pre-screen questions for Software Engineers

Does anyone have good recommendations of sites, sources, or examples of challenging pre-screening questions to evaluate mid-senior level software engineers?

Views: 1007

Comment by Martina on January 9, 2009 at 6:40pm
Hi Lindsey,
it depends what you need to find out in pre-sreening stage and how qualified people you need :-) If you gave me more detailed information I wil be pleased to share my experience with you.
Comment by Lindsey Ahern on January 12, 2009 at 10:37am

Thanks for reaching out to me. Most of the software engineers that we are looking to hire are at the senior level (8-10 years of engineering experience in software product development). They need a BS in CS or CE, strong C++programming skills, object oriented software design methods (OOAD) and Design Patterns, Experience with configuration managment, Windows and Linux software development. Also, experience with VxWorks, Doxygen, Unified Modeling Language (UML), Matlab/mex, Extended Markup Language (XML) would be a huge plus.

Any suggestions?
Comment by Martina on January 12, 2009 at 3:38pm
Hi Lindsey,
I have to admit, I have not been recruiting for such roles. Nevertheless, I am recruiting for technically specific roles in automation industry, which is pretty much related to IT. So this is my piece of advise based on my experience. I might be wrong, but it works for me.

As many recruiters do, I use cometency based interview for such senior technical positions. For a little "warm up" I ask candidates for a brief career overview: naming and explaining milestones (promotions and changing jobs). Taking notes during this part of interview helps me to challenge candidates later as they sometimes talk contrary facts thay had stated 15 minutes earlier.
Secondly I explore for what kind of customers they have been working and I ask them what particulral projects they worked on: length, superiority/ subordinance, number of people in the team, number of people in the same role, responsibility scope. With the last topic one has to be careful to make sure that the candidate talks about his/ her own responsibilities not about responsibilities of the whole team, which for many candidates is a very popular way how to disguise lack of experience. Whenever they mention some technical expression I ask them for non-technical explanation and their opinion about particlral tool (if applicable). I certainly question them about technical training and certificates -when and how they obtained it. Last but not least I discuss with them their motivation to cotinue working and develop themselves in this particulral technical area.

We all know that asking the right questions is just half of the magic. Listening and correct interpretting of answers (including body language in case of a personal interview) as well as solid technical overview is as elementary.

I hope any of these tips are of any use to you and I wish you all success,


I hope


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