Questions for a phone interview in software engineering (With Example Answers)
Employers can get to know potential candidates and learn more about them through phone interviews before they invite them to a formal interview. If you just applied for a job as a software engineer, your potential employer may want to talk to you over the phone before setting up a face-to-face meeting. Also, there are many ways to get ready for a phone interview, such as thinking about the questions you might be asked and practicing your answers ahead of time. In this article, we’ll look at some common software engineering phone interview questions and how to answer them.
At the start of your phone interview, the interviewer will probably ask you a few simple questions to find out more about you. Keep your answers short and to the point during a phone screening so the interviewer can hear you well.
- Tell me a little about yourself, please.
- What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
- How did you find out about our business?
- About our company, what do you know?
- What do you know about the software that our business makes?
- What do you do right now?
- What kinds of tasks do you usually do in your current job?
- What is one professional goal you are working to reach right now?
- What are your strengths that you think will help you do well in this job?
- Do you want to ask anything about the job?
Questions about past work and history
You can also expect to talk about your professional background and experience, in addition to general conversation starters. Here are some questions the interviewer might ask about your past:
- What about computer science and software engineering is most interesting to you?
- Tell me about your schooling and training.
- Tell me about what you know. Do you have any certifications or licenses for your work?
- How do you keep up with new ideas and trends in your field?
- How did your work help your old company reach its goals?
- How much do you know about SQL?
- What software engineering and development books, magazines, or other materials have you read that you would recommend to others in the field?
- How would you use your skills if you worked for a new company?
- How much do you know about using the Agile process to make software?
- In your past projects, what parts of the code and functions were you in charge of designing?
When you answer detailed questions, the interviewer will be able to see how skilled, knowledgeable, and skilled you are. Here are some in-depth interview questions you might be asked for a job in software engineering:
- Explain how re-engineering is different from reverse-engineering.
- Can you talk about how you’ve used multiple threads?
- Can you give me an example of how you might design an app to predict how people will use it?
- What do you think the user experience has to do with how software is made?
- Explain what object-oriented programming is and how it works.
- Can you explain what the most important parts of a binary search tree are?
- How do you make sure that the code you write for software design can deal with different kinds of errors?
- Would it be better to protect access to increment operations with a mutex or a semaphore? Why?
- Assuming that retrieval is not a problem, what kind of data structure would be best for holding any number of items?
- What’s the biggest development project you’ve ever been a part of? What part did you play? Did you run into any trouble?
Questions and answers for a phone interview in software engineering
The following software engineering phone interview questions can help you prepare your answers ahead of time so you have the best chance of passing your phone screening:
1. What are some common data structures and the rules that govern how they work?
During your phone screen, the interviewer may ask you this question to find out how well you know the basics of programming. Use your answer to show how well you know and understand the basic data structures that are the foundation of design.
Example: “I know how to program and design with quite a few of the most common structures. However, arrays, linked lists, and stacks are the simplest structures you’ll find in many applications. Arrays are the building blocks for other structures like heaps and hash tables. Sorting algorithms like insertion and merging work well with arrays. Linked lists are good for switching between programs, and stacks are good for parsing and programming recursion.”
2. What options do you consider for implementing priority queues?
This question gives the interviewer an idea of how you put together the right programming to make priority queues. Use examples from your own life or show how you would do something. Here’s what I mean:
“The first thing I’d look at is the kinds of things I’m putting first in a system. For example, if I were setting up a FIFO system to instead serve loyal customers first based on what they’ve bought in the past, I would use either a list or a heap code to make things easy to find. It depends a lot on what’s in the priority queue.”
3. What do you think about unit tests?
The interviewer may ask you about unit testing to find out how many mistakes you make when you code. Use your answer to show how unit testing fits into the way you build things. Here’s an example of how to answer:
Example: “I use unit testing after I add new code to an application or framework. This ensures that each time I change or add new code there are no bugs or adverse effects on the functionality and usability of the program. While unit testing is highly important for backchecking coding processes, I very rarely have to implement it after I’ve finished a development project.”
4. With what programming languages are you most unfamiliar? What do you plan to do to improve?
The interviewer will likely ask about the coding languages you’re familiar with, however, they may also ask about the programming languages you feel you could improve in. Use your answer to describe what you’re doing to become more proficient in one of these coding languages.
Example: “I have a passing knowledge of Ocaml and Perl, however, my knowledge and proficiency with SQL have helped me learn some of the concepts with these two languages. I’ve completed one development project using Ocaml, and I am currently developing my knowledge of Perl with more practice. I’m confident that with practice and applying what I learn, I’ll be proficient with these pretty quickly.”
5. What steps do you take to find bugs in an application?
This question helps the interviewer evaluate your problem-solving abilities and analytical skills in checking the quality of the programs you develop. Use your answer to give examples of how you do this as part of your development process.
Example: “My first step is to understand the whole module before running test cases then I’ll prepare my test cases by creating sufficient test data, including test conditions and database records. Then I perform testing in different test environments to find a pattern. I then compare these patterns with previous test cases, which shows me any errors in code that I need to fix.”