53 Python interview questions for IT recruiters
October 12, 2022
min read

53 Python interview questions for IT recruiters

Ana Gospodinova
Ana Gospodinova

Python is the second most used programming language among software engineers in the world.

It owns its popularity for a number of reasons, but one outstands the most - a simple syntax mimics almost natural language. It makes learning and understanding Python with relative ease.

In general software engineers prefer building projects quickly, and this is also the area where Python outstands most coding languages. Today, Python adoption is rapid, as SlashData estimates that the coding language gained more than 4.4 million engineers in 2022! As versatile and applicable in machine learning, it additionally fuels the current AI technology trend making software engineers with a Python background in demand.

According to our job marketplace data, Python software engineers are in third place in terms of overall demand per open position, right after Java and JavaScript.

What can you do with Python?

In short, Python is a high-level, general-purpose programming language that emphasizes readability.

In the late 1980s, Guido van Rossum introduced Python to a wider audience. Van Rossum took the whole responsibility for the project as the lead developer until 2018, when he decided to take a ‘permanent vacation’ from his duties.

Python can thank its large popularity to the fact that it’s being used to build websites and software, automate tasks and conduct data analysis. Its versatility and beginner-friendliness have made it one of the most-used programming languages.

Here is what you can do with Python:

  • Software and desktop app development
  • Back-end and mobile app development
  • Processing big data
  • Writing system scripts

Since Python is a relatively new and widespread coding language, it’s often been declared as a playground for junior recruiters with limited technical knowledge.

As companies only look for top-quality software engineers, tech interview quality and efficiency become a priority to IT recruiters with broader horizons and aiming for bigger success.

If the Python interview structure is set right, it enables assessing candidates with good skills that are simultaneously a culture fit.

python interview questions

Quite the opposite of other software engineering interviews, the ones for Python tend to be highly technical. Therefore, IT recruiters must ask very specific questions to ensure that candidates have mastered various concepts.

If avoided, the lack of approach sometimes hits success but mostly aggravates software engineers expecting a greater scale of professionalism.

Check out our recently compiled list of Python interview questions below to help IT recruiters filter out candidates more easily and find the ones with the right skill set.

Python interview warm-up questions

1. What projects are you currently working on with Python?

Tip: When using this question recruiter can assess if the candidate is comfortable with the coding language and for how long his experience extends in Python.

2. Why Python over other coding languages?

Tip: This question helps assess if the candidate is genuinely interested in the coding language or not.

3. Which Python frameworks do you prefer?

Tip: Python offers a multi-choice of web frameworks, and experienced IT recruiters are looking for potential candidates that have chosen one to master rather than the ones with overall knowledge. Sometimes it’s considered an advanced question, but we prefer to use it as an interview opener.

4. How do you track versions of your code?

Tip: This question helps you double-check candidates’ organizational skills. They should be able to have basic organizational skills and also to organize a system for saving different versions.

5. What is a namespace in Python?

Tip: As namespace refers to the name given to a particular object, the recruiter will ask this question to understand the candidates’ familiarity with the language levels.

6. Is Python case-sensitive?

7. Is Python dynamically or statically typed?

8. What are the Python modules, and what are they used for?

9. What are the Python-supported standard data types?

10. Does the Python language require indentation?

Typical Python interview questions

11. As we are all aware of the gains when coding in Python, can you talk about some difficulties too?

Tip: With this question in mind, recruiter can assess if the candidate has a thorough knowledge of Python or not. Candidates who are fully aware of the main flows are the ones who can squeeze their full potential.

12. Describe your work style.

Tip: It provides recruiter with the first glimpse of candidates’ organizational skills, but also if it’s team fit.

13. What are the most common mistakes made in Python?

Tip: It allows recruiters to assess candidates’ overall mastery of the coding language and how to handle mistakes when they happen.

14. How do you debug a Python program?

15. How would you sort a dictionary in Python?

16. What can we expect from you in the first three months?

17. Implement merge sort in Python.

Medium-level Python interview questions

18. What is _init_?

Tip: It provides an assessment point of whether the concepts are clear with minute details, as _init helps in differentiating methods and attributes.

19. What are the differences between .py and .pyc?

Tip: Using this question, recruiter can assess the differences in concepts and terms and if candidates have in-depth knowledge of the concepts and terms related to programming languages.

20. What is PEP 1/PEP 8/PEP 586/PEP 673/PEP 484?

Tip: Allowing to test the knowledge of concepts of Python and how much the candidate has learned from various certificate courses.

21. What are the key features of Python language?

Tip: Firsthand, it looks like an opening interview question, but you can evaluate the candidate’s experience level with it. Python engineers, based on their experience levels, usually form specific answers.

22. What tools help you find bugs or perform static analysis?

23. What is the difference between Python arrays and lists?

Advanced-level Python interview questions

Tip: When looking to hire senior Python engineers, hiring departments have to prefer specific questions according to the nature of their projects. In addition, the hiring department must obtain ample knowledge of this subject to present company innovation ideas and plans correctly. We provide the following questions as a guideline when seeking for better results.

24. Why do we use the join() function in Python?

25. Provide an example of the shuffle() method.

26. How do you terminate a line of code in Python?

27. What steps do you take to keep your skills current?

28. What is GIL, and what are the ways to get around it?

29. What is a Lambda function in Python?

30. What is docstring in Python?

31. How do you split the data into train and test datasets?

32. What are the *args and **kvargs in Python functions?

python interview questions

Culture fit Python interview questions

Tip: During Python interviews, it’s important to assess candidate alignment with the company’s core values. Behavioral interviews attempt to discover how candidates act in employment-related situations or conflicts and how they feel like solo or team players. Here are some examples from us.

33. What is the most interesting project you have participated in? Can you describe why it is so interesting?

Tip: This is the point where recruiter can assess candidates’ reflections but also know if their reactions are the one’s company is looking for.

34. Tell me about a time when you handled a challenging situation.

Tip: With this question, recruiter can assess candidates’ problem-solving, reflective skills, and overall responsibility.

35. Tell me when you were in conflict with a peer and how the situation was resolved.

Tip: One of the most common behavioral questions is always helpful when assessing candidates’ willingness to actively approach interpersonal problems to find a resolution.

36. Give an example(s) of the situation(s) of a time when you failed to achieve something?

Tip: Candidates aware of their failures are prone to upgrade their knowledge and skillset to prevent them. It also provides a moment when the interviewer can assess if the candidate possesses valuable introspective skills.

37. Have you handled a difficult situation with a coworker, and how?

38. How do you experiment?

39. Describe a work environment in which you flourish.

Situational Python interview questions

Tip: It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a project lead or a single candidate in interaction with other teams. Python engineers have to have strong leadership and communication skills to thrive. Hiring department can use the following questions when assessing leadership skills.

40. What do you do if there is a disagreement within your team?

41. Are you comfortable giving in-depth presentations?

42. Are you able to explain complex technologies in simple terms?

43. What is your preferred way of communicating with the team?

44. How do you convince someone to agree with you?

45. What are the qualities of a successful team or project leader?

46. How to deal with a team member who disagrees with you?

And here are some additional examples of Python interview questions when looking for software engineers:

47. Describe what Pythonpath is.

48. How are comments in Python written?

49. Do you ever multithread?

50. What is Pandas?

51. Do you think the Python Num Py array is better than lists? Why?

52. What does PEP 8 stand for in Python?

53. How is Python exception handling different from the one in Java?

Final thoughts

Substantial demand for Python engineers pushes hiring departments to obtain their daily duties by prioritizing quantity and aiming to score easy hires. In most cases, this is a completely wrong strategy, especially with Python’s focus on the technical side as a coding language.

Building trust with software engineers becomes a priority to have a quality skill assessment, while at the same time maintaining hiring plans efficiency.

This can only be achieved with well-structured and comprehensive interview questions that will also reduce unnecessary interview stages (your potential candidates will be grateful on that). So, the next time you conduct in-person interviews, try to implement some of the ideas mentioned above to help you better evaluate Python candidates.


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