When preparing for an interview it’s important to consider a few typical questions your potential employer may ask you. We all know the interview process can be a daunting task, and it’s essential to come across as a competent and confident individual to be in with a chance of bagging that dream job. The focus of your potential employer’s thought process, is whether you are good enough to work for their company, so the significance of interview preparation should not be overlooked. For that very reason, we have compiled a series of web developer interview questions below, so you can walk into the room and communicate an air of wisdom and clarity when put under the microscope.
1. What are your past working experiences?
You can expect to answer a relatively broad question about yourself to begin with. The interviewer is merely trying to get a feel of your personality and an elaborated version of the information presented in your CV.
If you don’t already follow a handful of blogs relating to the web development industry, now is the time to start reading! The interviewer will be very interested in knowing how committed to the profession you are, and your specific viewpoints. This is that very thin line between your dedication to the skill and your own self-improvement, or something you perceive as just a job.
3. What are your most favourable programming languages?
It is a simple fact that when we excel in a certain task, this generally results in a person favouring that subject. There are at least one or two programming languages a web developer will be most proficient, and the interviewer will be interested to hear the skills you can bring to the company and why it is you favour those languages over others.
4. What kind of problems have you faced while writing code?
When your interviewer asks you a question about the problems you’ve come across in the past, they do not want to hear “I haven’t come across any problems”. Every developer at some point in their career has been confronted with a challenge, your interviewer is looking for details of what your problems were and what you did to tackle them.
5. What is W3C and what does it stand for?
W3C stands for World Wide Web Consortium and it is the international standards compliance for web development. Their aim is to radically improve the way people develop new technologies, and this is something any established web developer should be familiar with. Your interviewer will most likely ask you this question, so if you are ignorant to the workings of W3C, start searching the web for answers now.
6. When concerning case sensitivity, what is the principal difference between HTML and XHTML?
The interviewer is attempting to establish your basic knowledge of languages and the finer details involved. Expect to be asked a series of technical questions to test your knowledge and capabilities. To answer the question above, HTML is not case sensitive but XTML requires lower case for all tags and attributes.
As you can imagine, these are just a small collection of the possible questions your interviewer may ask you, but it’s most definitely a good starting point. When considering what to expect at your interview, ask yourself these three questions; “What are my past experiences, what kind of skills do I possess, and what do I expect from the future?” Elaborate on these three questions and you’ll find yourself where you want to be in no time!
Interviews can be stressful for some and even enjoyable to others – it just depends on your perception of what you hope to achieve from them. Clearly you are hoping to be offered a job but that is not always the case; the interview should be a two way setting and often the candidate loses sight of this. I have been in interviews where I have known quite quickly that it is not the role for me, and walked away from interviews wondering if I actually would welcome an offer – therefore it is important to make sure you know if this is the one for you.
Most formal interviews will consist of an introduction from the interviewer followed by a series of questions presented to the candidate to understand how you work and react in situations, towards the end of the interview you will be presented with the opportunity to ask questions back. This is where some good planning comes into play; you need to think outside the box as the interviewer should answer a lot of questions in their introduction. A trap, a lot of candidates fall into is to respond with “I think you have answered everything I was going to ask” – this can come across as a lack of real interest in the business / role and can put interviewers off you.
Here are a few questions you may find useful to note down for future interviews:
- What does the actual day to day work involve? (bearing in mind Project Management makes for constant change, there will still be core duties required of you)
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- What are the main challenges the team / projects face at the moment?
- Have you identified any weaknesses in the team; are these something you would like me to address from the start?
- What do you think it might take to be really successful in this role?
- Could you talk me through the management style here?
- Do you have any specific projects in mind that the successful candidate will be working on?
- Is it likely I will be working as part of a team and are the staff involved in different projects at any one time?
- Does the business encourage employees to study and gain professional qualifications? What kind of support is in place?
- What kind of backgrounds personally and professionally do the existing team have?
And to round up:
- When can I expect to hear from you with a decision and do you usually call or write to let candidates know the outcome?
- Would it be possible to gain some feedback from you regardless of the outcome?
- Have I answered everything thoroughly enough for you or is there anything else you would like to ask me?
I recommend writing a list of questions to ask – always write down more than you need in case some are already covered by the interviewer (some interviewers are more thorough than others). Avoid any questions about pay, holidays, benefits, sick leave, hours of work etc as this can give a bad impression – these questions will be answered at the offer stage (if you get that far). Once you have a list of questions, place them in a folder and when you are asked for questions do remember your manners and ask if it is OK to refer to the list you prepared prior to the interview.
One question burning on the lips of most interviewers is “what is your weakness” – time and time again I have asked this question and been met with a variety of responses, the worst response to date was “I do not have any”. Clearly that is their biggest weakness, not being able to objectively analyse themselves or generally recognise where their weaknesses lay. It can be difficult to admit that we have imperfections nonetheless we all do, this is not going to stop you getting the job – not recognising them and addressing them however, will!
So once you have identified your weakness you need to tackle it head on with a solution. For example, I am often taking on more than I should do and work in a way which appears to be disorganised – often dipping in and out of various pieces of work and dealing with issues all at the same time. Now for me, this works as I find I take a creative and energised approach to work and avoid getting bogged down in areas I may otherwise be forming a block. So to keep a track of everything I am doing and need to complete; I write lists – yes, just lists. I then work with my outlook calendar to schedule in priorities and only dismiss my reminders once the actions are complete. Ideally at the start of the day I will schedule in my commitments and “to do” list in my calendar and “tick” them off throughout the day. Did you notice that I have actually described more than one weakness?
- Taking on more than I should – positive outcome: like to multi-task
- Dipping in and out of various pieces of work – positive outcome: able to easy switch brain to different matters
- Dealing with issues as they arise – positive outcome: doesn’t “park” items which require immediate attention
Four issues all brought under control by one change in how I work – a simple solution and equally simple but effective method of reassuring your interviewer that you have your weaknesses in check; in fact you can turn your weaknesses into strengths quite easily. All these positive outcomes are fantastic for project management professionals – by carefully thinking out your weaknesses to talk about at interview, you can actually manage to really add that extra little something which may just push your candidacy over the finish line and seize you that job offer over everyone else.
The thing to remember when being questioned about weaknesses is to not dwell on them, keeping the interview positive is very important – the interviewer isn’t asking you to divulge really personal things about yourself, so keep it professional and constructive.