Interview tips: 7 questions & answers for software developers

Interviewing for a software developer role. It’s not easy – interviewing is an art. And a tough one at that! But we’re here to help.

This blog will help you to tackle some of questions you might be asked during a software developer interview, and give that golden answer to help you secure your next role.

Interviews have evolved. Employers now place equal emphasis on technical and soft skills, you need to be able to showcase both to land the very best software developer jobs in the industry. And it’s not only what employers are looking for that’s changed. Interviews are now multiple stages, and more often than not include an element of practical tests or projects.

Your performance at interview is going to be critical to help you leverage your career progression within software development, and your all-important salary level.

Why are you interested in our software developer position at X?

What are they looking for?

  • An understanding of, and passion for their product or service
  • A knowledge of their company and values
  • Enthusiasm and love for your role

How to showcase it:

  • Talk about why their product or service is important to you personally. What is it about what they do that excites you?
  • Highlight what you know about their company, and that appeals to you as a potential employee.
  • Do you code in your spare time? Are you involved in any personal projects that you’re excited about? Sharing these will highlight your passion for your role, and your interest in self-development.

What are your weaknesses?

What are they looking for?

  • Your ability to self asses and your understanding of skills or attributes that you need to improve.
  • Demonstration of a plan to overcome weaknesses
  • Preparation ahead of the interview – don’t be that person who believes they have no weaknesses.

How to showcase it?

  • Identify your weakness, but be sure to explain how you’re going to tackle it head on to enhance that skill or turn that weakness into an asset. The key is that you’ve thought about how to overcome it and develop yourself.
  • It your weakness is a technical skillset, use GitHub projects to demonstrate your willingness to learn. Describe clear take-always from that learning experience, as well as your plan for continued personal development.

Can you describe the software development process?

What are they looking for?

  • A crystal-clear answer with non-technical jargon.  
  • Demonstration of excellent communication and language skills as well as a technical brain: how clearly can you relay the process step by step?

How to showcase it?

  • Practice this on a non-technical friend and ask them to relay the process back to you to demonstrate whether they have understood the process. 
  • A concise and well-structured answer. Use as few words as possible to effectively make each point.
  • This is an insight into how you think. Be sure to keep it simple, clear and well organised.

What programming languages do you like using?

What are they looking for?

  • An understanding of the breadth of programming languages you’re familiar with.
  • A clear rationale behind your preference of language.
  • Areas for future development.

How to showcase it?

  • Showcase the range of languages you have experience in, your preferences within those languages and why.
  • Highlight your preferred language and why – explain the pros and cons of your preferred language.
  • Research into the company you’re interviewing at to see which languages they use and match these up to your current skillset or areas for personal development.
  • Explain which languages you’d like to explore in the future and why.

What projects have you previously worked on?

What are they looking for?

  • Breadth of experience.
  • Range of technologies and methodologies.
  • Demonstrations of soft skills, especially during projects featuring team work.
  • Problem solving using critical thinking.
  • Risk taking abilities.

How to showcase it?

  • Choose 2-3 examples of previous projects, making sure you can explain the overall experience, focusing on your specific contributions rather than the overall team.
  • Demonstrating your soft skills; how well do you work as a team? 
  • Use ‘STAR’ framework to help you answer the question succinctly:

S: Situation Describe the situation that you were in or the task you wanted to accomplish.

T: Task What was the goal you were working towards?

A: Action Describe the actions you took to address the situation, the specific steps you took and your contribution.

R: Result Describe the outcome and what actions have come as a direct result of your behaviour. Also think about what you learned, what was accomplished and include positive results.

What do you look out for when reviewing someone else’s code?

What are they looking for?

  • Clear answer so that your attention to detail can be assessed.
  • The interviewer will specifically be looking for your attention to detail and how organised you are overall.

How to showcase it?

  • Make sure you give reasoning behind each and every statement, avoid just listing off.

Can you complete this programming challenge?

What are they looking for?

  • To assess how well you can cope under stress
  • Your technical ability
  • Thinking on your feet

How to showcase it?

  • You’ll need to demonstrate problem solving skills and a cool head at the same time.
  • Ask questions to ensure you fully understand the task and the criteria before you start.
  • Be able to articulate how you approached the task and explain the methodology you adopted.

If you’re applying for a software developer role, and you’d like more help with interview preparation here are some useful resources we’ve found:

More resources:

Our blogs below will also help you hone you interviewing ability and differentiate yourself in the competitive software development industry: soft skills needed for success in the tech industry and is it time to digitalise your CV?

If you’re ready to take the first step into your next career, we have expert consultants who have placed many roles within this field. If you would like more information or advice, give us a call on 0117 4280600.

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