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How to get a web developer job in an interview

Even a ten year old kid can build a website today, with the help of a free website builder, or a content management system.

Every kid can design a website. But just very few people can build a website that actually converts visitors to customers, and brings money to the website owner, or to a person who paid for the development.

And this is exactly where the website developer interviews are heading. Instead of an extensive test of your coding skills, your knowledge of PHP and HTML (job interviews consisted mainly in such tests ten years ago), the recruiters try to understand other things while talking to you. Namely:

  • Do you understand the connection of website development and business goals?
  • Do you have a knowledge of visitors behavior, color psychology, landing pages, etc?
  • Can you bring an actual value to the development project, or do you just wait for the orders of your boss, or your client?

Good portfolio can win you a job contract

A work portfolio can be a decisive factor in this interview. If you can demonstrate (with the help of websites and projects you’ve worked on before) that you can actually design great websites, that you understand the business part of the equation, and that you actually bring some value to the project with your work, they will hire you (at least most of the time, when you do not compete with many other developers).

Still, some HR managers prefer asking questions, and they won’t even look at your portfolio unless you convince them about your readiness for the job, and for all kinds of situations that take place in corporate environment, with your interview answers.

Let’s have a look at some questions they use.

 

What programming languages do you know?

HTML, CSS, and PHP is a bare minimum, unless the company works primarily with CMS environment (in such a case, HTML and CSS will suffice).

Try to elaborate on your answer, telling them when you learned the language, and how the knowledge helped you in your latest design projects.

 

What web browser do you prefer?

A good web developer understands it is crucial to design a website that looks good in all browsers (including mobile browsers), and on all screens.

This is exactly what you should focus on in your answer, saying that you prefer one of the browsers (perhaps Chrome for their tools for Web Developers), but design websites that work well with all browsers and screens.

 

What is the first thing you do when assigned a website development project?

This is your chance to show them that you understand business, that you can work independently, that you actually think about the website from the perspective of a final user, and the client–the goals they want to achieve.

Tell them that you always analyze the project, trying to understand the final goal of a website (sell goods, bring customer to a shop, improve reputation of the company, convince the visitors of some facts, etc), and plan your development accordingly.

 

Which tools do you use to analyze website traffic?

Tell the interviewers that you understand the importance of traffic analysis. Unless we know how many people came to the website, and what they did there, it makes no sense to have a website.

You can always say that you install Google Analytics to each website you design. If you have any experience with advanced traffic and conversion analyses, using one of the paid trackers, you can mention it in your interview answer.

 

What is the trend in website development right now?

Fast, reliable, secure. Websites that work well on mobile phones, websites that are simple to navigate and use. Websites that can be easily managed and changed from the back end. And most importantly, websites that are built with a target in mind–websites that actually convert visitors to customers.

You can elaborate on your answer, talking about specific tools and techniques that help you to design trendy websites (AMP, content management systems, HTTPS protocols, cloud hosting, and so on and so forth).

 

Why do you want a job? Why don’t you pursue freelancing career?

Nine to five job of a developer can never earn you as much money as a freelancing career in this field can, unless you work for Google or Microsoft. So why would you opt for employment?

You can say that you struggle with marketing and sales. A good website designer does not have to possess excellent sales skills. But a freelance web designer can not afford to have this weakness–they need excellent communication and sales skills to acquire new clients.

Alternatively you can say that you prefer to focus on web development only, leaving the hassle of accounting, taxes, marketing, customer service, etc etc to other people in the company. Or you can say that you prefer to work in a corporate environment, and do not enjoy the lonely journey of a freelancer…

 

Other interview questions for web developers

  • Describe a time when you had to meet a tight deadline.
  • Describe a time when you felt pressure in work.
  • Tell us something about your former colleagues.
  • What are your strengths as a web developer? And your weaknesses?
  • How can we improve website load time?
  • Have you heard about AMP? Do you know how to make a website AMP friendly?
  • What is your knowledge of SEO? How do you implement this knowledge in your website development?
  • Tell us about a conflict your had with one of your colleagues or clients.
  • What motivates you in work?
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants for this job?
  • Do you have any questions?

 

Conclusion

You will have to answer both technical and non-technical questions while interviewing for this job. Companies try to hire developers with decent soft skills, people they can trust in terms of their communication with clients, people they can rely on.

Prepare a work portfolio, and demonstrate both your soft skills and technical skills in your answers. The following posts should help you to prepare even better for your interview:

  • Work portfolio in an interview – Learn how to prepare an excellent portfolio, and how to present it to the interviewers.
  • Interview success packageBrilliant answers to thirty most common interview questions, and an audio guide on how to impress your interviewer. Get our Interview Success Package, and you won’t ever have problems with interviewing for a job.
  • IT & Technology – Interview questions for a variety of jobs that deal with programming languages and technology. Software testing, PHP, Java, Cognos, Data Centers… You will find all the questions in our IT section.

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