“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” (Tennis Great: Arthur Ashe)

Preparation is the key. Think of the interview as preparing for a music recital. You would practice, of course, diligently before your performance. An interview is similar. It is an opportunity to display your talents, knowledge, skills, and personality. Essentially, it is a verbal performance. During which, you need to impress upon the prospective employer why they should offer you the job.

You can practice alone or with a person acting as the interviewer. He/she can pepper you with potential questions. You practice the answers as you would during the real interview. This helps to reduce anxiety and to provide the practice of speaking confidently.

Obviously, the company, holding the interview, will have a website. Learn everything you can about the company. Use Google or other search engines to track down press releases, news articles, blogs, social media comments, and even their financials, if a public company. The better informed you are about the company, the more relaxed you will be conversing with the interviewer. Keep in mind, that the interview should be a two-way communication.

Ideally, knowing a web developer in the company to talk to ahead of time is a great benefit. Barring that option, you can peruse employment websites, such as Glassdoor or Indeed, for other job postings from the same company. Become familiar with all the job duties and qualifications. What computer languages do they seek? Do they need someone with a mastery of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript? Do you meet all the preferred requirements?

Front-End vs. Back-End Developers

Which of these two jobs are you applying for?

The typical front-end web developer jobs require advanced HTML and CSS skills and a working knowledge of programming languages like JavaScript, Ruby, and PHP (hypertext pre-processor: a server-side scripting language used in web development). The majority of front-end web developer jobs won’t expect back-end developer skills unless otherwise specified, so a lack of these skills shouldn’t affect your ability to land front-end web developer work. However, if you are interested in back-end development (or looking to present a full stack resume for maximum flexibility), languages like Python and Java will be key additions to your skill set.

What do you do if you do not meet all of the languages the employer needs? Human Resource managers advise that it is critical to communicate to the interviewer your ability to learn new languages, libraries, and skills in the future. In this endeavor, you must highlight your willingness to continue learning on the job (past the point of what’s already listed on your resume). In addition, you should bring attention to any languages or skills you are currently in the process of learning.

HR professionals believe that interviewers will want to understand how you will respond to web development problems you don’t know how to solve. A demonstrated willingness to research issues on your own and demonstrate some self-directed problem-solving skills will go a long way toward establishing your initiative.

Depending on the size of the company, web developers may work on a team with designers, product managers, computer engineers, and other ancillary staff. During the interview, you need to highlight your time management skills and interpersonal skills. If you have had any leadership roles at a college or been part of an academic or sports team, this should be emphasized. Soft skills can be as important in securing the job as your technical prowess.

interview smart

We mentioned the information you can glean from reviewing job postings. Here are examples of non-technical proficiencies you should be prepared to address. These are random selections from reputable online employment sites:

  • Must be highly organized and efficient with all workflow and able to multitask
  • You thrive on collaboration, working side by side with people of all backgrounds and disciplines.
  • The ideal candidate is creative, thoughtful, detail-oriented, and enthusiastic.
  • Possess strong communication skills and the ability to work both individually and as part of a team.
  • Demonstrate aptitude in logical and analytical thinking, as well as display strong problem-solving
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • Personal leadership skills
  • The candidate will have an immediate impact to influence and learn while using their energetic, easy-going personality to work within a team environment.

The above list could continue with dozens of examples from actual job postings. The point is that a job interview for a web developer goes beyond what you have learned at school.

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