7 questions to ask during a web developer job interview
You’ll want to understand how teams collaborate and how the QA process works, among other things.
So the company called you in for a web development job interview. Congrats!
Of course you’ll want to ask the usual interview questions about what success looks like and what the top priorities are for the position, but be sure to ask several job-specific questions as well. After the interview, you should have a good understanding of what your day-to-day role would be, the firm's processes to handle workflow and quality, and its approach to conflict resolution, says Karl Sakas, president of Agency Firebox in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The questions that follow should give you a better sense of whether the employer is the right fit for you.
“If a project goes over its budget or deadline, who tells the client?”
In smaller firms, web developers are often responsible for communicating with clients, Sakas says. “This takes web developers away from creating websites and also increases the chance that they'll get interrupted during the day with client requests.”
If you’re interviewing at a larger organization that says web developers have to communicate with clients, it could be a sign that they don't understand your need for uninterrupted blocks of time to be fully productive, Sakas says. “It's also a red flag that the company doesn't understand that development and client service are very different skillsets.”
However, if client communication is something you like doing, this also gives you a chance to highlight that to your advantage.
“What's the latest process change you implemented in response to feedback from developers?”
Answers to this question will help show whether the company is dedicated to continuous improvement or just does things the way they've always been done, Sakas says. “If the interviewer can't think of an example, it may be a red flag that the company will be a frustrating place to work,” she says. It may also be a sign that the company doesn't value developers' strategic insights.”
“What’s your QA process?”
Companies without a quality assurance process tend to produce buggy apps and websites, Salakas says. As a result, there may be a lot of late-night work sessions in your future as you work to fix problems.
Companies that value QA tend to have fewer crises, because the team finds most problems before they go live. Look for answers that show a strong methodology that’s integrated into the development process instead of getting tacked on at the end, and a good balance of automated and manual testing.
“What kind of cross-functional teamwork and team-building does the company do?”
Smaller companies such as tech startups may need employees to wear multiple hats from time to time, and you’ll want to know if the employer helps you do that effectively. Philadelphia-based career coach Julie Mendez recommends asking this question to find out what the company does to help employees collaborate and work together more effectively. Look for a response that gives you examples of how the entire team pitches in; if the answer is vague, you may find yourself on your own in your new role when faced with unfamiliar tasks.
“How do the design and development teams work together?”
Web developers need to be involved in a website project during the design phase, says Simon Ensor, managing director of the London-based digital agency Yellowball. Doing so can help prevent scope creep and provide more accurate time estimates for development. Ensor says questions like this one also show that the candidate is thinking about the whole team instead of just focusing on their own role.
“What kind of professional development opportunities do you offer?”
Training is important in the development industry, says Alan Canton of NewMedia Create in Fair Oaks, California. Keeping up with new technologies is vital for staying relevant. Find out what kind of opportunities you’ll have to learn different platforms, and whether the company will send you to seminars or conferences. In addition, ask if there’s a budget for online code tutorials, for example, but keep in mind the amount may vary by company size.
“What is the company’s approach to diversity?”
Tech companies and IT departments often skew young and male. Ask If it’s important to you to work in a more diverse environment, ask whether the company strives for a diverse workforce, and what kind of steps it takes to create one.