As a front-end developer, it’s inevitable that you will encounter a front-end technical interview (or ten). Unfortunately the process for a front-end development interview can be a bit unclear, and will vary from company to company. Having a solid understanding of the process will help you feel more comfortable in your interviews. Interviewing is a skill that takes practice, but having insight into the process can calm your nerves. So let’s take a look at the front-end development interview process and learn some tips to have successful interviews.
I’ve had many front-end job interviews. In fact, interviewing is a skill that most people take for-granted, and front-end development interviews are some of the most difficult interviews out there.
In my experience, while interviewing for jobs all over the United States, as well as Germany, this is the general interview process for most companies.
So let’s break down the different components of a front-end development interview.
The cultural interview is often candidate’s first impression within a company, so don’t take these interviews lightly. Although typically cultural interviews aren’t as terrifying as coding interviews, interviewers can make or break your application.
Most likely this interview will be run by a recruiter. They may, or may not, have development experience, but they should be able to have an intelligent conversation about front-end technologies.
It’s important to truly impress your recruiter because their opinion could have massive impact on your application. If you make it to the second or third round of interviews, and the company is “on-the-fence” about pushing you through, the recruiter might be your biggest advocate. So be sure to impress.
Typically cultural interviews start with “So tell me about yourself.” It’s imperative to have a well thought out response to this question.
For example, let’s examine two responses:
You can see that Max was clearly unprepared for this question and doesn’t seem like the type of person who, when put on the spot, can eloquently handle the situation.
With Paige, however, she is much more well-spoken. Not only was she able to succinctly sum up her experience, but her responses elicited emotion and pride in regards to her previous roles. Plus, throwing in a line or two about her hobbies gives insight into the type of person she is.
Ahh the dreaded coding interview. Personally, this was always the most nerve-wracking part of the process.
I don’t do well when I’m put on the spot. If you ask me to pseudo code merge sort, there’s a good chance I’ll stare at you as if you just spoke Pig Latin. However, ask me to build you a website and I’ll kick-ass.
Lucky for you, there are a TON of online resources for “Cracking the Coding Interview.” Yet, it’s important not just to memorize the answers, but understand WHY the answers are correct.
I’m not going to give you a list of example coding questions you might receive; I’ll link a few of my favorite resources down below for you to check out.
But let’s quickly take a look at the top subject areas you should be familiar with.
This list is a living document, so if I missed anything feel free to leave a comment!
I know it’s a lot to master, however if you practice a little every day, you’ll work your way there!
There are several websites which can help you prepare for your coding interviews. I’ll list my favorites in the resources down below!
Some jobs may not require you to complete a take home challenge. But if they do, it’s your chance to showcase your awesome development skills without the pressure of being watched.
The type of take home challenge may vary. You might get a simple “Create a to-do list application” prompt. This is a great challenge because it allows you to use a JS framework, if you so choose, but can also be done with vanilla JS. Plus, it’s not too time consuming to complete.
You might get a link to a General Assembly challenge that you have to complete online. These are occasionally timed, but try not to let that freak you out.
Or, you may get asked to recreate a piece of the company’s application.
Whatever the challenge is, do your best and write clean code. Here’s the process I usually follow for take home challenges.
If the answer to any of these is no, you might want to go back and re-work a few things.
If you’ve made it this far in the process, CONGRATULATIONS!!!
You are a badass, and this company knows it! Here are a few things to keep in mind if you receive an offer:
You are a superstar and you will have to trudge through some painful interviews to find the job of your dreams!
“You’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”
All great things in life take time. Do not get discouraged and do not give up. Remember that the industry leaders also had to go through this same process. Everyone has to start somewhere.
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