Time to Demystify Software Engineer Coding Interview Questions

According to NatGeo, lions, the ultimate apex predators, have a mere 30% hunting success rate. And the African wild dog enjoys a whopping 80%.

What does this have to do with hiring developers?

Well, you’d think that roi de la jungle enjoys a flawless kill streak. The same misconception plagues software engineering coding interview questions.

Here’s why.

Under normal conditions, the technical interview process goes something like this:

  1. Hiring managers review tons of resumes to trim down the number of candidates
  2. Next is a 30 – 45 minute phone screen to ask a few general questions
  3. Follow up with a take-home test that candidates must complete over the next few days
  4. Multiple remote/on-site meetings where candidates undergo panel interviews to assess their coding skills and answer behavioral questions
  5. Hire and onboard those who qualify

Throughout this process is an emphasis on software engineer interview questions that prove coding skills – as if software development is just coding. Check out this video about Google interview questions software engineer to see what we mean.

The worst part is that the big dogs (we’re looking at you, FAANG) have made this the norm – and candidates are getting burnt out. Which means they’re less likely to apply at startups and scaleups, where they could make a real impact.

Today’s engineering leaders need to understand that while coding assessments are vital for hiring developers, a shift must take place. You have to go beyond code if you want hiring success.

Think less lion, more African wild dog.

Coding interview questions with solutions

A quick query: What’s your view on Oreos? If you’re among the 75% of Americans who fancy these mouth-watering treats, then you know how important it is to balance the ingredients correctly.

(Also… next time there’s an Oreo survey, sign us up.)

A technical interview is like an Oreo. With the right stack of ingredients, you have a delicious snack. But you need to put all the parts together; and the right software engineer coding questions and answers matter.

Unfortunately, most organizations focus on brain teasers, code quizzes, and puzzles, resulting in a half-baked hiring process.

Some pitfalls of this methodology:

  • Code questions don’t highlight a candidate’s complete skillset. There’s more to the job than developing and running algorithms.
  • If you’re not using real-world challenges, the candidate can’t prepare for what is to come in the role they’re applying for.
  • Senior developers don’t need to prove their coding ability and often refuse to take code quizzes or time-consuming puzzles.
  • Without a wholistic interview approach, you risk hiring the wrong candidate.

Yikes. Looks like it’s time to review your company’s coding tests.

Coding questions for beginners

Software development students are ambitious. They want to join the leagues of Dennis Ritchie (C), Bjarne Stroustrup (C++), Tim Berners-Lee (World Wide Web), and others who’ve changed the world.

Plus, software development is among the highest-paid careers; developers spend hours learning to code, and many excel in more than the recommended programming languages.

After college, software engineers endure loads of entry-level software engineer interview questions. And asking coding round questions for freshers makes sense; companies want to make sure they have the basics nailed down.

Some basic programming interview questions include:

  • What is the difference between software development and computer programming?
  • Develop and run a program that lists the first 100 odd numbers.
  • Create a program that will display elements in the Fibonacci sequence.
  • What is a Palindrome String in C++? Develop a program to show if a string is a Palindrome.
  • Explain why constructors don’t support visual functions.
  • How do you calculate response time in client-server technology?

You can scour the internet for more, but the problem here is obvious; these questions are suitable for freshers, not experienced engineers.

Senior software engineer interview questions

Senior developers have more responsibilities than junior developers, who spend most of their time developing and running code.

A Tidelift survey revealed that a senior engineer’s work schedule includes:

  • Meetings, management and operations: 30% – 34%
  • Writing and improving existing code: 24% – 28%
  • Code maintenance: 16% – 18%
  • Testing: 8% – 11%
  • Security issues: 5% – 7%
  • Other duties: 9% – 11%

If a role is mostly management, the interview process shouldn’t focus mostly on coding skills. What’s the point in asking Java coding interview questions or C programming coding questions if coding is only a fraction of what the person will be doing? Those are junior software engineer interview questions.

In most cases, senior developers must have 5+ experience on the job. This means this developer has accumulated knowledge and other skills, such as:

  • Architecture
  • Collaboration
  • Debugging
  • Troubleshooting
  • High-level problem solving
  • Systems thinking

You might opt for Java coding interview questions for experienced professionals and throw some tricky programming questions into the mix. But before you do, ponder this…

Woven is the only coding interview platform worthy of experienced engineers. Our assessments go beyond Java coding questions to test for all of the advanced skills we mentioned above. Plus, we give every candidate individual engineering feedback, which means senior developers actually want to take our tests.

Who knew? (Psst. We did.)

Final thoughts

We’re in the fourth industrial revolution where technology takes center stage. And with today’s rapid rate of technological development, you can’t afford to hire the wrong people for your team.

You can make the process easier and more efficient with Woven.

Our platform:

  • Tests for 9 different roles based on your company’s needs
  • Time boxes assessments to less than 2 hours
  • Ensures an 80% faster hiring rate with a third of your hiring budget
  • Offers personalized and unbiased feedback for the ultimate candidate experience
  • Saves your engineering team time by narrowing your focus to only the best and brightest

It’s time to start asking the software engineering coding interview questions that put the right person in the right seat.

We’ll show you how it’s done. Start a free trial with Woven today.