10 Frequently Asked Questions in Web-Developer Interviews

By Kathleen Taylor, Bud E. Smith

So you got the web developer interview! You’re getting ready for a phone screen, or a series of sit-down, on-site interviews at the company location where you hope to be working soon. What are they going to ask you?

What is your greatest strength?

This question is always “in the air” in a job interview, whether or not it’s asked explicitly.

Take the question to mean, “What is your greatest strength? Why? Please give an example of how it’s shown up in your recent work or personal life.” Answer each of those questions, briefly, and then stop talking.

When you provide a greatest strength, it should be work-relevant if possible. Whether the strength seems like something that’s work-relevant, answer the implied question, “Why?” in a work-relevant way.

What is your greatest weakness?

It’s common for an interviewer to throw this in near the end of an interview, and it feels like an attempt to trip you up.

There are two things to avoid when answering this question. First, don’t give a deeply personal answer. The second is to not try to turn the question around with a ridiculously positive answer.

Think of an actual weakness that really does affect you at work. Then describe the things you do that keep it from being a problem — and which, in and of themselves, are good habits that make you a better employee.

Why do you want to leave your current company?

This is one of the trickiest questions for many people.

Don’t only answer this question in terms of how great the new company is, without any reference to your current employer. That could make your employer think that you’d be willing to leave even if it does all it can.

The easiest answers to this question, if they happen to be true, relate to obvious differences between the two as places of work — preferring a small company to a big one, or the opposite; strong salary and benefits versus a poor compensation package; use of newer technologies versus long-established ones; an exciting project versus a less exciting operational role.

Tell us about an accomplishment you’re proud of

Think of an actual accomplishment you’re proud of — and make sure it’s work-related. If you answer, “my children,” or something similar, you might really put off a work-oriented interviewer.

Don’t give a one-word answer. Talk about the accomplishment; how you made it happen; what skills you showed; and relate it to something you expect to do or face at the company where you’re interviewing.

Tell us about a problem and how you handled it

Describe a work-related problem and how you resolved it. Also describe the skills you showed and relate the issue to something that you know of at the company where you’re interviewing.

Your interviewer will probably think of several relevant issues at the workplace that you won’t yet have had the opportunity to learn about. You might even ask the interviewer if he or she has had a similar experience to what you’ve described; the answer could be quite informative.

Why do you want to work at our company?

Use the information and approach that you developed to answer the previous commonly asked question, “Why do you want to leave your current company?” to prepare for this one.

If you’re asked this question directly, have perhaps three reasons ready. They should cover opportunities for growth, cultural fit, or technical interest.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

The idea behind the question is just to get a feel for how you think of yourself going forward.

What makes a question like this difficult to answer, if you’re surprised by it, is the invitation inherent in the question to think beyond the job actually being offered to you.

Also inherent in the question is whether you see yourself on a technical track, growing in ability and knowledge.

This question is only likely to be useful to you if you think through your answer beforehand.

Are you willing to relocate?

You may believe at the moment that there’s nothing that would ever inspire you to move, and in some situations that’s true. If so, you should say that you’re highly unlikely to want to relocate.

On the other hand, if you’d be perfectly happy to relocate, you don’t want to sound too eager. The current hiring managers might want you around for awhile before you consider looking off to greener pastures.

If you consider yourself unlikely to relocate, but are aware that a great offer might tempt you, an answer like this one is appropriate: “I’m not looking to relocate anytime soon, and I really like this area. However, I’m pretty excited about future opportunities with this company, and if the right offer came up down the road, I might be willing to consider it.”

Are you willing to travel?

If you can’t travel at all, due to family, health, or other considerations, say so. You don’t want to take a job and then lose it soon after because you can’t meet a basic job requirement.

If you dislike traveling, or it’s inconvenient for you, say that you’re willing to travel up to about one week a month. This is a level of inconvenience that many professionals have to put up with, and it does have some perks.

Do you have any questions for us?

You want to have some questions ready for this — two or three is a good number. Here are some questions that may be relevant to you:

  • Tell me more about the tools and technologies used here.

  • Is this a new position, or are you replacing someone who’s leaving?

  • Why did you open this position now? (Or, can you share about why the previous person is leaving? Be aware that you might not get a truthful or full answer.)

  • What brought you to this company?

  • What makes you happiest about working here?