by Hristina Efinska

When hiring a web developer, you need to find the most suitable candidate with strong technical experience. However, it is also very important that the web developer you want to hire possesses a set of basic soft skills. Acquiring a web developer on your team, who has not only the technical abilities to get the work done but is an ongoing person with excellent communication skills, is the key that might bring success to your business. 

During a time when many IT companies have the “work from home” policy, abilities like clear and tactful communication with colleagues within or outside of the department who are also remote can determine whether someone fits for the job position.

Below you can find several questions that you can ask your candidate when hiring a web developer at a job interview:

1. Ask the candidates to explain to you a project they have worked on and the approach they took from start to finish.

Interview questions for a web developer’s position will help you learn more about the candidates’ work mindset — how they are gathering requirements, solving problems, managing user feedback, handling QA, and collaborating in a team setting. This way, you can also see whether they pay close attention to user experience.

2. Do some roleplay. Pretend you are a tech novice and ask the candidates to explain something in plain English.

Your candidate will likely work closely with other departments of your company. In other words, they will need to communicate effectively with their colleagues who are not tech-savvy, such as colleagues from marketing, sales, corporate communications, and other company areas. Ask the candidate to describe a topic all web developers should be familiar with, and look for their ability to communicate in non-tech terms. Some concepts to choose from are: Microservice architecture, AWS/Azure, Responsive design, MVC model, APIs, etc.

It would be of great help if you ask them to compare web development-related terms, for instance, to make a distinction between UI and UX or between front-end and back-end, depending on the candidate experience.

3. Ask if they have ever given a presentation.

The web developer you hire will play an important role in your company, so public speaking is a must-have skill. You will want to hire someone who feels comfortable when giving a presentation. And bonus points will definitely go to those who have spoken in front of large non-tech groups. After the presentation, ask them some follow up questions on how they gathered and organized information, and what they did to keep their audience’s attention. 

4. Ask them to name a website or app that annoys them and let them describe what was wrong with it.

Here is how to get an insight into your candidate’s awareness of current issues in web development, as well as their problem-solving abilities. We consider the right answer to be the one where they do more than just gripe about someone else’s work. They also need to offer real solutions to practical issues.

5. Find out what they do when an application stops working.

Problem-solving is at the very core of web development, so pay attention to how candidates talk about fixing things that go awry. Do they prefer to break down the situation and analyze potential causes? Are they able to ask for help when needed, and do they know where to find answers? How do they respond if their initial idea for a solution does not work out? 

6. Make them tell you about a time they have had to respond to negative feedback.

Your candidate will have to deal with many comments from beta testers and actual users of your product. The web developer you are looking for needs to know how to take that feedback, analyze it, and turn it into an action step. Listen to them and, if needed, ask them how they would walk through the issue and arrive at a conclusion.

7. Ask if they have ever been blamed for something that was not their fault.

This is a very challenging question. However, it is a good way of catching the candidate’s attitude towards teamwork. If your candidate is quick to throw a team member under the bus, that is a red alert. You need to hire a diplomatic person who does not get frustrated quickly and concentrates on working toward a solution.

8. Find out what was the biggest challenge of working on the front end of an application.

Your candidate would have worked closely with the rest of the development team. Find out if they understand how data is structured, what functions are available, how APIs are called, and how web services are configured. The chosen candidates should be capable of discussing the entire development lifecycle. They also need to show an understanding of where do they fit in. These inquiries will help you find out if you are talking to a web developer or a web designer who has a little Java knowledge.

9. Ask them to tell you about the projects they are working on (or have worked on) in their spare time.

Technology is moving fast. Therefore, when hiring a web developer, you need to be aware that you are looking for someone who invests some of their spare time in growing their skills and staying on top of current trends. Your candidate should be able to discuss their personal projects (past or present), and if possible, show you some of their work.

10. Ask what APIs have they worked with.

All applicants should have worked with APIs, at least for well-known commercial services, like those offered by Twitter, Slack, Dropbox, and the APIs suite that Google offers. The candidate you choose to join your team should demonstrate knowledge on API functions and should know how to integrate results into their design. Bonus points would go for the candidate that has helped to develop and document their own APIs. They need to be able to talk about how they worked with the development team to create secure and useful interfaces.

11. Find out what do they think will be the biggest trends in future web development.

This is an excellent open-ended topic you can begin when hiring a web developer. Your candidate may talk about technologies like Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages technology, Motion UI, AI-powered customer service chatbots, voice search, emerging cybersecurity threats, or advanced analytics techniques. Notice what they focus on and ask them about their genuine opinion on how this will improve, for example, user experience, what kind of challenges this technology brings, and how they would integrate the latest technology with their current work. By doing so, you can also find out whether they have the basic five personality traits that every web developer must possess.

12. Try and discover their SQL skills.

Maybe the web developer you currently need in your team does not interact directly with a database, but they must understand how data is structured. Any practical SQL experience, such as having worked as a database administrator, is highly valuable. 

13. Ask them what the most significant difference between developing for mobile and desktop is.

As you know, the most significant portion of your users browse on mobile, but the majority of the development work happens on a desktop. Your perfect candidate should know how to develop for both. They need to be able to name some crucial differences, such as screen size, touch input, limited multitasking, and variation in browser plug-ins. Candidates must know how to create a great user experience on any platform.

14. Show them a code, and ask them to find the error in it.

When hiring a web developer, try not to ask your candidate to write code by hand during an interview, because it is not an ideal setting for code-writing. We suggest you show your candidate a piece of code — such as a Java class and the JavaScript that invokes it — with some strategic errors in it and ask the candidate to debug it. This is a quick way to check their technical knowledge and find out their attention to detail.

While hiring a web developer at Cosmic Development, these 14 questions help us narrow down our list of candidates to those with the best technical qualities and strong interpersonal skills. For us, hiring candidates with balanced skills has been a great way to get ahead of hiring high-quality web developers in recent years. Using staff augmentation, we select top-notch developers and create high-performing dedicated teams for our clients and business partners. We can hire the most suitable candidates for you. Let us know by clicking here.