What does a successful interview for a web development job look like?

Darren Hagen
October 22, 2018

So you are applying for a job as a web developer? Maybe you’ve done this before and know all of the tricks and don’t need to read any further, or maybe this is your first time. Either way, if you continue to read this post, it will hopefully help you to take a deep breath and confidently have what you need to get that job.

What should my resume look like?

Although cute resumes are nice for design jobs, when applying for a web development job please make sure that you have clear and legible content. Fancy cursive or display fonts can eat real estate and diminish the intended focus. Personally I feel that a single page resume should be plenty of room to communicate everything that you want to say. This is a great place to enlist the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method. The following are examples of information that I would be looking for:

  • General Info – Besides a name and contact email, it is always nice to have a profile website that may have some of your live code on it to view. I highly recommend taking some time to have your own website. It shows that you are proud or your work and want to show it off. Even if it’s just a few tricks.
  • Skills/Technologies – List any coding languages, CMSs, platforms, etc… that you feel comfortable talking about. Although you may have heard of angular.js, and decided to put it on your resume, it may come back to haunt you if you are asked technical questions on how to use it
  • Experience/Employment History – If you have been working for 10 different companies over the course of your career you don’t have to list them all. Just give us an example of relevant work over the course of the last few years if you have it and anything that can tell me what kind of team member you might be
  • Education – This seems pretty obvious, but at least address any relevant education that will meet the requirements of the job. Anything else is nice but not necessary

I know how to interview, why should I read any more?

Whether you are gifted with the ability to talk to anyone, or get extremely nervous before interviews it’s important to focus on the prize, which is getting the job. A few notes that I would give anyone applying for a web development job:

  • Research – Take some time to look up information on the company that you are attempting to work for. Even if it’s a simple Google search and a walk through of their website. It would show that you are truly interested in what the company does and the job that you are attempting to get
  • Be Confident – Smile, be focused, and be confident that you are right for the job. Be thinking about that fact that you are the right one for the job and it will show on your face. If you are not sure about it, that will also show. It’s important to know that if you applied for that job, you feel that you can do it
  • Elaborate – If asked a questions that seems like they are looking for either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, or single word answer, they are not. If I were to ask someone, ‘Do you like working in groups?’ and you answer ‘No’, without any further information you are in danger of not getting the job. Just give me a little more info, even if it’s a single sentence to explain your answer it will allow for open discussion or help the interview move forward
  • Honesty – Be honest when asked questions. This also applies to your resume. Although many people can bend the truth, lying is not your friend and can hurt you in the end. Let’s say that you lie about knowing how to build custom themes in WordPress. Okay, well after you get the job they will soon realize you lied. They might be okay with teaching you how, but now they have to deal with a lack of trust on your part and that may not help you moving forward
  • Be Personable – Even if you are not great at chit chat, be willing to try. If I am interviewing for a developer that I might be working with, I want to know that they have good enough communication skills. I do this by asking general questions about what they like, or enjoy doing. This isn’t to judge anyone on what they like, but their ability to communicate. Even during technical questions it’s important to speak as though you are not in an interview but collaborating with the person asking you questions. In many cases, a lesser skilled good team mate that can communicate is more valuable than a highly skilled person that can’t. I can teach you skills, but I may not be able to teach you as easily how to be a good team mate.

Conclusion

Everyone is different. Be yourself. Interviewing for a great job can be similar to dating. If you are fake and/or you want the job for the wrong reasons, the relationship will start on the wrong foot. Just know that you applied for a job that you are qualified for, want, and look forward to having. Now it’s your goal to prove it.

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