individual engineering feedback. That’s why more than 95% of senior engineering candidates agree to take our tests.

Ready to try the Woven approach? Sign up for a free trial of our tech assessment platform today. You can choose a real-world simulation from our library of 20+ engineering role scenarios, and we’ll discuss the results with you.

See for yourself how our software engineer interview questions put the right people in the right seats. Sign up today!