How to Crack the Coding Interview: Engineering Manager Edition

Go online and search “how to crack coding interview.” You’ll find plenty of resources for software engineering candidates looking to ace technical interviews.

Among these resources is the 500-page Cracking the Coding Interview book, which contains 189 programming questions and answers. It also has some hints, walk-through solutions for each challenge, and tips for prepping for an interview.

But the problem isn’t just that the technical interview is hard. The problem is that the technical interview process is flawed.

Often, candidates are asked to hand write code on a whiteboard instead of using an IDE. Or invert a binary tree to solve a problem that hasn’t come up one time in 10 years of actual engineering work. Or take a 10 hour take-home test that other candidates probably spent 30 hours on. 

Even Houdini couldn’t pull that off.

Worse still, the Great Resignation has created huge vacancies in tech – more than 72% of tech pros plan to quit in the next 12 months. That means a lot of job openings and a lot of competition. 

You might think that posting open roles in your organization means thousands of applications, especially with 3.7m+ IT vacancies. But following the same old hiring procedures won’t fly this time. And if you can’t hire quickly, that spells doom for your engineering team.

Allow us to help. It’s time for you, the engineering manager, to crack the coding interview.

Software engineer coding interview questions

Many software engineering students have the same goal in mind: get a job at a BigTech company straight outta college.

Who wouldn’t want a whopping $150k+ entry-level salary from FAANG or $144k+ from fintech?

Sure, the money at these tech giants is good, and the exposure can give software engineers a nice resume boost. But these companies also have a seriously skewed interview methodology.

  • The typical software engineering interview questions require a lot of practice time. Many candidates prepare for 3 to 8 months – especially on algorithms.
  • While coding interview questions can trim down the high number of applicants, a side effect is thousands of qualified candidates are rejected for invalid reasons.
  • Pressure throughout the interview process results in unnecessary stress and anxiety for candidates.
  • The coding questions can be disorientating, and many have nothing to do with problems the engineer will actually face on the job. In fact, Google’s infamous brain teasers were a PR disaster because they didn’t represent real-world problems.

Yikes. To make matters worse, the authors of Cracking the Coding Interview – former BigTech hiring managers – now ask candidates to pay them to nail the very same interview process they created. 

Don’t be like them.

Coding interview questions PDF

One way that you as an engineer leader can evaluate differently is by asking coding questions that are relevant to the specific role you’re hiring for.

You can refer to this coding interview questions and answers PDF or check out popular questions in different programming languages below.

Coding interview questions Python

  • State five vital python attributes.
  • State and explain the various built-in python data types.
  • List and explain some use cases for data analysis libraries in python.
  • Python is an object-oriented programming language. Elaborate.
  • Elaborate the following: ==, %, /, and //
  • Differentiate between map, reduce, and filter functions.

Coding interview questions Java

  • Explain what a loop is. State and explain the various types.
  • Java classes have various access specifics. State and explain them.
  • With examples, differentiate between continue and break statement.

Coding interview questions C++

  • Using a program, explain how to implement a binary search algorithm.
  • Highlight the various loops in C++using examples.

the list goes on.

There are dozens of resources (like this coding interview questions PDF) to help you compile your interview questions. However, they do have a few limitations:

  • Too focused on code
  • Mostly for entry- and mid-level developers
  • Fail to reflect real-world challenges
  • Place a heavy time burden on candidates
  • Not fun, period

If you want to compete with BigTech for top talent, you need an assessment that goes beyond code. Which brings us to…

Are your coding questions for beginners?

It’s important to remember the level of experience you’re hiring for. You want talented engineers who can hit the ground running – and you won’t find those people with a puzzle or code quiz. 

Put yourself in the shoes of a senior programmer.

You have a decade of experience under your belt. Your ability to solve problems and communicate across teams is inherently valuable. And of course you know how to code. 

The last thing you want to do is spend hours on an online test, only to come in for an interview and be grilled on your knowledge of arcane languages and coding challenges.

Engineering managers want to top talent. And the best way to get it is with a real coding project. This gives you the opportunity to see how a candidate approaches problems, what tools they use, and how they communicate their ideas.

A good coding project will require the candidate to learn something new (APIs, libraries, etc.), plan ahead (figuring out which technologies are necessary up front), and show off their skills (in an environment where they can’t just look up the answer).

Enter: Woven.

Cracking the coding interview latest edition

If you work for a startup, you can’t afford to lose qualified candidates because of ridiculous hiring practices or an outdated recruiting process. In this candidate-driven market, you need to interview differently.

Experts report that the Great Resignation will continue taking center stage in 2022. To create an interview process that helps you hire better, use Woven’s technical assessments.

Woven is the only coding interview platform worthy of experienced engineers. Talented candidates who don’t want to jump through BigTech’s hoops complete our assessments because they’re time-boxed, asynchronous, and come with personalized engineering feedback.

How this benefits you:

  • Spend a third of your hiring budget
  • Reduce hiring time by 80%
  • Ask test questions that go beyond code to include real-world challenges
  • Offer a positive candidate experience 

Ready to crack the coding interview on your team? Start a free trial of Woven’s coding interview platform and see the difference for yourself.