How Can You Prepare To Ace Your First Web Development Interview?

If you want to ace your first web development interview, you need to be willing to do your research.

So you've applied for a front- or back-end web development job, heard back from the recruiters and set up a time for an in-office interview. As a new web developer, you may be a little nervous about what to expect or how to prepare. Whether you are headed into the dreaded technical interview or a traditional sit-down with the team, there are a few things you need to know about becoming a web developer at the company you are interviewing with.

Polish your online web development presence

If you have landed a web development interview, you likely already have an online portfolio site showcasing your best work. Potential employers want to see your past efforts to get a good feel for whether you have the basic skills you need to join their team.

Once you land the interview, make sure your work is clean and be prepared to answer questions about it. If you are making a career change into web development, you also must be ready to answer probing questions about why you're choosing to make this move. If you are new to web development, you might not have professional work examples to show. In that case, showcase any freelance or charity projects you might have completed. Or, if you’ve taken courses in web development, provide examples of professional-looking projects that you completed for class. Be prepared to talk about your specific approach, career outlook and how you can be an asset to their company.

Do your research

Getting an interview does not mean that you're guaranteed to land the position. This is why it's so vital that you do your research before you walk through the door. However, if you are new to the field, you might not be sure where or what to start diving into. To help, here are three areas you need to focus on:

Brush up on your coding knowledge

Employers want to know that your coding and technical skills are up to snuff for their company. They don't want to hire someone who isn't comfortable coding or handling their technical projects, which is why you need to brush up on your knowledge if you feel a little unsure about a certain language or process.

Many companies require a technical test to gauge your skills in HTML, CSS, JavaScript or jQuery. Additionally, if any of them are smaller startups that need to hire renaissance web developers, they may also see if you're comfortable with version control, cross-browser compatibility and responsive web design. After all, small teams need their employees to be proficient in a broader range of skills and capabilities than larger companies who can afford to hire more workers.

Know more than just the company's 'about us' page

Your interviewers might not expect you to know everything there is to know about their company, but they definitely want you to be familiar with their products, services and processes. If you’re really serious about acing this part of your interview, you don't want to quickly read over their company's "about us" page right before the interview and merely regurgitate buzzwords and facts you learned word for word. All that this shows your interviewer is that you took time to read a website, not that you really understand or care about their company. Instead, scour their press releases and social media channels for recent news, and review their current projects to know not just what the company does, but also how it is impacting its particular industry. If you're just becoming a web developer, this is where you can really impress your interviewers by showing them that you're prepared and proactive.

Look up who will be interviewing you

You might feel like you don't have any power during an interview, but you do. While companies are primarily seeing if you would be a good fit for them, you are also expected to do your due diligence. Just as your interviewers have looked up what there is to know about you via your resume and LinkedIn, you should also look them up. Check out their LinkedIn or other social media pages, and consider looking at their online portfolio.

Not only will you find potential talking points — maybe they went to your university or enjoy the same sports team — but this will help you to humanize the interviewers sitting across from you. If you know a little bit about the people asking you questions, the interview will feel like a real conversation and you’ll be more apt to provide strong answers that also demonstrate your non-technical and transferable skills. 

If you get the position, make sure you know what questions to ask before accepting a job offer with the company. This way, you will have a better idea about how well you would fit in at the organization, what your career development opportunities might be and if you see yourself enjoying your work.