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When you're interviewing a senior software developer, the last thing you want to do is waste their time - and your own. You need to ask questions that will help you gauge their experience and skills in that role as quickly as possible. Here are some questions that you should stop asking, and some that you should start asking instead.
Ask: What's the most challenging problem you solved using that language?
Instead of: What programming languages are you experienced with?
This is a question that can be easily found on a resume. Instead, ask them about the most challenging problem they solved using that language. Or, if they're comfortable, invite them to write a short code sample on the spot.
Ask: How do you keep up with new trends and technologies?
Instead of: What technology stack do you use?
Again, this is something that you can find out from their resume. Instead, ask them about how they keep up with new trends and technologies. What sources do they use? How do they decide whether or not to adopt a new technology for their projects?
Ask: Tell me a time when you encountered a difficult problem and how you solved it.
Instead of: What was your biggest project?
Yup, you guessed it. This information is probably on their resume too. Instead, try to get a sense of their process by asking them about a time when they encountered a complex problem. How did they go about solving it? What was the outcome?
By asking these types of questions, you'll get a much better sense of whether or not a candidate is truly qualified for the role. And you'll be able to do it in a fraction of the time.
Here are additional pointers to check a developer's depth of knowledge:
Tech Stack: The technology stack that they are comfortable working with says a lot about their level of experience. If they are constantly having to look up how to do things, then they may not be as experienced as you need them to be. However, if they are able to work with different technologies and adapt to new ones quickly, then they are probably a senior software developer.
How They Keep Up With New Trends: This is important because it shows that they are willing to learn new things and keep up with the latest trends. It's also a good indicator of their experience level. If they are constantly having to look up how to do things, then they may not be as experienced as you need them to be. However, if they are able to work with different technologies and adapt to new ones quickly, then they are probably a senior software developer.
These questions will help you gauge their experience and skills in that role as quickly as possible. Asking about the technology stack or what programming languages they are experienced with will not give you the information you need to make a hiring decision. Save yourself some time and ask better questions. Do you have any other advice for interviewing senior software developers? Let us know in the comments!