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Top 8 Recruitment Questions To Ask A Software Developer

As a recruitment agency operating in an age of remote work and fast-developing technologies, we are seeing a growing need for technical positions that need to be filled quicker than ever. One significant characteristic of modern job markets is the high demand of skilled software developers compared with the limited offer. Thus, the chase for the best programmers is on. Are you ready?

Knowing where to look for talented candidates with the right passion, drive, skills and experience is one thing, but recognizing a talented developer when they sit opposite to you, is a completely different matter. How do you know whether they are the right fit for you and your business’s needs? As important as test tasks are to assess skills, asking the right questions at the first interview is at least as crucial.

We share with you the top 8 questions to as a software developer in a job interview.

Interviewing a Software Developer

Assessing numerous candidates day in, day out has given us vast experience in how to identify the right fit. With every job interview being a staged setting with limited time, preparing the right set of questions is the prerequisite for success. Even within the field of software development, every company and every job opening is individual.

Considering your individual situation, we put together 8 questions to ask a software developer. Wether you are searching for a developer writing your company software or creating your website, these questions will help you identify whether your opposite knows what they are talking about.

1. What was your first project you ever worked on? Was it school/university related or self-initiated?

Knowing their inner motivation to take on a career as a developer will tell you a lot about them as a professional. This is ideal as a starter question because it gives the candidate the chance to talk about their background. Most programmers started out at a young age and invested quite some time in programming their first video game or small software. By letting them talk about their first defining moment in their career you give them the opportunity to emphasis what they see as an important moment in their personal development. Never underestimate the significance of an opening question.

2. When you think of a more recent project, how did your skills develop? Which technologies are you familiar with and how has your problem-solving evolved?

Asking them to compare their initial skills with their current ones might catch them off guard. Most likely they prepared for question like „Describe a recent project/success.“ They are ready to tell you their top 3 strengths and weaknesses. They might need to think a moment and adapt their prepared answers to your question. This should be an opportunity for them to self-assess their development and give you insights in their individual skills. A candidate who developed a remarkable set of skills over the years will have a possibility to shine with this question.

3. Which recent technology developments have you followed with great interest and why?

This question implies that you expect them to be up-to-date with technology revolving around software development. This might seem harsh, but you definitely should make this a stringent requirement. After all, no-one would hire a lawyer who stopped their continuing education in the 1980s. This might be a bit exaggerating but it emphasizes how important continuous learning is in certain job. And software development definitely is one of them. After all, the job requires to make use of newest technologies like development environments and is required to write code that can be integrated with current software and hardware standards. A severe lack of information or general disinterest is certainly a red flag.

4. What was the biggest challenge you ever faced when coding and how did you solve it?

While software engineers are focused on designing and optimizing a software, the developer dives into the code. In general they are very analytical people and have a very straightforward problem-solving approach. Testing if that is true for your candidate is the purpose of this question.

5. What kind of development environment do you prefer?

In order to make something out of this answer you should do some basic research on the top choices available for you particular programming needs. Usually development environments consist of a code editor for writing the source code, compilers to convert it into executable code, debugger to test and optimize and Build Automation Tools for automated developer tasks. If you already have software developers in your team you can also ask them for advice or take them with you to the interview.

6. What source control do you use?

With the question about the development environment you will already get a glimpse into how the candidate usually works. For example, prefer to work in a regular text editor not a specific coding editor. While it fulfills the purpose of saving written code, it is not offering any features that coding editors have to offer. Source control, for example, logs changes while code is written. If revisions of the code make the software more unstable, previous code versions can be retrieved. Since usually more than one person works on a software source code, it makes sense to track who made changes to which parts. Potential bugs in a code can then be fixed by the person who knows the concerned code part best - by the original coder.

7. Are you familiar with storage management technologies?

Depending on the exact job position the candidate applies to, this answer will vary. Still, even a frontend developer of a website should have basic knowledge about backend storage systems. After all every website runs with data and knowing how to store it is more important than ever considering the data protection regulations of the European Union. On top of that, cloud storage has become so omnipresent in today’s data management that a software developer definitely should have experience in this area.

8. Do you have experience working in an agile team? If so, which role did you take on in the team?

An agile team is a cross-functional team specifically formed to carry out all the necessary technical capabilities related to the assigned project. Although software developers usually work on a specific part of the software by themselves, they still need to be able to work in a team. Scrum is a popular team structure in software development because it allows working agile. Checking if your candidate is capable of working in a scrum structure, thus is important. Even if you are just building your company and it doesn’t work in scrum teams yet, it most likely will at a certain team size.

So there they are - our top 8 questions to ask candidates of a software developer position. You are looking for the best talent but are having difficulties in your recruitment process? Our HR freelancers are happy to help with their vast experience and expertise. Book your first free 15-minutes of consultation to find out exactly how we can help.

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