Here’s a list of 10 good web developer interview questions for recruiters/employers to ask and for applicants to answer.
Rather than ask “where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time”, these questions are more technical and details in order to determine an applicant’s experience, enthusiasm, history and abilities in all aspects of web development.
Best of all, these sorts of questions can be easily integrated into a casual chat, rather than firing off generic questions at a candidate from a printed sheet of paper.
1. Which industry blogs and websites do you follow?
This question is intended to give an interviewer an idea of how tuned in an applicant is to the latest industry news, trends and technology.
It will also paint a very clear picture of how passionate they are about web development.
2. Can you write HTML entirely by hand?
A web developer should be able to write a simple HTML document without relying on external resources. One good exercise is to ask candidates to write the HTML for an example website.
3. Can you write table-less XHTML?
Interviewers can draw up a quick navigation menu or article and ask the candidate to write the markup for it. This is a great way to find a web developer who uses HTML elements for what they were actually intended, because while many web developers say they can go table-less, they still use them out of habit or convenience when building websites.
4. What are your favourite development tools and why?
This gives the interviewer an idea of the applicant’s level of competence. Also if they use the same tools as everyone else in-house.
5. What skills and technologies are you most interested in improving or learning?
This is a change for the interviewer to find out if the candidate’s future interests match the direction of the position and the company in general. It also demonstrates the candidate’s passion for web development.
6. Show me your portfolio
There’s nothing like a stunning portfolio of work to wow someone at interview. A portfolio will give a very clear insight into a web developer’s personality and work ethic, including whether they are more creative or logical. The applicant should be able to demonstrate solid, extensive, completed projects.
7. What size websites have you worked on in the past?
The aim behind this question isn’t just to cover the candidate’s work history, but also the scale of the work involved and the size of the websites they’re used to working on.
For example, a web developer that’s used to small websites will be more likely to have a keen eye for detail, while a developer that’s used to a high traffic, large scale web site may be better at fine tuning apache or optimizing heavily hit SQL queries as part of seeing the bigger picture.
8. Show me your code
Just like a portfolio, code samples can say a lot about a candidate. Clean, elegant code can often be indicative of a methodical, capable developer. And the interviewer should ask for a lot of source code and not just a few isolated functions.
9. What's your favourite development language and why?
This is a great question to get a candidate to talk about their passion for coding, because it can reveal if they're skilled in programming in general or if their skillset is pigeonholed into their language of choice.
10. Are you working on any personal projects?
Most web developers will have personal projects that they run in their spare time. Or they might just do a little freelance work on the side. Once again, this is a question to help the interviewer assess an applicant’s passion, drive and thirst for learning.
This is also a great question to end an interview with, because it’s fun and easy for the applicant to answer.
These are just 10 questions that an interviewer can ask to assess the experience, skill and passion of an applicant. Meanwhile, if you’re applying for web developer jobs, you need to be ready to answer these with examples of work and enthusiasm. Because nobody wants to employ someone who they feel will come in at 9am on the dot and clock off at 5pm without fail.
Unfortunately we’ll never seem to be able to get away from the out-of-the-box interview questions like; “Why do you want to work for this company?” and “Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?” But applicants should still prepare for these questions with the usual positive answers.
Best of luck out there – and remember that an interview is a two way process. Just because you get offered a job, doesn’t mean you have to accept it if you really don’t want it!
Now, let’s take a look at the interview questions for web developers to ask.