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What questions should I ask during a Software Engineer Interview?

Hello there! It looks like you’re on the hunt for some guidance on conducting interviews for software engineers. Nailing down the right questions is critical to making the right hire. So, let’s dive right in and tackle this head-on.

Short Answer

In an interview with a software engineer, your questions should be designed to delve into their technical competency, problem-solving abilities, teamwork, and communication skills, and how they approach the actual work they’ll be doing.

It’s also important to probe their understanding and previous use of specific programming languages, frameworks, and technological tools relevant to your startup.

Understanding Technical Skills

The basis of any software engineer interview should be to understand the candidate’s technical skills.

It’s essential to ask them about their work experience with various software development methodologies, the programming languages they are proficient with, and their experience with databases and server setup.

For instance, you could ask: “Could you describe a challenge you faced while working with [specific language] and how you overcame it?” or “In terms of performance optimization, how do you ensure your code is efficient?

Problem-Solving Capabilities

Problem-solving abilities are at the heart of software development. As such, it’s essential to ask engineers questions that will shed light on how they approach problems.

Presenting a hypothetical situation relevant to their role at your start-up and asking them how to resolve it can reveal a lot about their problem-solving skills.

You might say, “Imagine one of our apps has performance issues that aren’t immediately identifiable. What would be your approach to identify and solve the problem?

Teamwork and Communication

Software development is often a team effort, and communication is crucial. Ask questions about how they’ve collaborated and communicated with team members and how they handle disagreements or different approaches to solving problems.

Example questions include, “Can you share an instance where you’ve had to compromise or adapt to accommodate a team member’s approach to a project?” and “How do you usually handle situations where you believe strongly in your solution but the team opts for another option?

Understanding the Role and its Relevance

Finally, it’s important to ensure that the candidate fully understands their role and its significance to the organization.

Ask questions like: “How do you believe your role impacts the overall objectives of a company?” or “What motivates you in your work as a software engineer?

Practical Steps for Conducting the Interview

Remember to set a friendly but professional tone for the interview. Make it conversational – let the candidate explain their thought processes and reasoning.

Be open to having a meaningful dialogue about their solutions rather than merely looking for ‘correct’ answers. Everyone has unique perspectives to bring to the table!

You can find more detailed information on how to conduct these interviews, and even find templates, in my previous article about “How to Hire Software Engineers for Your Startup“. I absolutely recommend checking it out for a deeper dive into the topic!


In conclusion, when interviewing software engineers, focus on their technical competency, problem-solving abilities, teamwork and communication skills, and understanding of their role’s relevance to your company.

The goal isn’t to trick or stump your potential new team members but to understand their abilities, approach to challenges, and how they can better fit into your team.


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