I interview web developers. Here’s how to impress me.

Brandon Gregory
Nov 8, 2016 · 5 min read

Don’t just know what — know why.

So you know every tag in HTML 5. Great. Do you know why you’d use an article instead of a section? You’ve studied up on AngularJS, but can you list a good real-world use case on an average project?

Be a king or queen of the basics, not a jack of all technologies.

I talk with a lot of developers who list Angular, Ember, React, or other fancy JavaScript libraries among their technical skills. That’s great, but can you turn that mess of functions the junior developer wrote into a custom extensible object that we can use on other projects, even if we don’t have the extra room for hefty libraries? Can you code an image slider with vanilla JavaScript so we don’t have to add jQuery to an older website just for one piece of functionality? Can you tell me what recursion is and give me a real-world example?

Know how to solve business problems, not just technical problems.

Come in with at least one example where you helped meet a business objective in a way that no one else could. Good developers follow processes, but great developers can identify problems with existing processes. Good developers give the client the solution they want, but great developers suggest new solutions to reduce project costs and timelines. Where have you gone beyond the initial request?

Know what you need to work on.

Ask a street fighter what he needs to improve about his fighting style and you won’t get a solid answer; but ask Rhonda Rousey what she needs to improve and you’ll get a very specific, very real weakness that she’s aware of and working on fixing. True masters of their craft are acutely aware of their shortcomings and the gaps in their knowledge. It’s the amateurs who don’t have any weaknesses.

Know what you want.

I’m amazed how many developers I talk to that just want a job. Not a good job. Not a job with ample room for growth. Just any job. This is a big red flag for me because it shows me that you hold no loyalty to this company and job, and will jump ship at a moment’s notice because you don’t know what you want until you see it. I even talk to developers who will change what they want after they hear the job description. (That doesn’t work, by the way.)

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Brandon Gregory

Written by

Brandon, a technical architect in the Midwest, spends spare time writing, playing music, and daydreaming about equality and tolerance. AuthorBrandonGregory.com

Frontend Weekly

It's really hard to keep up with all the front-end development news out there. Let us help you. We hand-pick interesting articles related to front-end development. You can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter at http://frontendweekly.co