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Ace Your Developer Interview

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Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
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Congrats! A client wants to interview you. Now what? It’s time to prep for it and learn possible ways to make a great first impression.

 

Let’s take a look at some common types of questions and interview styles, why clients ask these questions, and ideas to answer them.  

 

Questions About Your Experience

Potential clients may ask you to recall a past work experience to better understand how you act in various situations. Even if you aren’t asked to recall an example, drawing from concrete examples instills credibility.

 

Martin from DownloadCentral shares, “I like to leave as much blank as possible to better experience the freelancer’s motivation and ability to think independently.”

 

Why clients ask them: Interviewers often believe that past experiences indicate how you’ll act in the future. How will you collaborate with the client to meet their needs? Will you follow through and complete the work? These questions can help a client gauge how you’ll partner with them and achieve results.

 

What clients look for: communication skills, confidence, integrity, enthusiasm for the company’s mission and the work, professional maturity

 

Example question: Why are you the best developer to handle this job?

Example answer: I have specific expertise in [key requirement]. It’s similar to [previous project] where I had to [list specific example]. That project taught me that it’s important to [insight about something they should consider when executing the project].

 

Technical Questions

These questions are designed to assess your skills as a developer. Depending on the technical expertise of the interviewer, questions can range from high-level problem-solving to specific programming questions.

 

Sandip from GoGetFunding shares, “I ask them to take a look at a website of mine and give me their thoughts on what they think could be improved. In addition to thinking along the same lines as me, I love it when they go above and beyond and point out improvements they could make that I hadn’t even thought of.”

 

Why clients ask them: to validate that you have the skills to realize their vision

 

What clients look for: understanding of computer science concepts, problem-solving skills, and/or specifics on key programming languages and frameworks required for the job

 

Example question: Write an algorithm that returns the primes in the first 1,ooo numbers.

 

 

Coding Exercises

The client might ask you to solve a problem in real-time via screen sharing.

 

Why clients do them: They want you to “show not tell.” It’s a quick way to test run what it might be like to work with you.

 

What clients look for: critical thinking, communication skills, personality, and how you approach writing clean, maintainable code

 

Sample coding exercises:

  1. Design and implementation: design, create requirements, and implement key elements of the project. Can you carry a project through end-to-end?
  2. Bug fixing: They provide you with code for a project with a failing test case and ask you to fix it. How would you manage an unfamiliar code base?

 

How to approach it: You may want to ask clarifying questions and communicate your thought process as you’re working to solve the problem. It may help to slow down, draw things out, and make assumptions to simplify the problem.

 

 

Tips for Success

Remember, for all of these questions, the client is assessing whether they can rely on you to complete the project and be compatible with their work style.

 

  • Back up your statements with concrete examples. It helps to brainstorm and practice five great stories you can use to answer different questions.
  • Over-communicate as you’re solving the problem and don’t rush to the answer. This gives the interviewer insights into your thought process.
  • Ask them questions about their company and project. It shows you’re interested and think critically about their vision.

 

Lastly, don’t forget to be yourself and have some fun with it. This will hopefully be the first of many conversations with your client. Good luck!

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