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Best questions to ask in a software engineering job interview

Hi, I’m Brian, a former senior software engineer and now software engineering advisor at Pathrise. I work with hundreds of software engineers to help them land their dream job.

A lot of preparation goes into answering questions, both technical and behavioral, accurately in your software engineering job interviews. You practice on Leetcode and memorize your elevator pitch, all so that you can respond with confidence when you get into the room with the interviewer.

But what happens when you get towards the end of the interview and they ask if you have any questions for them. A lot of people freeze because they forget to plan for this section. This is a great opportunity squandered, because asking good questions can often give you the final push when it comes to interviewer feedback.

As a senior software engineer and now advisor, I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates throughout my career. If they ask good questions, I would mark that in my notes and so would the rest of the interviewers. We would take these questions into account when determining if they would accept and remain interested in the role in the long term. These questions affect the decision to move forward and/or extend an offer.

So, we’ve come up with the 10 best questions for software engineers to ask in their interviews to ensure they show interest.

  1. What are your current challenges on the team?
  2. How can I, in the role that I’m interviewing for, best contribute to solving these challenges?
  3. What opportunities will I have to learn new languages or technologies, related to the work that you are doing here?
  4. Is the engineering department more team-based or autonomous?
  5. How much guidance can I expect from my supervisor and how much ownership can I expect for my projects?
  6. What are your favorite aspects of working at [company]?
  7. What is the most difficult part of your day at [company]?
  8. How can my work directly affect the company’s mission of [company mission]?
  9. I read that [recent update about company]. How does that affect [the mission, the work of the engineering team, etc]?
  10. If I were to start on the engineering team tomorrow, what would my first task be?

Coming in with prepared questions will lessen your stress when you get to the end of the interview and ensure that you leave the interviewer with a positive impression of your interest in the company and role. Questions that show your willingness to learn, drive to work hard, and excitement about the company and mission are all really helpful for the interviewers to gauge your fit as part of the culture.

Pathrise is a career accelerator that works with students and young professionals 1-on-1 so they can land their dream job in tech. With these tips and guidance, we’ve seen interview performance scores double for fellows in the program.

If you want to work with any of our advisors 1-on-1 to get help with your software engineer interviews or with any other aspect of the job search, become a Pathrise fellow.

Apply today.

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