How Are You Going to Prepare For Your Junior Backend Developer Interview?
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve hopefully scored a junior backend developer interview! That’s a massive win, but the road to your first job doesn’t end here: you need to prepare.
You might have learnt the skills to be a junior backend developer, but can you prove it? Everyone knows that being a developer can get you a big paycheque, so don’t expect this to be easy. You’re probably going up against some mean competition, but don’t worry. I’ve got your back.
The Interview Process
Your road to accepting the job offer is probably going to look quite simple at first. It might go something like this:
- Coding test
- First Interview
- Second interview
But when you break these down, you’re probably going to have to put some work in. Unless you’re just that good already.
How to Prepare: Coding Test
There are loads of ways that interviewers can test your coding skills. They can give you a digital test before they meet you. They can ask you to fix some code in front of them. Or they could even ask you to build them something.
Or, worst comes: they could ask you to do all three. Yikes.
So how do you prepare when you’re not sure what’s coming? You’ve got to practice.
- Take some HackerRank-style coding tests in your spare time to get used to coding under pressure.
- Log on to GitHub and have a crack at adding to random projects. This will give you some experience in jumping into things you don’t know and making changes.
- Practice writing code on a piece of paper – it might sound silly, but coding on paper or a whiteboard instead of a computer can throw you during interviews.
- Try speaking aloud while you code. When interviewers ask you to code in front of them, it’s because they want to find out how your brain works. Speaking about your thought process is essential. Try a rubber duck.
- Talk through your process and ask as many questions as you need. The interviewers aren’t trying to trick you, they want you to succeed.
- Even if you don’t manage to fix the issue or build a bug-free solution, please don’t panic. Your interviewers know that coding in front of other people can be hard – they’re not expecting perfection.
How to Prepare: Interviews
The trick to interviews is to remember that it’s just a conversation. And the main goal of most conversations is to give off a good impression. If your interviewer thinks that you’re a friendly person, they’re going to like you! It’s as easy as that.
They aren’t trying to trick you into saying the wrong thing: they want you to succeed as much as you do. It took me a while to learn that, but it’s true.
Your interviewer wants to find out:
- Whether you’ll be a good culture fit (AKA are you nice to be around).
- More about your experience and eduction.
- What your working style is like (do you take initiative? Are you independent? Can you work in a team?).
A great way to begin preparing is to practice answering some common questions. This GitHub article is a great start.
Acing The Culture Fit Test
Be nice. Smile. Look your interviewer in the eye (or look into the camera if you’re in a virtual interview). Try not to fidget. Try to laugh and create that mystical ‘rapport’.
And once you build that rapport… come back and tell me your secrets. Rapport is a mystery to me.
About Your Experience and Eduction
Be sure to touch on any projects you’re particularly proud of.
I would recommend brushing up on your general developer knowledge. Read some articles about the industry and take a free course. It might sound silly but you never know what fundamental developer knowledge you’ve lost over time. Our Software Development Training programme is built to help you ace your interview. Check it out here.
The All-Important Working Style
Remember to be humble when you’re talking about all of your amazing achievements. People don’t like a bragger, so focus on how you helped your team, not how you carried the project on your back with no problems.
Be sure to prepare some questions for your interviewers too. I like to use:
- What are the progression opportunities at this company?
- What are the key characteristics someone needs to be successful at your company?
Your questions reveal a lot about you. The first question is about progression, so it reveals that you’re interested in staying at the company long-term. Employers obviously love this. And the second question shows that you’re self-aware and conscious of being a great culture fit. Again, they should eat this right up.
Now That You Know How To Prepare For A Junior Backend Developer Interview…
Do you have a backup just in case? The DigitalGrads team specialises in junior tech jobs at exciting start-ups. Check out our jobs board today and get to impressing our employers with your interview skills!