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How to use programming questions to test candidates

Most engineers and developers are required to know how to code. Evaluate candidates’ knowledge using coding skills interview questions during the hiring process. For junior positions, ask basic coding interview questions and test candidates theoretical knowledge using simple exercises. For more senior engineering roles, opt for a written assignment, where you can assess how candidates approach coding projects end-to-end.

Asking too many programming technical interview questions can overwhelm candidates. During a programming interview, focus on specific languages that you want to test for, based on your needs. For example, choose between java coding interview questions and python coding interview questions depending on the role you’re hiring for.

For all engineering positions, look for candidates who blend a Computer Science academic background with IT work experience. Keep an eye for candidates who are enthusiastic about coding and can find workarounds to coding issues. Award bonus points to candidates who keep up with the latest developments in coding and technology.

General programming interview questions

  • Describe the process of writing a piece of code from requirements to delivery.
  • Which tools have you used to test your code quality?
  • How can you debug a program while it’s being used?
  • What’s your favorite programming language and why? What features (if any) would you like to add to this language?
  • Where do you place most of your focus when reviewing somebody else’s code?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with the latest technology developments?

Java coding interview questions

  • How are Runtime exceptions different from Checked exceptions?
  • Why use an object Factory and how would you implement the Singleton pattern?
  • Is this possible in Java? “A extends B, C”
  • What is the difference between String, StringBuilder and StringBuffer in Java?

Ruby coding interview questions

  • What is the use of load and require in Ruby?
  • Explain each of the following operators and how and when they should be used: ==, ===, eql?, equal?
  • What is a module? Can you tell me the difference between classes and modules?
  • What are some of your favorite gems?

Python coding interview questions

  • Why are functions considered first class objects in Python?
  • Can you explain circular dependencies in Python and potential ways to avoid them?
  • Give an example of filter and reduce over an iterable object.
  • Can you explain the uses/advantage of a generator?

.NET coding interview questions

  • What is the WebSecurity class in .NET? What is its use?
  • In .NET, attributes are a method of associating declarative information with C# code. Please describe the way they are used and a proper use case.
  • Which is the best way to pass configuration variables to ASP.NET applications?
  • Is it possible in .NET to extend a class (any class) with some extra methods? If yes, how can it be accomplished?

PHP coding interview questions

  • If you need to generate random numbers in PHP, what method would you follow?
  • What’s the difference between the include() and require() functions?
  • Explain how you develop and integrate plugins for PHP frameworks, like Laravel and Yii.
  • How can you get web browser’s details using PHP?

HTML/CSS coding interview questions

  • Can you describe the difference between inline elements and block elements?
  • Why is it generally a good idea to position CSS <link>s between <head></head> and JS <script>s just before </body>? Do you know any exceptions?
  • Can you describe how padding and margin differ?
  • How is responsive design different from adaptive design?

JQuery interview questions

  • How would you delete cookies in JQuery?
  • What are the basic JQuery selectors and how do you use them?
  • Is there a difference between jquery.size() and jquery.length?
  • What are the advantages of JQuery?

JavaScript interview questions

  • Which are the different types of variables?
  • What is the pop()method in JavaScript?
  • What’s a “closure” in JavaScript?
  • Can you explain how you would clone an object?

Looking for more questions to ask your candidates in an interview?

Find inspiration in our list of interview questions and job descriptions templates can help you improve your quality of new hires.

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