Hibernate Interview Questions for 2+ years of experience

Certainly! Here’s a list of commonly asked interview questions on Hibernate for candidates with 2+ years of experience:

Basic Hibernate Concepts

1. What is Hibernate and why is it used?

Ans: Hibernate is an open-source Java based object-relational mapping (ORM) tool. It provides a framework for mapping an objects to data stored in a relational database. Basically ORM tool simplifies the data creation, data manipulation and data access. Also it simplify the interaction between Java objects and a relational database.

Hibernate allows developers to work with Java objects in their application code and abstract the complexities of SQL queries and database interactions, making it easier to develop, maintain, and scale database-driven applications.

2. Explain Object-Relational Mapping (ORM).

Ans: Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) is a programming technique in object oriented programing language that allows developers to map and interact with the data of relational database. ORM frameworks like Hibernate provide a way to represent database tables as Java classes and map database records to instances of those classes. This abstraction simplifies database operations and reduces the need to write low-level SQL queries manually.

3. What are the main components of Hibernate?

Ans: Hibernate consists of several key components:

  • SessionFactory: Responsible for creating and managing Hibernate Sessions.
  • Session: Represents a single unit of work with the database, providing methods for database operations.
  • Configuration: Stores configuration settings and mappings between Java classes and database tables.
  • Mapping Files: XML or annotations that define how Java classes relate to database tables.
  • HQL (Hibernate Query Language): A query language similar to SQL but used for querying Java objects.
  • Criteria API: A programmatic way to build queries using Java code.
  • Transactions: Hibernate provides support for managing database transactions.

4. Differentiate between Hibernate and JDBC.

PurposeObject-Relational Mapping (ORM) frameworkJava Database Connectivity (JDBC) API
Abstraction LevelHigh-level, object-orientedLow-level, SQL-based
Database OperationsObject-oriented (e.g., via Java objects)SQL queries and statements
ConfigurationXML or annotations for mappings and settingsProgrammatic configuration and SQL queries
Query LanguageHQL (Hibernate Query Language)SQL (Structured Query Language)
Connection ManagementManaged by Hibernate SessionFactoryManually managed by the application
CachingSupports caching of objectsNo built-in caching
Transaction ManagementSupports declarative transactionsRequires explicit transaction handling
PortabilityCan work with multiple databasesTied to the specific database being used
MaintenanceReduces boilerplate code for database accessRequires more code for database operations
Learning CurveMay have a steeper learning curveRelatively easier to get started with
FlexibilityOffers flexibility and advanced featuresProvides control over SQL queries and transactions

5. What is a SessionFactory and How is it created in Hibernate?

Ans: A SessionFactory in Hibernate produces Hibernate Session objects. Without a session objects, a developer can’t perform any create, update, retrieve or delete operations. It is also a crucial component that is responsible for managing database connections, providing caching, and handling the creation and destruction of Session instances. The SessionFactory is typically configured once during application startup and shared throughout the application.

Steps to create session factory

  • Configure Hibernate using a configuration file (e.g., hibernate.cfg.xml).
  • Build a Configuration object.
  • Use the Configuration to build the SessionFactory.

6. What is a Session in Hibernate? How is it different from SessionFactory?

Ans: A Session in Hibernate represents a single unit of work with the database. It provides methods for performing database operations such as CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations and querying the database. A Session is typically short-lived and should be created and closed for each unit of work. Session is only available for particular transaction and session provides a first level cache.

A SessionFactory is a long-lived object responsible for creating and managing Session instances. It is thread-safe and usually created once during application startup and shared throughout the application. SessionFactory provides a second level cache.

7. Explain the Hibernate configuration file (hibernate.cfg.xml).

Ans: The Hibernate configuration file, often named hibernate.cfg.xml, is an XML file that contains configuration settings for Hibernate. These settings include database connection properties, mapping information (how Java classes relate to database tables), caching settings, and other Hibernate-specific configurations. Developers use this file to define Hibernate’s behavior and establish a connection to the database.

8. How do you configure Hibernate to connect to a database?

Ans: To configure Hibernate to connect to a database, you typically need to do the following:

  1. Create or edit the hibernate.cfg.xml file.
  2. Define the database connection properties, such as the JDBC URL, username, and password.
  3. Specify the dialect of the database (e.g., MySQL, PostgreSQL) to ensure compatibility. d.
  4. Configure mappings to map Java classes to database tables.
  5. Set other optional properties like caching, connection pool settings, and logging.
  6. Create a SessionFactory using the Configuration object.
  7. Use the SessionFactory to obtain Session instances for database operations in your application.

Example of hibernate.cfg.xml file

        <!-- Database connection settings -->
        <property name="hibernate.connection.url">jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/mydb</property>
        <property name="hibernate.connection.username">username</property>
        <property name="hibernate.connection.password">password</property>
        <!-- Database dialect -->
        <property name="hibernate.dialect">org.hibernate.dialect.MySQLDialect</property>
        <!-- Mapping files or annotated classes -->
        <mapping class="com.example.model.User"/>
        <!-- Other configuration settings -->

Mapping and Annotations

9. Explain the different mapping types in Hibernate.

Hibernate provides various ways to map Java objects to database tables. The most common mapping types are:

  • @Entity: Marks a Java class as an entity, indicating that it should be persisted to the database.
  • @Id: Specifies the primary key of an entity.
  • @GeneratedValue: Defines how the primary key is generated.
  • @Column: Maps a field to a database column.
  • @Table: Specifies the table name associated with an entity.
  • @OneToOne: Defines a one-to-one relationship between two entities.
  • @OneToMany: Defines a one-to-many relationship between two entities.
  • @ManyToOne: Defines a many-to-one relationship between two entities.
  • @ManyToMany: Defines a many-to-many relationship between two entities.

10. What is the purpose of the @Entity annotation?

The @Entity annotation is used to mark a Java class as an entity in Hibernate. It indicates that the class should be mapped to a database table. Entities are managed by Hibernate and can be persisted, queried, and updated using Hibernate’s API. The @Entity annotation typically goes on top of the Java class declaration.

Example of using @Entity in Java Class

import javax.persistence.*;  
public class Student {  
    private int id;  
    private String name;  
    public Student() {}  
    public Student(int id)   
        this.id = id;  
    public int getId()   
        return id;  
    public void setId(int id)   
        this.id = id;  
    public String getName()  
        return name;   
    public void setName(String name)   
        this.name = name;           

How do you map a Java class to a database table using annotations?

To map a Java class to a database table using annotations, follow these steps:

  • Annotate the class with @Entity to indicate it’s an entity.
  • Use @Table annotation to specify the table name if it differs from the default (class name).
  • Annotate the class fields with @Column to map them to database columns.
  • Use @Id annotation to specify the primary key field(s).


import javax.persistence.*;

@Table(name = "employee")
public class Employee implements Serializable {
  @Column(name = "employee_name")
  private String employeeName;

Describe the @Id annotation and its usage.

The @Id annotation is used to mark the primary key attribute of an entity. It marks a field in the entity class as the unique identifier for database records. Every entity must have an @Id-annotated field.


@Table(name = "employee")
public class Employee {
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    @Column(name = "employee_id")
    private Long id;
    // Other fields and methods...

Explain the concept of a composite primary key. How do you map it?

In some cases, a primary key consists of multiple columns. This is known as a composite primary key. To map a composite primary key, we create a separate embedded class representing the key and annotate it with @Embeddable, then use @EmbeddedId in the entity class to reference it.

Suppose you have an entity representing a library with a composite primary key consisting of libraryName and location.

Composite Primary Key Class (Library.java)

import java.io.Serializable;
import javax.persistence.Embeddable;

public class LibraryKey implements Serializable {
    private String libraryName;
    private String location;

    // Constructors, getters, setters, and equals/hashCode methods...

Entity Class with the Composite Primary Key:

import javax.persistence.EmbeddedId;
import javax.persistence.Entity;
import javax.persistence.Table;

@Table(name = "library")
public class Library {
    private LibraryKey libraryKey;
    private int capacity;
    // Constructors, getters, setters...

Usage Example:

// Creating a new Library
LibraryKey libraryKey = new LibraryKey();
libraryKey.setLibraryName("Central Library");
libraryKey.setLocation("Main Street");

Library library = new Library();

// Saving the library to the database using Hibernate's session.save() method

// Retrieving a library by its composite primary key
LibraryKey searchKey = new LibraryKey();
searchKey.setLibraryName("Central Library");
searchKey.setLocation("Main Street");

Library retrievedLibrary = session.get(Library.class, searchKey);

In this example, the Library entity has a composite primary key consisting of libraryName and location, represented by the LibraryKey class. The @EmbeddedId annotation is used to indicate that the libraryKey field contains the composite primary key. When querying for a specific library, you construct a LibraryKey object and use it as the primary key to retrieve the entity from the database.

What is the use of @GeneratedValue annotation? Give examples.

The @GeneratedValue annotation is used to specify how the primary key value is generated. Common strategies include:

  • GenerationType.IDENTITY: Auto-incremented database column.
  • GenerationType.SEQUENCE: Database sequence.
  • GenerationType.TABLE: Table-based strategy.


@GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
private Long id;

How do you establish a one-to-many relationship using annotations?

To establish a one-to-many relationship between two entities, we typically have two entities: a parent entity and a child entity. Use @OneToMany on the parent entity and @ManyToOne on the child entity.

For example, if an Author can have multiple Book entities:


public class Author {
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    private Long id;

    private String name;

    @OneToMany(mappedBy = "author", cascade = CascadeType.ALL, orphanRemoval = true)
    private List<Book> books = new ArrayList<>();

    // Constructors, getters, setters, and other methods...

In this Author entity:

  • @Entity marks it as an entity.
  • @OneToMany is used to define the one-to-many relationship.
    • mappedBy = "author" specifies that the Author entity does not own the relationship; it’s “mapped by” the author field in the Book entity.
    • cascade = CascadeType.ALL specifies that any operations (e.g., persist, remove) on the Author entity should cascade to its associated Book entities.
    • orphanRemoval = true ensures that if a Book is removed from the author’s list, it will be deleted from the database.


public class Book {
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    private Long id;

    private String title;

    @JoinColumn(name = "author_id")
    private Author author;

    // Constructors, getters, setters, and other methods...

In the Book entity:

  • @Entity marks it as an entity.
  • @ManyToOne is used to define the many-to-one side of the relationship.
  • @JoinColumn(name = "author_id") specifies the foreign key column in the Book table that references the Author table.

With this setup, you can create and manage one-to-many relationships between authors and their books.

For example:

Author author = new Author();
author.setName("J.K. Rowling");

Book book1 = new Book();
book1.setTitle("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone");

Book book2 = new Book();
book2.setTitle("Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets");


session.save(author); // This will also save the associated books due to CascadeType.ALL

This code creates an Author entity and associates two Book entities with that author. When you save the author, Hibernate will also save the associated books in the database.

Explain the @JoinColumn annotation and its role.

The @JoinColumn annotation is used to specify the foreign key column in a relationship. In the example above, it indicates that the author_id column in the Book table is the foreign key that references the Author table.

How do you map a many-to-many relationship using annotations?

To create a many-to-many relationship using annotations in Hibernate between two tables we will be using @manytomany annotations. Here a extra 3rd table will be created to join the two tables to establish the relations. Here there will be the two tables Student and Course and a third table will created will be StudentCourse.

Here’s an example of how to create a many-to-many relationship between Student and Course entities:

Student Entity:

public class Student {
    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    private Long id;
    private String name;

    @ManyToMany(cascade = { CascadeType.PERSIST, CascadeType.MERGE })
        name = "student_course",
        joinColumns = @JoinColumn(name = "student_id"),
        inverseJoinColumns = @JoinColumn(name = "course_id")
    private List<Course> courses = new ArrayList<>();

    // Constructors, getters, setters, and other methods...

In the Student entity:

  • @ManyToMany annotation is used to define the many-to-many relationship with the Course Entity of Student Entity.
  • cascade specifies that operations (e.g., persist, merge) on Student should also cascade to the associated Course entities.
  • @JoinTable defines the name of the join table(here name of new join table will be student_course) and specifies the foreign key columns used to join Student and Course.
  • In the above example new table name will be student_course and column name will be student_id and course_id.

Hibernate Query Language (HQL)

What is HQL? How is it different from SQL?

How do you execute an HQL query in Hibernate?

Explain the use of named queries in Hibernate.

What are the advantages of using HQL over SQL?

How do you handle pagination using HQL?

Caching in Hibernate

What is caching? Why is it important in Hibernate?

Explain the first-level cache (Session cache) in Hibernate.

Describe the second-level cache in Hibernate. How is it configured?

What are the different caching strategies in Hibernate?

Transactions and Concurrency

Explain the ACID properties of a transaction.

How do you manage transactions in Hibernate?

What is the role of the Transaction object in Hibernate?

Explain the concept of isolation levels in transactions.

How does Hibernate handle concurrent access to the database?

Lazy Loading and Eager Loading

What is lazy loading and how does Hibernate implement it?

Explain eager loading and its benefits in Hibernate.

How do you configure lazy loading and eager loading in Hibernate?

Hibernate Inheritance Mapping

Describe the different types of inheritance mapping strategies in Hibernate.

How do you implement single table inheritance using annotations?

Explain table-per-class and joined-subclass inheritance strategies.

Criteria API

What is the Criteria API in Hibernate?

How is the Criteria API different from HQL?

Provide an example of using the Criteria API to retrieve data.

Transactions and Exception Handling

How do you handle exceptions in Hibernate?

Explain the different types of exceptions in Hibernate.

Describe the role of the Session in handling transactions and exceptions.

Batch Processing

What is batch processing in Hibernate?

How do you enable batch processing for database operations?

Connection Pooling

What is connection pooling? How is it configured in Hibernate?

Explain the benefits of using connection pooling.

Integration with Spring

How does Hibernate integrate with the Spring framework?

Explain the Spring + Hibernate architecture.

What are the advantages of using Spring and Hibernate together?

Auditing and Envers

What is Hibernate Envers? How do you enable it for auditing?

How does Hibernate Envers track changes to entities?

Detached Objects and Merging

Explain the concept of detached objects in Hibernate.

How do you reattach a detached object using the merge() method?

Optimistic and Pessimistic Locking

What is optimistic locking? How is it implemented in Hibernate?

Describe pessimistic locking and its use cases.

Custom Types

How do you define custom user types in Hibernate?

Give an example of using a custom type in Hibernate.

Fetching Strategies

Explain the different fetching strategies in Hibernate.

When would you use each type of fetching strategy?

Remember that interview questions can vary in complexity and scope, so it’s important to have a strong understanding of these topics to effectively answer related questions. Additionally, be prepared to provide practical examples from your own experience to showcase your expertise in Hibernate.