Tips to Nail a Software Engineering Interview

Passion is Everything

Passion is a sure way of differentiating yourself from competition

Hiring managers that are interviewing a junior software developer won’t typically expect the candidate to be a fully functional self sufficient member of the team that’ll take their project from A-Z. If they do, consider going for a jog right then and there. ?‍♂️

The HMs usually look at a few things and passion happens to be the first thing people tend to notice. This passion translates into everything you do and it’ll show. Your desire to learn will show. Your GitHub account will speak for itself. Even your resume will be properly tailored to display your eagerness to learn and tackle programming challenges!

Having personal projects you work on OR open source projects you contribute to will definitely differentiate you from your peers with the same amount of experience.

Be ready to discuss things you’re currently working on and things you’re currently learning. Elaborate on things you like, things you don’t like etc.

Communication & Cultural Fit

Tip the scales in your favour

Communication is one of those things that WILL tip the scale in your favour if it ever comes down to picking between two candidates with a similar level of technical skill. In a lot of cases, effective communication is often interpreted as good cultural fit which is paramount in any team size.

Also, make sure you actually select the right type of enterprise that aligns with your career goals and aspirations, the process will be smoother when there’s a mutual fit.

effective communication is often interpreted as good cultural fit

Interview experience standards are usually lower for junior devs so it’s OK to take your time to think before answering questions. If it’s a technical question, try ‘thinking out loud’ if you’re comfortable with it, otherwise, just take your time. It’s also OK to sometimes break eye-contact as it’s understandable that you’re nervous, especially if you really want the gig.

Keep in mind that the ‘nervous communication flaws’ are easily distinguishable from ‘lack of communication skills’.

Be vulnerable & honest

When in doubt, say the truth

An honest & vulnerable junior dev with a lower skill level will always be ahead of the cocky junior dev that’s a bit more experienced. The latter kind will often times be too confident to second-guess their ways which isn’t what you want from a Jr software engineer. When hiring a junior developer hiring managers will almost solely be looking at personality and betting on the candidate’s trainability.

If you’re not sure about something, say so. If it’s something you’ve never heard of – say so! In some interviews, the technical interviewer will ask you questions that get progressively harder and harder. It’s an interview where you’re meant to fail at some point, where this point of failure occurs will determine your fit for the role.

Your thought process

Mindset is absolutely everything

Something else the interviewer will be looking at is how you tackle problems and difficulties. In other words, mindset.

  • Do you break the problem into smaller parts?
  • Do you have the ability to visualize the big picture?
  • Can you foresee potential problems? (Ex: edge cases, scalability, etc.)
  • How do you go about prioritizing? This is a big one by the way

Mindset gauging can be done through technical or non-technical questions. The approach of the candidate will usually be consistent when tackling both types of problems.

Your answers will also determine your level of communication skill as explaining thought process is something you’ll have to do with your future team mates and team lead.

Ask the right questions

Ask ALL of them, you’ll probably ask the right ones along the way

It happens that asking the right question is one of the basic sales principles!

The questions you ask speak loads about how well you understand the company’s challenges, the industry, technology constraints, the job position you’re interviewing for, portray your interest in joining the team and much much more.

Brainstorm some relevant questions the evening before your interview, make sure they’re questions you actually care about as non-genuine interest is always easy to spot. Genuine curiosity is contagious, this will take you a long way.

As a reference, here’s a list of questions you can ask when interviewing for a software engineer position.

make sure they’re questions you actually care about as non-genuine interest is always easy to spot. Genuine curiosity is contagious.

We’re currently working on a complete list of interview questions you can ask as a developer, if there are some questions that worked well for you in uncovering relevant information about an opening, please share them at

Good luck!!!

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