51 Questions To Ask Software Engineers - The Ultimate Guide

When making a new hire, it's important that they fit in with your company's culture. In this blog post, we'll discuss 51 crucial questions to determine if the applicant will be a good hire.
by Billy Stone » Remote Work Nerd » 
last updated on November 13th
You have just received an application from a candidate for your open position. You feel that they are the perfect fit for your company, but you want to make sure. Now what?

Well, questions to ask a software engineer is something you should always do before making an offer of employment. By asking the RIGHT questions, you can better determine how well they will acclimate to working for your company's culture and see whether it's right for them too.

Here are 51 questions that you should ask any potential employee who is applying to become a software engineer at your company!

General questions to ask software engineers

So, do you want to hire software developers or hire remote developers? The questions you ask a software developer on interview day can make or break the hiring process. It's important to know how to talk and what questions to ask during an interview, but it's also necessary to know what not to ask.

  1. What is your ideal team environment?
  2. Do you prefer working in large or small teams?
  3. What are your expectations of working for this company?
  4. What are the most important qualities of a good leader/manager for you to work with?
  5. How would your previous manager describe your work ethic and attitude towards work?
  6. Which tools do you use to communicate with other employees both on-site and off-site, if any at all?
  7. What is your favorite part of working at your previous company?
  8. Can you share any concerns about our team or the work environment with us?
  9. Which programming languages are familiar to you and which ones would be new if hired here?
  10. How would an employee go about asking questions if they were stuck on a coding project?
  11. How would you describe your work style and how it meshes with the team's working style.
  12. What is your favorite part of being an engineer at this company (past or current)?
  13. Why do you want to work here instead of another company in our field?
  14. How does this position compare with other offers/jobs that you have received recently?
  15. What questions do you have for me? – Simple, but so good!

interview questions

This is your opportunity to find out what the applicant's questions about your company are. You can also see how thoughtful their questions are and use that as a gauge of whether or not they're interested in working for you, but just think of this section like an interview on both sides! By asking questions at the end, you can get a feel for whether or not they want to work with your team.

Ask them questions about their experience & background

You want to ensure that you're hiring for the right skillset and interesting projects. You might think that this is just a list of questions to ask for you to find out more about your potential new hire, but these are some great ways on getting an applicant's background. These questions will help us understand their prior work experience and how they've responded under pressure before being hired by asking them so many situational queries!

  1. Why did you choose to become a software engineer?
  2. How long have you known Java or what kind of projects have you worked on with Java?
  3. How often did your past managers or co-workers communicate via email/video conferences versus face-to-face?
  4. How did you get into the software engineering field?
  5. Have you ever encountered a difficult situation on the job and how did you handle it?
  6. Tell me about your latest projects – what was the most difficult part of the project and how did you handle it?
  7. What was a significant mistake that you made in a previous job?
  8. How has your performance been rated by past managers, if at all?
  9. How did you handle it when you identified errors in a coworker's code?
  10. What are some of the latest projects you're working on?
  11. Tell me about your work with HTML/CSS.
  12. Who are some of the people in the industry that you admire most?
  13. If someone were to go through your LinkedIn profile, what skills would they come across?
  14. Were there times you questioned being a software engineer?
  15. If you're feeling stressed about a project, what do you do?
  16. How have you worked with a difficult coworker in the past?
  17. What interests do you have besides your job, if any?
  18. Which tools do you use to communicate with other employees both on-site and off-site, if any at all?

In-depth interview questions to ask a software developer

You want to make sure you're getting all of the information from an applicant. The following detailed questions to ask a software engineer about their career cover topics including expectations, preferences, etc., but also any previous experience that has given insight into these areas.

In-depth interview questions to ask a software developer

Good interview questions to ask before you hire remote software engineers include:

  1. What's your preferred coding language?
  2. What's your preferred development environment?
  3. How often do you use a whiteboard when designing something in code?
  4. If I gave you a new project to work on, how long would it take for me to see progress from the start of design until the product is finished and deployed live?
  5. Have you ever been required to be at the office on the weekends?
  6. How would you describe your ideal working environment in detail (for example preferred location or workstation within an office, loud versus quiet office space)?
  7. What do you think your greatest strengths are?
  8. What do you think your weaknesses are and how have you improved on them over the last year?
  9. How long does it typically take you to perform a task?
  10. How would your former managers describe you in one sentence each?
  11. Why are you looking to leave your current company or role?
  12. How do you handle critical input from your manager during the day, if at all?
  13. What kind of projects are you interested in working on next and why?
  14. If we were to give you an assignment that would be completely new for us, what steps would it take to complete it?
  15. Tell me about a time you had to deal with an irate customer and how did you handle this situation?
  16. How do you know if the work is easy or hard for someone else besides yourself?
  17. If we were at another company, would you be applying for the same position?
  18. How would your friends describe you in one sentence each?
  19. What do you want to know about our company that I haven't answered yet?
  20. Which software engineering conference are you most excited to attend this year and why?
  21. If something urgent came up, how will we know if it's important enough to interrupt your work?
  22. Which mentorship programs have you participated in, if any, and how did they go?

Examples questions and answers for software engineers

What questions to ask in an interview software developer & which answers can you expect? When interviewing a software engineering candidate, you'll have a lot of questions for the candidate, so make sure you cover all their bases. Here are some example interview questions and answers:

  1. Interviewer: "What's your preferred coding language?" Candidate: "X and Z are my two favorites. I like A, B, C as well but not quite as much."
  2. Interviewer: "Why do you prefer X and Z over the other options?" Candidate: "I've been using X in my current position for the past five years and I'm comfortable in that language. When it comes to Z, the syntax is really easy for me to remember."
  3. Interviewer: "Which software engineering conference are you most excited about attending this year?" Candidate: "I'll be at D this summer but C looks like an amazing one as well!"
  4. Interviewer: "What questions do you have about our company?" Candidate: "I'm curious as to what your latest project was and how it went. Also, I'd like to know more about the work environment here."
  5. Interviewer: "If something urgent came up, how will we know if it's important enough to interrupt your work?" Candidate: "I have a pager that goes off. Other than that, I'll let you know right away."
  6. Interviewer: "Would you say the work is easy or hard for someone else besides yourself?" Candidate: "If something isn't going well with another engineer on my team, we'll brainstorm together and come up with a solution to the problem."
  7. Interviewer: "What questions do you have for me?" Candidate: "Do you guys tend to work with startups or larger companies? Is there a certain type of company that's preferred over another one when it comes to hiring here?"
  8. Interviewer: "What are your expectations for the first 30, 60, and 90 days of employment?" Candidate: "I expect to be given a task that will allow me to get familiar with the company's work. I also look forward to learning more about my teammates."
  9. Interviewer: "Where do you see yourself professionally five years from now?" Candidate: "In a leadership role with increased responsibility."
  10. Interviewer: "What are your goals for the next few years?" Candidate: "I hope to take on more responsibilities and become a team lead or even software engineering manager one day. I'm also interested in mentoring junior engineers someday as well."
  11. Interviewer: "What's the most difficult bug you've had to fix?" Candidate: "This one time, a customer was really unhappy because of an issue with their account. I couldn't reproduce the problem on my end no matter how many times I tried."

When hiring a software engineer, it's important to have specific questions in mind. These will depend on the size and nature of your business as well what languages or technologies you use for programming - but don't forget that there are always general interview topics that cover most bases!

Conclusion

An interview is an opportunity to learn about the applicant and make sure they're a perfect fit for your company. With questions like "What's your preferred coding language?" or "How would you handle an urgent issue that interrupts work?", it's important to ask questions that will determine if the candidate has what it takes to fill this position.

It can be difficult, but as long as there are questions at every stage of the hiring process, then you'll have enough information needed to hire a software engineer who fits in with your team culture!