Hiring Guide

Lead Software Engineer

Specific duties of a Lead Software Engineer can vary from business to business — along with factors like company culture, work environment, and team dynamics — it’s vital to tailor any job description and interview content to your company’s needs and expectations.

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Lead Software Engineer interview templates

Why you should hire a Lead Software Engineer

Lead Software Engineers help companies achieve success by leading teams of developers who are responsible for building, maintaining, and improving a company's software. Doing this requires technical skills to write, organize, and evaluate codes, team management skills to guide and develop junior developers, and project management skills to plan and track progress for execution.

In this hiring guide, we'll provide everything you need to hire a great Lead Software Engineer.

Top 12 skills for Lead Software Engineers

Technological Proficiency

Software and Programming Languages
Algorithm Analysis
Software Design

Product Development Project Management

Agile Methodology
Scope Control
Technical Reporting

Leadership and Team Management

Delegating
Motivating Others
Performance Management

Debugging and Problem Solving

Critical/Analytical Thinking
Creativity
Decision Making

Sample Lead Software Engineer job description

A Lead Software Engineer is a senior position in the software development field. These individuals are primarily responsible for the software production process which involves designing, building, and maintaining structures in the development team. Doing this requires technical skills to write, organize, and evaluate codes, team management skills to guide and develop junior developers, and project management skills to plan and track progress for execution. In addition to these skills, successful Lead Software Engineers tend to have strong business acumen as they apply their knowledge of business to inform and facilitate the development of products/features that align with a company’s strategic goals to ensure long-term growth and success.

Sample questions for Lead Software Engineers

Question 1

Our company uses an agile methodology to manage product development. Based on your experience, what are some of the pros and cons of agile versus traditional methods? How have you overcome challenges with agile methods in the past?

Netanel Weizman portrait image
Netanel Weizman
Head of Engineering - 13 years professional experience

What does this question reveal?

Candidate understands the strengths and weaknesses of agile development and can manage agile projects effectively

Answer tips

  • Explains how testing and development is done simultaneously in agile teams
  • Explains how features are released much more frequently in agile environments
  • Notes pros (e.g. flexible, speedy, customer-driven design & development)
  • Notes cons (e.g. hard with large features, little documentation, less design) 
  • Explains how they have confronted and overcome challenges in the past

Question 2

Imagine you are managing a team of developers, and you notice one team member underperforming compared to the others. How would you manage this situation?

Netanel Weizman portrait image
Netanel Weizman
Head of Engineering - 13 years professional experience

What does this question reveal?

Candidate has the ability to address performance issues and apply improvement or development plans as appropriate

Answer tips

  • Meets with the individual to set performance goals 
  • Offers support to the individual if they are under stress
  • Discusses the individual's talents and how they align to their role
  • Develops and shares a plan to track progress/improvement
  • Suggests having a team meeting to reinforce collaboration, respect and ownership