Hiring Dedicated Developers: Key 10 Questions to Ask During Interviews

According to the latest report by Evans Data Corporation, there are 26.9 million software developers worldwide, which is expected to grow to 28.7 million in 2024.  

In such an extended talent pool, finding and hiring top developers is one of your biggest challenges. For example, 75% of professionals face difficulty getting top talent in the US. 

These ten questions can help you to find a perfect match for your project needs and company culture. Rather than asking random general questions, gather insights into a candidate’s qualifications, experience, and soft skills.

Pay attention: this article does not contain any technical questions. Since each tech stack has its own peculiarities, we recommend inviting technical experts to the interview.

What does a typical day or week look like for you?

This question is an excellent way to find out their work habits, how they structure their time, prioritize tasks, or handle interruptions. The answer will tell you if candidates focus on coding, testing, collaborating with others, participating in design discussions, or doing any business analysis. 

Do not limit the candidate with time frames, but encourage them to cover their key daily activities. You don’t need to know every particular detail of their day, but to understand the workflow and style of work.

Here, they may mention typical development and task management tools they use. 

What do you enjoy most and least about your job?

The things candidates genuinely enjoy say a lot about their motivations. You can use this data to prevent burnout and encourage creativity in future cooperation. 

The least enjoyable parts of the job usually indicate potential weaknesses that may need extra support. Nevertheless, don’t consider this a drawback but an opportunity for growth. 

As a company with a versatile range of experts, you can offer assistance there and present it as an enticing benefit of collaboration.

By asking this question, you identify a candidate who can objectively critique their own work and tends to be practical when taking on new responsibilities. 

How do you approach learning a new language or framework?

Developers often have to learn new technology required for successful work quickly. This question provides a clear vision of learning style and adaptability and whether they tend to thrive in a dynamic work environment.

A consistent learner will give you a clear plan with adequate estimation of time and effort. Remember, discipline and persistence win natural talent. The structured response often indicates a person who requires minimum assistance or mentorship that reduces expenses on training.

Continue with questions like “How do you maintain your skills up-to-date?” You shouldn’t expect to hear about participation in conferences or taking additional courses. Get rid of these unrealistic expectations. 

Most developers prefer YouTube videos, reading news and articles on popular websites like HackerNoon or Medium, receiving newsletters about their tech stack updates, knowledge sharing, or even reading books on programming. The more educational resources you hear, the better awareness of modern trends your employee has. 

What is a failure for you? 

Tell us about your failure: what happened, why did something go wrong, how did you solve the problem?

This question is a key one for problem-solving skills estimation. The candidate who can overcome setbacks without unnecessary drama will become a valuable team member who will keep the atmosphere healthy. 

Also, admitting to missteps requires honesty and humility. Responses shed light on a person’s character and credibility when things don’t go as planned. Sometimes, the answer may touch on aspects like how they cope with the embarrassment of asking for help or open-mindedness to the solutions suggested by colleagues. 

At this point, encourage unfolding the topic to estimate problem-solving skills more precisely and find steadfast persistence. Add questions like “What do you do when you get stuck on a problem?” Here, you can find out how their creative process goes and how much time readjustment takes. Some candidates share valuable insights that you can use for facilitating your own problem-solving process. 

How do you handle vagueness or missing specifications in requirements?

The task is not always as clear as we want it to be. How will your future employees cope with it?

Here, it would be best to look for proactivity and readiness to ask for additional clarifications without time-consuming hesitations caused by shyness or embarrassment. Or maybe they prefer to make logical assumptions?

Agility and adaptivity are also significant characteristics that this question can uncover, as well as critical thinking. Candidates can tell about previous puzzled-out solutions to show analytic capabilities to piece together logic from hints alone. 

Additionally, ask about the ways of taking clarifications they consider the most effective: some prefer one-to-one calls, some emails, or even Google forms. This way, you will better understand the communication style of the future team member.

What would make you quit after a month of work?

This question aims to identify potential retention risks and can help you address these issues proactively. For example, suppose a candidate mentions that they would quit due to a lack of opportunities for growth and development. In that case, you can provide training, mentorship, or promotional opportunities to address this concern.

Also, it reveals work preferences regarding workload, milestones, and priorities. Sometimes, candidates mention extreme situations like harassment or discrimination, demonstrating realistic dependability on management and the team. Vague or lofty responses signal a job-hopper who doesn’t know what they want.

You shouldn’t assume that the mentioned situations have ever happened to them, but awareness of deal-breakers will help to reduce turnover.

In which environment do you work more productively? And which is destructive and toxic for you?

A healthy work environment = enhanced employee productivity. 

For most people, remote work causes feelings of isolation and, consequently, burnout. If your candidate prefers quiet offices, collaborative spaces, or outdoor areas, suggest covering expenses on coworking as an encouraging factor for collaboration.

Nevertheless, the work environment is not only about the workplace but also the atmosphere inside the company and team. Clarify what behavior they consider toxic and disturbing. Try to assure them that you have a precise mechanism for solving conflicts in your company, and they will not face mentioned issues when working with you. 

Also, candidates are not prone to show mentioned behavior towards their colleagues as it makes a new employee uncomfortable too. This way, you will find someone who values company culture and the comfort of team members.

Continue the topic with questions like “How do you prefer to work – independently or in a team?” so you will find out how to build the future work process. Even if the candidate prefers individual work, do not isolate them completely. 

What question would you like me to ask, and how would you answer it?

Allow the candidate to show their achievements and tell about the moments they are the most proud of. It shows their understanding of their strengths and experiences and highlights what encourages their creativity as well as what they’re passionate about in their work. 

Pay attention to the first reaction, as this question is the one that confuses the candidates, who heavily rely only on memorizing standard responses.

Please tell me where you plan to go in terms of your career.

Do not ask this basic question: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” You will find out about dreams rather than plans. Instead, encourage your potential employee to describe a step-by-step plan of self-realization. 

This way, you will understand which opportunities as an employer you can suggest and how you can facilitate the growth.

What is your superpower?

Let’s finish with a pinch of creativity. Not only superheroes have superpowers. Find out about your future employee’s most prominent strength or even hidden talent in a tricky way. 

Final thought

Poor matches cause devastating problems, so take your time conducting thoughtful interviews. Use creative, open questions to find out the pitfalls of future collaboration. 

These questions may guide you in selecting candidates to help take your company to the next level. Fortunately, our experienced recruitment team perfectly knows how to distinguish the right employee from superficial experts. Contact us, and we will help!

Lengin Team
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Lengin Team,

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