How to Prepare for Your First Web Development Job Interview
By Jessica Fender

In the mind’s eye, job interviews are where you walk in, smile broadly and wow the interviewer with your wit, knowledge, good looks and snappy dressings. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work out like that, most of the time. Mainly that’s down to what falls outside that daydream.

Thomas Edison got the essence of it when he said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” For the truth is that to get to that daydream takes a lot of work.

That’s true of any job but particularly web development as there are a lot of skills that you’ll need to not just have but demonstrate so that they know you can do what is required. This means checking what languages they’ll want you to know and if you can read the code in Python, JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. They probably will.

But that’s hardly the only thing you’ve got to do.

Check your portfolio

In web development, we’re no longer rated by how long we’ve worked in but what we’ve done. The portfolio is the place where you demonstrate those skills. Of course, if you got the job interview you already know that. Your portfolio already demonstrates what you can do.

The first thing you need to do is take another look at it to see what you put on there. After all, based on the skills you mentioned there, they invited you to come in so that is what they’ll focus their questions on.

Often, they’ll ask you questions in order to get you to demonstrate your expertise in the field. Sometimes they’ll think them up themselves, but often they’ll just use questions from online. So check out coding questions.

Also, make sure that when you’re looking at it, that you consider what you haven’t yet mentioned and what you can expand on. Nobody wants to hear what they’ve already read on your website and your CV. If that was what they were after they’d have gotten their assistant to read it to them!

Research!

The first thing that you need to do is do your research. That starts with knowing the company, its products and whatever has been going on there recently. A good place to start is obviously their websites. What kind of websites do they build and manage? Do you know how they do everything they do? If not, you better make sure you brush up on your skills in the areas they seem to specialize in. Otherwise, there might be some awkward questions you can’t answer.

Don’t stop there, however. Also, Google the company and their work. Then you’ll also want to google whoever is doing the interview as well as the head of the web development team. If you can find other developers who have worked there or still do who you can reach out to, do so. Do make sure that you don’t put them in an uncomfortable position though.

“You’ll want to find out how the company works, what the interviewer and the head developer care about and what are things you shouldn’t do (many web developers and web developing companies have their own pet peeves),” Rosalie Carson, HR manager for Top Writers Review, explains.

Take all that information and put it in a document in some easy to understand format (i.e. bullet points or cliff notes). This will give you something to glance at when you lose the thread of your thoughts.

You’ll also want to write down any questions that you’ll come up with as you’re doing this research. These will be useful ammunition when they ask ‘do you have any questions?’ somewhere at the end of the interview. The great thing about good questions is that they can make you seem really on the ball even while you get to listen instead of talk.

Prepare for the Google

Before an interview people will google you. The truth is, they probably already have. Still, it’s always a good idea to go online and find out what the image that you’re presenting online is. And though it might be too late for this interview, you should still take the time to update and improve your resume and make certain that the newest information is there. They might google you again just before the interview, after all.

Check out what websites have been attributed to you as well. That’s what they’re going to know about and that’s what you’ll want to be able to talk about. Look at what you did well. Look at what didn’t work quite as well and have explanations ready in case they ask questions about it.

To see what interviewers will see, make sure you search incognito.

Get the next one set up

The best thing you can do for your nerves if you’ve got an interview set up is to make sure you’ve already got a few more possibilities in the pipeline. This will make sure that when you do sit down to the interview it doesn’t feel as much like a make or break situation and you’re going to find it less difficult to simply be your charming and winning self.

So, when you find out you have an interview double down and send out a bunch more resumes and cover letters. In this way, you’ll have that in your back pocket. And that will make things a lot easier.