Interviews are never the most pleasant experience, especially for those of you looking to become junior developers. So rather than adding to the already anxiety fulled experience, we have decided to lend a hand and comprise a handy list of interview advice from the obvious to the obscure.
Psst… no one enjoys interviews, so your best chances are to be fully prepared for any question that might arise. Whether it is your first interview or if you’re a pro, remember it’s equally as important what you think of the company as what they think of you!
I don’t think we can emphasize this enough. Regardless of what position you are applying for PREPARE!
At the very minimum, you’ll want to Google the company to get a clear idea of what the company does and what they expect of you.
Read the job description
As an extension from the last point – read the job description. It might seem fairly obvious but know what job you’re interviewing for and what they expect of you. You’ll be more confident if you have a clear idea of the tasks you might be doing and can use evidence from your previous experience.
Don’t waste your valuable time or the interviewers by going to an interview unprepared and unsure of the role. For the most common interview blunders and how to avoid them read our blog on ‘You’re way too good to be making these interview mistakes’
Okay, we’re not talking stalking – stalking, but it’s a good idea to look up the founder and key personnel on LinkedIn.
It shows good initiative when you pop up on their recently viewed list.
Prepare some questions
We’re all too familiar with that awkward moment at the end of an interview when you know you should ask a question, but every question you had prepared suddenly vanishes.
Make a note of a few questions which you could ask should that issue arise. Something like ‘what does a typical day look like?’ is a good example. Avoid questions that could’ve been answered with a quick Google, or with a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer.
Now for the specific stuff…
Be prepared to answer open-ended questions
Interviewers want to know how broad your knowledge is, so don’t be afraid to show off.
They might ask questions about your previous experience, any software development problems you have had to overcome or to talk through some methodology. It’s always a good idea to practice some of these answers so that they’re professional and concise.
Some examples of open-ended questions:
- What do you think agile means?
- How do you keep up to date with technology?
- What languages do you use and what do you like or dislike about them?
Prepare some answers to these kinds of questions and you’ll be able to showcase your interests, knowledge, and passion all at once.
Always have an opinion
Interviewers want to see that you’re passionate about the job; mature enough to handle it, and have the right personality to fit in with the team.
Be clear with your responses, but always be honest if you don’t know the answer to something.
It’s okay not to know every answer
Remember, you’re a junior. You’re not going to be expected to know everything. If you don’t know the answer – own it and be honest.
It’s okay to talk through your approach or think-aloud! Even if you don’t know the answer, approaching the question, and talking through your steps is a good way to show you’re proactive when faced with uncertainty.
Often interviewers will ask you questions to see how you tackle answering them, it’ s more about your methods than it is about getting the right answer. Thinking aloud, is allowed!
Expect Code Challenges
Before your interview, most employers will do a code challenge or dev-test (same thing). Coding challenges are very common in junior dev interviews. Some might involve coming up with the appropriate algorithm to solve a problem, others might focus on object-oriented concepts and designing a system. Either way, don’t panic. Employers are ultimately more concerned with your approach to problem-solving than the results.
If you get stuck… REMAIN CALM. Don’t get flustered, explain your next steps, and take your time. They want to see whether you can think logically so talk through your steps and you might find your way.
It is primarily the Code Review that employers are more interested in. This review allows the interviewer to see how you respond to feedback and how well you can handle constructive criticism.
There’s 4 very easy things you can do during this Code Review:
- Don’t get defensive! – try and understand where they are coming from, even if you might disagree with their statement.
- Listen to the feedback – think of this as a learning opportunity to receive personalised feedback from someone probably quite senior.
- Reflect aloud what it might look like if you implemented the feedback – this proves that you’re engaged in active listening (yes!) and putting the feedback in your own words means you’re more likely to remember it for next time!
- Ask questions??! – understand what worked well and what could be improved. They want to help you, so might as well make the most of them whilst they’re there!
Unfortunately, code/performance reviews will crop up periodically throughout your career, so I’m afraid to say you best get used to them!
Go into the interview prepared, speak calmly and slowly, and be yourself!
We all know interviews are never a particularly nice experience – we’ve all done them, including your interviewer, so be as confident and passionate as possible.
You’re there because they want to see if you’re a good fit for the company, but remember it’s also a chance to see if you like the company as well!
Thinking of a career as a Junior Developer?