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Behavioral Interview Questions for Software Developers

Posted on 
April 23, 2021
Abhishek Som

Behavioral interviews are a crucial part of the FAANG interview process. Developers applying to positions across the board - from junior to managerial - go through a mandatory behavioral round where hiring managers seek to evaluate their mental balance, specific behavioral traits, interests, and characteristics of their personality in general. 

Preparing oneself for behavioral interviews is extremely important, especially given that a lot of experienced and accomplished programmers often fall short in this round. Recruiters at Google, Facebook, and other tier-1 companies often ask tricky and challenging questions to see how candidates respond to situations involving team collaboration, work-life balance, relationships with coworkers, and dealing with clients, among other aspects. 

If your next interview is just around the corner, this article will give you a good idea of what to expect at behavioral interviews in FAANG and tier-1 companies.  

Why do employers ask behavioral questions?

Employers ask behavioral questions to get a fair idea of how you’d react and conduct yourself in workplace-related situations. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon particularly look for candidates who display the right attitude and spirit while answering questions.

The bottomline is that you can’t lock an offer from a big tech company if you’re smart alone. Having the right behavioral attributes and acing the behavioral interview are equally important prerequisites

Behavioral Interview Questions for software developers

Questions on teamwork and collaboration

Teamwork is an integral part of the developer journey. Hiring managers at FAANG essentially ask behavioral questions around collaboration and teamwork to see if you are a spirited team player and willing to collaborate with fellow employees regardless of any underlying differences. Companies like Google run an elaborate team-matching exercise to bring people of similar interests together. 

Here are some questions on teamwork and collaboration with colleagues/team members.

  • Have you been in a conflict with a fellow coworker? How did you deal with it and what was the end result? 
  • How would you positively impact the team you’re going to be working with?
  • What is your view of team building exercises? Do you think they’re worth the effort and time? What are some things out of the ordinary that you’d like to see being included in a team-building exercise?
  • Have you worked with a particularly uncooperative colleague in the past? How important was this worker? Did the project suffer? How did you go about working with him/her?
  • How do you go about building relationships at your workplace? Are you an approachable person in general?
  • While in a leadership/managerial position, how did you go about resolving a tiff between two members in your team? - 
  • Has your team fallen short while delivering an important project? If yes, how did you deal with it?
  • Have you been in a situation where a team member was lax and shoddy? Did it impact project deliverables? How did you approach the situation?
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Questions on work-life balance

Balancing one’s work and life is crucial to mental health and productivity. Striking the right  work-life balance can bring about a host of benefits ranging from composure and calmness to sharpness and improved decision-making. Below are some popular behavioral questions around work-life balance:

  • What according to you is the ideal way to maintain a good work-life balance?
  • Have you been stressed over a certain project delivery in the past? Did it affect your work-life balance? How did you deal with it?
  • What is your view of vacations and their impact in helping build a good work-life balance?
  • Do you indulge in any sport or fitness activity? Have you in the past? What is your view of their impact in ensuring a good work-life balance?
  • How do you go about managing boredom and monotony at work? 
  • What are your thoughts about mental health? How important do you think it is in influencing work productivity and balance in life?

Questions around dealing with clients

Client-facing roles require sound communication skills, composure, and the ability to drive client engagement. At FAANG companies, it is usually senior developer roles that involve understanding, planning, and executing client requirements.

Here are some questions around client-facing that you can expect to be asked at behavioral interviews: 

  • Have you worked with a difficult client in the past? How did you navigate challenges and go about delivering?
  • Tell us about a time when you convinced a client to chart a different course for a project.
  • Have you been in a situation where you were unsure about how to proceed with a client project? How did you go about planning the next steps?

Questions on relationships with managers and superiors

Having cordial relationships with superiors considerably influences one’s learning curve and future career prospects.

Here are some behavioral questions you can expect around relationships with managers and superiors. 

  • Have you had to convince a reporting manager to make significant changes in a project because things weren't quite on track? How did that work out?
  • Tell us about a time when you couldn't meet the expectations of a project and how it impacted your relationship with your manager?
  • Have you had a difficult manager in the past? How did you go about building a relationship with him/her?
  • Tell us about a time your manager/superior was unreasonable and how you managed it?
  • What is the best way to maintain a great relationship with your superiors/managers at work?
  • Has there been a time when your contribution  was overlooked and somebody else from your team took credit for it? How did you deal with it?

Questions on adaptability

Adaptability is basically about tuning-into demands presented by new projects. Here are some questions that you can expect:

  • Tell us about a time when your team underwent a significant structural change. How did it impact you and your coworkers?
  • Have you had to work on a completely new project that required you to learn and acquire new skills? How did you go about it?
  • Tell us about how you prioritize specific tasks in a project?
  • What have you learnt from difficult projects in the past? Has it changed anything in you?
  • Have you taken the lead in a project in the past? Tell us about your learnings and how you passed them on to your team?

Questions specific to the company

  • Why do you want to work at (the company)?
  • What about (the company’s) culture do you admire the most?
  • What challenges do you foresee for (the company) in the future?
  • What is your view of diversity and inclusion in a workplace?

Questions on past job-related projects

Recruiters at FAANG greatly value past projects. If you’ve taken-on challenging projects in the past, make sure you prepare to answer questions around them.

  • Describe your most challenging project and the learnings you derived from it?
  • Tell us about a time when a particularly tough project that went south. What did you learn from it?
  • Have you had to complete a project amid strict deadlines?  Were you successful?

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