You’ve just put the phone down on the hiring manager. It’s good news. You’ve been invited for an interview for a new developer job – and it’s one you really want. Well played - you’ve done well. You've done something right to stand out from the crowd.

But, it’s not job done yet. You still have to ace that interview.In this article, we’ll look at how excellent developers can show their skills and passion for their craft in an interview situation.

Research, research, research

The more you know about the company you’re trying to join and the role you’re trying to get, the better you will come across at interview.

Read as much as you can about the company. Try to make connections between how they operate and your skills – it will help you answer the interviewer’s questions better. If nothing else, it shows that you’re genuinely interested in the job. You should also study the job description and link your skills and experiences to every line of it.

But also, go one step further. Find out everything you can about the person who is interviewing you. Go on their LinkedIn and Twitter. Find out who they know and what makes them tick. You may have mutual connections that you can bring up. Perhaps the interviewer writes a blog – if so, go and read it. Then, make sure they know you’ve read it when you sit down with them!

Preparation is key

During your research, try to anticipate the questions you think the interviewer will ask you.You can generally divide software developer interview questions into two groups – experience and technical.

An example of an experience question is, ‘Tell me about a time you had to respond to a piece of negative feedback.’ When they ask questions like this, what they’re looking for is a story. So, make sure you have one ready to go. You need a short, clear description, that walks the interviewer through the problem and shows them how you arrived at a conclusion, and what you learned from it. If you have a portfolio of work to offer, try to link your answers to your portfolio.

Technical questions should (hopefully) relate to the skills you need to perform the job you’re interviewing for. So you may be asked to:

  • Identify coding errors
  • Solve problems based on algorithms
  • Talk about the differences between coding languages

Make sure you prepare to answer these questions clearly and precisely. Remind yourself about the basics of development. Even if it’s not something you do every day, you may still get asked about it.

Be yourself

Remember that your interviewer is looking for someone who will fit in well with the existing team. They will want to see passion, personality and a little bit of something different that makes you stand out from the crowd. This can be a bit of a balancing act. You don’t want to come across as a chatterbox, but one-word answers will get you nowhere!

Some more dos and don’ts in an interview:

  • Do show enthusiasm for software development
  • Do blow your own trumpet – refer to actual successful projects you’ve been involved with
  • Don’t lie – or try to wing answers to technical questions
  • Don’t be too honest about your bad points (they’ll find those out soon enough when they employ you!)
  • Don’t badmouth your current or former employers

Know your worth

Your interview will likely ask about the salary you’re looking for. This is another balancing act; you don’t want to undersell yourself or price yourself out of the market.

Research regional salary ranges for the job you’re interviewing for.

Ask questions

Most interviews end with the interviewer asking if you have any questions for them. Make sure you have some prepared. Prepare as many as you can, as sometimes the interview will answer your questions, and you need something for when that time comes.

Asking questions shows that you are interested in the job and that you have put some thought into the process. It also helps you clarify more about the role and whether it’s right for you.

The end of the interview is also an excellent chance to show a few of your sales skills. Ask them how they thought it went, and what the next steps are.

Bonus tips

Here are some final tips for interview success:

  • Get there early – better to be a little early and go for a quick coffee than rush in late and sweating because you got lost!
  • Relax – you got this interview because they saw something they liked, so think positive
  • Don’t panic if something goes wrong – no one is perfect, just do your best to win it round in the rest of the interview
  • Remember, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you – you may find out something you don’t like during your interview. Maybe it wasn’t your dream job, after all?
  • If you don’t get it, don’t lose heart – there’s plenty more fish in the sea. Developers are in high demand

Good luck!

Find out more from Haystack

If you’re an ambitious software developer, another place you need to visit is Haystack.

Haystack brings you smart job matching that actually works. Instead of getting bombarded by recruiters on email and LinkedIn, why not let the best employers in the industry come to you?

Download Haystack and let top tech employers apply to you.

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