Before any interview preparation is key, not only for the candidate but for the employer also. When it comes to hiring for a Junior Backend Developer, there are a multitude of aspects to take into consideration, such as their level of knowledge and experience, but ultimately the right candidate will need to stand out and impress. To assess the best fit for any role it’s imperative to ask the right interview questions.

Take a look at these five interview questions for a Backend Developer ⬇️

Describe your technical training

Technical Training teaches the relevant skills required to design, develop, implement, maintain, support or operate a particular technology or related application, product or service.

  • Why does this matter?

The level of training each candidate has undergone will vary, therefore it’s a good starting point to note what level of training you are looking for within the job description, as every job will require a different skill set. Most companies are now able to offer on-the-job training, however, a candidate who possesses a base level of knowledge is always an advantage.

  • What to listen out for?

A candidate may be able to demonstrate how they have worked as part of a team, or have shadowed a more experienced developer in order to learn certain programming languages/skills. The candidate may also be able to show how they are proactive, and utilise coding boot camps, for example, to enhance their knowledge.

What programming languages are you familiar with?

There are a plethora of programming languages out there, however not every developer chooses to learn the same languages. A developer will build their knowledge base and experience as their time within the field increases.

  • Why does this matter?

The combination of programming languages that each developer works with will range significantly. The combination is also dependent on the way in which the developer has gained their experience, whether that be through a coding boot camp or via an educational route. The main determiner with this question is which languages are most suitable for the advertising role. The job description should clearly highlight a company’s tech stack and either the required or desired skill set.

  • What to listen out for?

How did the candidate acquire their programming languages? If they are a self-taught developer then this also highlights their ability to be proactive. Most importantly, if the hiring position is for a Junior Backend Developer, then a candidate should have a base level of knowledge or experience with the likes of Javascript, PHP and Python, for example.

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest backend trends?

It’s inevitable that technology will progress and evolve and trends will continue to change. Therefore it’s always beneficial to be up to date with the latest trends in order to be able to understand what’s going on, as well as how to approach different tasks.

  • Why does this matter?

As software development is such a dynamic industry, a candidate who is aware of the latest trends, and continuously keeps up to date with trends within their chosen sector, will more often than not be able to bring fresh approaches to the team. This not only shows that they are passionate but it highlights their willingness to continue to learn and develop.

  • What to listen out for?

As well as being dynamic, software developers are within a competitive market. It has been proven that developers who stay up to date regularly with current trends feel less burnout than those that do not. So, do they read forums and blogs? Do they learn from other developers on social media? Whichever way the candidate progresses their knowledge, in regards to the latest trends, the main aspect to take away is their passion for the subject!

What aspects of software development do you find most challenging?

There are many challenges that can be faced when it comes to software development and there is no set answer for this question, as it is a responsive question and reflects both the hard and soft skills of the candidate.

  • Why does this matter?

Most, if not all, developers will experience bugs or have technical issues throughout their career journey, as technology is rapidly evolving. It’s also uncommon that a developer will know the answers to absolutely everything, therefore there will be bumps in the road and obstacles to face when a backend developer is carrying out and performing specific tasks. But, it is the way in which they deal with those problems and respond to such obstacles that will make them stand out.

  • What to listen out for?

Within any role, it may not be a technical skill that creates a challenge but rather an individual’s personality trait. This question can highlight and hone in on an individual’s hard and soft skills. The candidate should be prompted to provide examples of how they have responded to certain challenges, this way the interviewer can gain a better understanding of how they react and respond to situations. Are they key team players? Do they use their own initiative? Are they able to prioritise their workloads efficiently?

What steps have you taken in the past six months to develop your skills?

There is no end to learning when it comes to software development. Everyone will progress and develop their knowledge in different ways, as even their initial skill set will differ. However, the way in which they choose to develop, both personally and professionally, can reveal a lot about their hard and soft skills too.

  • Why does this matter?

Most candidates will outline their skills when applying, via their CV, although these may be the very basic skills that they possess. During an interview, it is important to assess their wider skill set to assess how they will fit into the company (most importantly how well they match with the culture and values).

  • What to listen out for?

There’s no wrong answer. The more suited responses may highlight traits in a candidate like leadership, growth, or passion. Especially for a junior position, the candidate may be lacking in certain skills therefore responses that align with a company’s values will ultimately identify the ideal candidate for the position. But, ensure that the response doesn’t feel forced or false - honest candidates will stand out. Any skills that the candidate has outlined should be backed with examples, take this opportunity to allow them to fully demonstrate their skill set and shine!

The hiring process can be made more efficient and feel less of a chore if you know the best types of questions to ask a backend developer during an interview. Not only will you reveal the most suitable candidates, but those that are a great cultural fit too!

Haystack is a careers and insights marketplace that matches techies to roles based on their interests and tech stack. Discover how you can uncover top techies and meet your hiring needs with Haystack.

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