Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re starting out as an entry-level web developer. However, preparing your responses to guaranteed questions will help you dodge any potential pitfalls.
One of the major positives to web development interviews is that you’ve likely already had the chance to impress. Most interview processes will include a technical challenge so that you can show off your coding skills beforehand. In addition, you’ll also have your portfolio to support you in the interview. It will prove a valuable reference point when discussing projects you’ve worked on and scenarios you’ve been in. Lastly, the stress on the day itself can be lessened by preparing for some of the more common questions that will come up. This is where we come in.
In this post, we’ll go through some of the most common web developer interview questions and share some advice on how to answer them. We’ve divided the questions loosely into three groups—introductory questions that will typically give you an opportunity to break the ice at the start of the interview, behavioral questions where the recruiter is wanting to get some insights into not just how you work but also how you work with others, and lastly, some more technical web developer interview questions.
- Introductory web developer interview questions
- Behavioral web developer interview questions
- Technical web developer interview questions
1. Could you tell me about yourself?
If you’ve been spending all your time working on technical challenges and memorizing answers to problems, this question can be the most difficult of all. Simple, open-ended, non-technical, it’s likely to catch you off guard and have you sweating. Instead of being an interview question you might simply want to survive, you can use this as an opportunity to give the interviewer a sense of who you are. It can be a perfect way of framing yourself and convincing them why they should hire you and only you.
So how can you ace this question? The key is to prepare a short introduction beforehand. While you might be tempted to freestyle this most obvious of questions, this can be dangerous—you might find yourself saying too little and leaving the interviewer with no sense of who you are. Alternatively, going off-script can also lead to you getting distracted and rambling, leaving a poor impression. Length-wise, aim to take around one minute for your answer. The purpose of this question is not just to learn about you, but also how you say it—it’s your communication skills that are under the microscope here.
Put simply, briefly start with something interesting such as where you come from, your current role (or situation, if you’re a career changer), some of your previous experience, and always end with what you want to do next with your career—starting with the role on offer and what you can bring to it.
2. How did you become interested in web development?
If you’re an entry level web developer coming from an unrelated professional background, this question is something you must absolutely have prepared. As a career changer, personal branding is particularly important to how you sell yourself to a company. While you can’t necessarily offer corporate programming experience, the recruiter isn’t just looking for your portfolio and technical skills, but your enthusiasm and motivation as well.
Maybe you got caught up in editing the HTML of a WordPress blog and fell in love with frontend development. Perhaps your complete frustration with the functionality of a past company website made you want to become a full stack developer. Whatever your story is, find an engaging way of showing how your passion for coding began, and how that will be of benefit to your prospective employer.
3. Tell us what you learned recently.
Another one of the most common junior web developer interview questions, this is more than likely to come up in one form or another—often as specific as “What did you learn yesterday?”. As a programmer, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re a self-directed learner. You’ll be expected to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and find new avenues to expand your knowledge, whether that’s a new framework or even a new language.
Behavioral web developer interview questions
4. How would the developers/project managers you’ve worked with describe you?
Here, the employer is testing not just your perception of your skills and value, but actually your own self-awareness. Again, if you’re not prepared, this is another one that could throw you off (which is the point). Being able to constantly evaluate yourself is an important part of being a coder, whether freelance or in a team.
Remember to back everything up with a short example. Would they say that you’re hardworking? Tell them exactly when you busted a gut. You’re trustworthy? When did they rely on you and how did you prove your worth. It might not look that intimidating, but nailing your answer to this question can really be a big step in convincing them that you’re the person for the job.
5. What do you do if you can’t work out a coding issue by yourself?
Nobody is perfect, and there’s no shame in admitting that—even in a job interview! Here the recruiter is just trying to see what your methods are. When you’re stuck on a problem, where do you turn to for help? (We can’t say it enough—Googling everything is absolutely your friend in web development!) Whether you’re deep into Stack Overflow or other forums, or you ask a colleague, friend, or a knowledgeable developer from your network, they just want to know that you reach out for assistance.
6. Have you worked in a customer-facing role in the past? How did you find it?
Client handling is another almost guaranteed question, as it’s a crucial part of web development. It’s just not possible to work in isolation from other parts of the business. This is another question where career changers can set themselves apart, depending on their background experience.
What the interviewer is looking for is how you present your ideas outside of your team, how you handle feedback around various issues, and how you try to find optimal solutions for all parties. Web developers will naturally have to collaborate closely with their clients, other teams, or product owners, so how we respond to feedback is a sure sign of how we’ll be able to work.
7. What would you say are your best soft skills?
Again, this is another one that might make you sweat. Essentially this is the employer trying to find out what isn’t on your resumé—proof of your communication or management skills, professionalism, cultural sensitivity, presentation skills…it could vary a lot depending on the job.
Those moving from a different career typically have an advantage here, being able to rely on a more diverse background to give examples of these soft skills. And that’s important—the interviewer will ask you to illustrate a situation where you had to use your soft skills, so have one prepared.
8. How would you explain an API to a colleague from another team who doesn’t have a technical skill set?
Some variation of this question is very likely to come up, where you will have to explain an aspect of web development or a tech stack in a non-technical way. Because of their ubiquity and importance, an API is a term frequently bandied about in companies without everyone understanding what they actually are. Don’t use too many other specialized terms that you’ll also have to explain in order to get the meaning across. It may be hard, but trust us, it’s worth it. Being able to do this is a really valuable skill in tech.
Step away from the jargon! Try something simple like “Essentially, an API is a go-between that allows two different applications to communicate to each other. What’s communicated is data and functionalities. A common example would be getting access to a weather app’s API for your web page, so that the weather is displayed on the frontend.”
9. Give an example of how you would solve a disagreement with a colleague or your team lead.
Without any prep, this is a question that could floor you and lead you into a sticky situation. Try to avoid playing the blame game—honesty is the best policy here. Much as we’d like to say everything is awesome and the sun is always shining, disagreements are par for the course in the web developer’s world. This is because of the specialized nature of the work, the number of stakeholders, and the often differing expectations of everyone involved.
Don’t shy away from the question and pretend nothing has ever gone wrong. It’s about how you respond to disagreements which counts. It’s also helpful to talk about what you learned from solving the conflict. How would you avoid such a conflict in the future? What would you do differently?
Technical web developer interview questions
If you want to brush up on your frontend skills a bit more before your interviews, check out this video. In it, web developer Abhishek explains how to style images, as well as how to integrate custom fonts into a web page.
10. How would you reduce web application load time? (Name three ways)
While the type of website that you’re working with typically affects the different priorities you’ll have as a web developer, page speed is the most valuable attribute across all sites. Before you start listing the ways, it helps to begin explaining your method of checking and analyzing the load time, with a tool such as Google PageSpeed Insights.
In terms of the how, browser caching would be one of the first ports of call. Optimizing images by reducing the file size is also an effective way of speeding up page load. Minimizing redirects and HTTP requests, as well as removing unnecessary widgets are some other methods that you can mention.
11. Tell us how you would typically go about creating a web app
A classic junior web developer interview question, don’t be tempted to jump deep into the story of a recent app you worked on. What the interviewer is looking for here is for you to describe your typical workflow, so that they know that it all makes logical sense and that you’re not missing a step.
Although you don’t have to go into a massive amount of detail in your answer here, it’s still important to take your time to make sure that you don’t accidentally skip an important element. This is one of those developer interview answers that you can easily rehearse at home beforehand—one less thing to worry about!
12. If there was a bug causing issues on a web page, which tools would you use?
For developers, bugs are simply a fact of life, and much of your time will be spent identifying and fixing them. With this question, the interviewer wants insight into your problem-solving method. Most browsers these days come with their own debugging tools, so it’s worth pointing out that your exact approach would depend on the browser in question. If you’re working in Google Chrome, for example, you’d turn to their DevTools for guidance.
Specifics aside, explain to the interviewer the steps you’d go through to solve the problem—from entering the bug in your case tracking system, Googling the error message, and identifying the line of code where the bug occurs, to identifying the exact type of bug and, if necessary, turning to others for help for a definitive solution. In your interview prep, don’t worry over the exact details in this scenario, just ensure that your answer showcases your troubleshooting method in a logical way.
13. How would you integrate multiple style sheets onto a web page?
With this type of question, the interviewer is checking your familiarity with basic frontend concepts, and once again looking to see that you have a systematic approach to the task. To answer this question, explain that the exact method used would depend on the type of website. You can then substantiate this with an example or possible solution—such as concatenating multiple style sheets. At the same time, make sure you demonstrate that you know that integrating multiple style sheets has an impact on page load time (more style sheets equals more HTTP requests). This shows that you’re not just thinking about the technology, but the user on the other side of it, too! An important quality for today’s web developers.
So there you go—13 frequently asked interview questions for developers, answered! With a bit of preparation and rehearsal, you’ll be hoping you get asked these questions instead of dreading them. If you’re interested in reading more about life as web developer, we suggest you check out these articles: