How to prepare for a developer job interview

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How to prepare for a developer job interview

At Aquarium Software, we have hired our fair share of developers and can tell when a candidate has prepared for the interview. There is nothing more impressive than a candidate who has clearly done their homework, so we thought we would share some advice on what developers can do to boost their chances of hiring success.


1.   Have an online coding portfolio

Your CV might have got you through the door, but a portfolio really gives you the opportunity to demonstrate what you can do.  Is a coding portfolio essential for landing a software developer job? No – but it will almost certainly boost your chances. Your portfolio should host samples of your best work, including examples that are tailored to the company or industry you are interviewing for.  Having a portfolio can act as a great reference in an interview situation and is a great aid if you are a nervous interviewer.  If you do not know where to start, you can visit sites such as Github and Dribbble for inspiration.


2.   Practice your creative problem-solving skills

Problem-solving is one of the most important skills for a job in software development and employers might be tempted to put you on the spot with a few conundrums. The interviewer will probably ask you about your competency at solving problems (e.g., tell us a problem you had and the creative way in which you solved it), but do not be surprised if they also throw a few hypothetical situations your way.  You should attend the interview with a few problem-solving examples, but if a scenario is thrown at you, one good process to follow is:

  • Explain the problem out loud.
  • Identify any potential barriers.
  • Examine the pros and cons of different solutions.
  • Illustrate the benefits of your chosen solution.

Interviewers are not looking for a ‘right’ answer, they just want to see that you have the creativity that a developer needs.


3.   Read up on popular developer interview questions

Every candidate will have faced popular interview questions and some of these are ubiquitous across all industries. Before any developer interview, we would strongly recommend looking up common role-specific questions and preparing some ready-made answers.

Some popular developer interview questions may include:

  • What is your process for finding bugs?
  • What is one programming problem you’ve encountered and how did you solve it?
  • Are you working on any projects outside of work?
  • What programming languages are you most comfortable with?
  • How do you communicate technical information to non-technical stakeholders?

Preparing answers for these questions in advance will make you feel more relaxed and allow you to appear confident during the interview.


4.   Research the company

While this is pretty standard job interview advice for any vacancy in any industry, it is especially important for technical IT workers to do their homework on the company they are applying to. You want to be able to put all your answers within the context of the company.  If you can find any software projects that they are working on or have already launched, do not be afraid to refer to them in your answers. Do not forget their competitors too. You want to demonstrate that you have an understanding of their whole market, as this implies you will be able to bring a wider breadth of knowledge to the role.

Job interviews can be daunting, especially if you are applying for a technical position – but if you put in the time, you can go into the interview with confidence and will have the upper hand over other applicants.  As they say, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail!’  If you’re currently looking for a job in development, visit our careers page and find out if we have any opportunities available.

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