web developer job interview questions and answers.

01/01/2019

Candidates applying for web developer jobs will be expected to build and maintain sophisticated, top quality websites for freelancers, businesses and organisations. 

Web development is a great career to get into, particularly with the current IT skills gap indicating that supply is short but demand continues to rise. According to data from IT Jobs Watch, just under 5% of all IT jobs advertised were for Web Developers which equates to roughly 8,414 positions across the UK. The average UK Web Developer salary is above the national average at  £42,500, in addition, the top 10% of earners are making around £70,000.

High-traffic websites require meticulous design and testing by web developers to ensure they are well laid out and easily navigable, and they will typically incorporate interactive pages to enhance the user experience of the site.

Applicants for web developer jobs will invariably need to have direct professional experience of popular development standards such as Java, with a demonstrable track record of using them in a range of activities, including prototyping, reuse, modification, re-engineering, research and maintenance.

Candidates must also usually possess a strong awareness of the regulatory environment in which businesses operate and quickly understand how changes to this environment may affect business systems, business continuity and user experience.  

General interview tips.

Candidates should do their utmost to research the company before attending an interview, finding out about its history, size, products and services, and its formal structure. It’s also wise to thoroughly re-read the job description so that the roles and responsibilities of the advertised job are clearly in your mind prior to the interview.

It's always best practice to arrive roughly 10 minutes early to your interview, this will give you time to calm your nerves and shows your potential employer that you are punctual. In terms of dress code, it's always best to overdress than underdress - something smart and professional should suffice. During the interview remember to make good eye-contact with the interviewing panel or individual interviewer, return firm handshakes and sound confident in your abilities without coming across as arrogant.

Further information for web developer job candidates.

While interviews for web developer jobs can be stressful, they are also opportunities for candidates to showcase their talents, experience and abilities. If the applicant has researched the firm thoroughly before interview, and thought painstakingly about the relevant aspects of his or her CV for the post, interview nerves are more likely to be held at bay.

At some point in the interview, applicants will be asked if they have any questions to put to the panel or interviewer. It’s advisable to think carefully about this before arriving, and to jot some pertinent questions down on a notepad to refer to at the end. Asking questions shows an inquiring mind and an interest in the job and the company, while “going blank” or asking nothing looks ill-prepared.

General and specific interview questions about the role.

Interviews may begin with some generic questions, such as:

  1. Give us a brief introduction of yourself
  2. Can you summarise your experience in your most recent roles?

They then start to become more specific, such as:

  1. How does your previous experience connect with the current position?

Interviewers will nearly always invite candidates to describe their strongest points. List them confidently, clearly and concisely, describing relevant knowledge, skills, and experience.

Another common question is “What is your greatest weakness?” Not to reply can sound arrogant, but replying in terms of an issue you have worked hard to resolve is likely to impress your interviewer.

If applicants are asked why they left their previous job, it's most important to avoid being negative or critical about a previous employer and focus on issues such as limited opportunities for career progression, or a family relocation which made the commute more complicated.

Candidates will almost certainly be asked what they know about the current organisation, what they can bring to the current role and what they have done over the last year to enhance their web developer knowledge.

Typical web developer interview questions.

1. What projects have you worked on recently?

Candidates should have some positive real-world examples of projects that demonstrate a good combination of technical skills and personal qualities. The examples should relate as closely as possible to the requirements of the role for which the candidate is applying and ideally refer to the use of the most up to date systems and techniques.

2. Give us an example of where you have successfully met or exceeded expectations.

Again, the answer should ideally be an example that has as much relevance as possible to the role for which people are being interviewed. It should also be recent and focus on the personal contribution of the individual rather than a general approach taken by an organisation or an entire department.

3. How did you achieve this and what were the outcomes?

It's important to focus on specifics and be able to refer to tangible improvements such as an enhancement in efficiency and therefore profitability for the organisation as a whole. Personal successes should relate to company successes that are still being enjoyed.

4. How have you incorporated new technologies into the design and administration of your sites?

This is potentially a great opportunity for a web developer to provide tangible evidence of technical expertise by referring people to specific sites or at least describing them in sufficient detail. The question is also an invitation to demonstrate a comprehensive awareness and understanding of current technologies and techniques.

5. How familiar are you with web accessibility standards?

Candidates should be able to answer this question positively and back their answer up with examples of how they have successfully applied these in previous roles. It is also helpful to go a step beyond just technical expertise and demonstrate a human touch through an understanding and appreciation of the need for such standards.

6. Have you used techniques such as jQuery to enhance the look and feel of websites?

jQuery is a cross-platform JavaScript library designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML. Many large organisations, including Microsoft and Nokia, bundle jQuery on their platforms and because of this prevalence a web developer should be familiar with this and other similar techniques.

7. What options would you use for persistent storage on browsers?

There are a range of options, and this is an opportunity for a candidate to demonstrate technical expertise and the capacity for original thinking. Local storage and persistent storage are good considerations for HTML browsers. For non-HTML browsers, cookies are generally considered the most appropriate choice.

8. How comfortable are you in understanding and using content management systems to an advanced level?

The use of content management systems to publish and modify content is a fundamental skill for web developers and prospective employers will expect candidates to demonstrate their familiarity with a range of such systems, often to an advanced level, including how they have employed them and their personal preferences.

9. How familiar are you with back-end database design for websites?

Back-end database design may not be a term that developers using larger or enterprise database systems are familiar with. However, an understanding of the term is important as it shows a general awareness of industry terminology and a diversity of knowledge of small database systems, where the term is more widely used.

10. What is graceful degradation?

The term graceful degradation is used to describe how a system can continue to function properly from a user’s point of view even during failure of the system or one of its components. Being able to describe such properties clearly and concisely is an important skill for web developers.