10 Key Interview Questions to Ask a Senior Software Developer

software developer interview questions

Years ago, IT recruiters thought that the best way to interview programmers was with the famous whiteboard tests. However, if you believe that whiteboard interviews are the right way to test hard skills, you’re wrong. Many developers have admitted to cheating during whiteboard exams, and even famous programmers admitted not knowing how to solve specific exercises. So what do to do? Rely on these 10 interview questions to test your senior software developer and make the right hiring choice or if you are a developer getting ready for an interview, feel free to check them out.

How do You Interview a Software Developer?

The best way to interview a software developer is to test them in several areas. If you’re interviewing for a specific type of developer, let’s say a Clojure Developer, your questions and tests should be focused on that area rather than on the general development. 

Yet, for general programming, the key is to understand if developers understand the basic concepts and know-how to put them into practice. 

10 Senior Software Developer Questions

We gathered a list with 10 essentials questions about general programming that will help you decipher if a candidate is truly the software developer you’re looking for. Or if you need to keep looking, or need help, you can always ask for our help. We have a huge team of IT recruiters ready to hunt highly skilled developers for your project, all over the world. because yes, we do hunt for remote developers.

1. What development methodology are you familiar with?

If your team uses a specific development methodology, it’s crucial to make sure that the candidate understands it and has experience working with it. For example, if your team follows the Agile methodology, which centers mainly on iterative development, having a candidate who has experience working with it and it’s familiarized with all the concepts will make the onboarding process and the general experience smoother. 

2. How do you test and find bugs in an application?

Testing bugs is part of a developer’s life. Unfortunately, life is not perfect, and bugs tend to appear when developing software. Finding bugs is about creating tests that are conducted through several instances of the development stages. That way, when the final product is ready, you will have an error-free application.

If a developer says that finding and testing bugs is not his strength, that is a red flag. They should be able to explain to you their process and why testing and finding bugs is important. Remember that every developer has their own process. Many alternatives are great answers, which is why when interviewing, you need to make sure you know about software development and what they are talking about. 

3. What programming languages do you use the most?

When you’re looking to hire a software developer, one of the first things you need to make sure is that they have a good proficiency and solid programming knowledge.

Some programming languages are more important than others, depending on what your company and your team is working on. For instance, for web development, programmers must be proficient in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

GitHub released in 2020 the list of the 10 most popular programming language used by developers worldwide:

  1. JavaScript
  2. Python
  3. Java
  4. TypeScript
  5. C#
  6. PHP
  7. C++
  8. C
  9. Shell
  10. Ruby 

4. Can you explain what the software development life cycle is and why is it important?

The Software Development Life Cycle is a process that programming teams use to produce high-quality software in a short period of time. It has specific steps to develop, launch, and maintain the software efficiently.

Usually, there are 7 phases in the SDLC: Planning, requirements, design, software development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. However, the phases depend on what type of methodology a team uses. For example, the steps vary depending on if it’s the Waterfall model or the Agile model. 

5. How is your quality control process when developing software? 

When working on a software project, team members must be aware of small details. One tiny error can have a significant impact, so when interviewing candidates, look for the ones that are methodological and care that the final product is flawless.

Ask the candidate about how their quality control process looks and what tools they use to test results and see if they have succeeded. 

6. Do you have any experience working with object-oriented programming (OOP)? 

Object-oriented programming has been a standard convention for more than 20 years. it’s organized around objects rather than actions and data rather than logic. Most software programmers have had to deal with OOP at some point in their careers and there are certain terms they should be able to define, such as:

  • class, object
  • method 
  • virtual method, pure virtual method
  • class/static method
  • static/class initializer
  • constructor
  • destructor/finalizer
  • superclass or base class
  • subclass or derived class

7. What is Big-0 Notation?

Big-O notation describes the performance (or complexity) of an algorithm. It explains how the runtime or space requirement of a function grows as the input grows. For instance, two functions with the same Big-O notation will tend to have an equal growth rate and have the same performance with large inputs. 

8. What was the last time you made a critical decision during a project?

This software developer interview question is especially relevant for senior-level positions. If you want someone with enough expertise in your team, you need to make sure that they have taken charge of projects previously and how they turned out. Here, you’re looking for someone who explains why the decision they took was critical and how they managed it; if they asked for their team’s help or wanted to do everything by themselves. 

9. Explain the concept of [____________] to my 5-year-old son?

When working with a development team, sometimes you’ll need to make decisions that will directly affect the project. 

When you have a technical background this might not be a problem, but if you don’t, you need people in your team who are able to explain to you what is going on. Interview questions such as this one, help you perceive a candidate’s ability not only in how they communicate but how well can they explain to you concepts that tend to be abstract and difficult. 

10.  Tell me about a time you had a disagreement with your team? How did you manage it?

This question helps you understand more the candidate’s personality traits and how they get along with different opinions. Candidates should be specific when developing the answer, explaining to you why the problem happened, what strategies they use to understand the conflict and to solve it. 

Hire the Best Software Developer for Your Project with DistantJob

As you could see, the questions are not specific because it depends on what position you’re hiring for. Generally speaking, these questions can give you a wide panorama of a candidate’s knowledge. A great candidate will be able to answer all these questions without hesitating.

However, certain skills require more detailed questions. If your HR team is filled with recruiters with backgrounds in tech and knows what questions to ask, you have nothing to worry about. But if you struggle to hire the right software developer for your project, then we are your solution.

> Oh, by the way, we’ve put a list of resources on the difference between web development and software development<

As a leading remote recruitment agency, DistantJob is made of IT recruiters with vast knowledge and experience headhunting global talented developers. We don’t care only about technical skills, but we make sure that your next hire will perfectly adapt to your company culture as well.

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Ihor

Ihor

Ihor leads the team at the core of what makes DistantJob successful – our incredible recruitment team! With over 8 years of experience as an IT recruitment professional, Ihor’s experience covers the whole breadth of the staffing and recruitment lifecycle – from sourcing and recruiting top-notch developers himself, to leading teams of recruiters.