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Why this matters:

Depending on the candidate’s level of seniority, the number and the types of languages they should know will increase. At the same time, an ideal candidate does not have to be an expert in every language — especially if a given program is not relevant to the day-to-day work of the role. They can and probably will learn more on the job.

What to listen for:

  • A baseline of technical coding skills, like HTML, CSS, SQL, PHP, Ruby, Python, and JavaScript
  • An interest in learning, and actively developing, new skills

Why this matters:

First and foremost, this question screens for technical experience. But it also helps you assess the candidate’s ability to communicate. Not only will web developers have to work with other team members (designers, sales personnel, account managers), but they may have to guide clients through processes as well. Being able to do this effectively is a sign of a qualified candidate.

What to listen for:

  • A thorough understanding of this important coding language
  • Use of simple terms, avoidance of jargon, and being careful not to talk too fast to ensure they get their point across

Why this matters:

From this question, you’ll be able to glean the candidate’s awareness of the industry, as well as their appreciation for the nuances of good websites and development. Top web developers are always thinking like a developer when they look at other sites, so they should have no problem pointing to one they consider top-notch.

What to listen for:

  • Answers that discuss specific development concepts like load times, user experience, mobile capabilities, navigation, and usability
  • A true passion for web development, even when discussing websites that they didn’t develop

Why this matters:

At some point or another, web developers will run into walls. Whether it’s a piece of broken code or a bug in the system, obstacles are an inherent part of the job. This question will help you understand how the candidate solves problems. Do they work through until it’s fixed? Do they step away from the computer to gather their thoughts? Do they ask for help?

What to listen for:

  • Ample experience of working through difficult situations with keen problem-solving skills
  • Signs the candidate can overcome challenges with patience and a positive attitude

Why this matters:

Even candidates who adore their jobs will love some aspects of the work more than others. This question can provide a glimpse into the kind of websites they like to create and how passionate they are about the field. It also allows you to assess the candidate’s development process and working style.

What to listen for:

  • Details of the candidate’s preferences and why they enjoy that type of work
  • Indications that the candidate is deeply passionate about their job, such as an enthusiastic tone and energetic hand gestures

Why this matters:

Not every website that a web developer creates will be universally loved. Your new hire will at times receive criticism from team members, clients, and even website users, and they must be comfortable with that. An ideal candidate not only faces these scenarios with patience and professionalism, but sees them as opportunities to improve.

What to listen for:

  • How the candidate used that criticism to devise and execute a solution
  • A dismissive answer may be a red flag, indicating that the candidate doesn’t receive feedback well

Why this matters:

Web development is one of the fastest-changing fields in technology. Many concepts from as little as five years ago have become obsolete, and many of today’s skills will become outdated in the next few years, so a commitment to continuous learning is a must-have skill for web developers. This question can help you test for that.

What to listen for:

  • Passionate discussion of favorite programming websites, thought leaders, blogs, and authors they follow
  • An interest in taking classes to regularly update their skills

Why this matters:

A candidate is likely to mention a skill that they themselves possess, so this question will give you insight into their aptitude and how they view themselves. But perhaps more importantly, it shows their values and whether they’re thoughtful and reflective in their approach to their chosen career.

What to listen for:

  • Answers that align with the values your company stands for
  • Responses that highlight traits like teamwork, leadership, skills, or patience

Why this matters:

This question helps you test for teamwork. Some web developers like working in groups. Others like to sit down and do their work alone. Both preferences are valid, but even if a developer is more independent, you’ll want to see what they’re like in a collaborative scenario, especially if that’s a common ask at your company.

What to listen for:

  • Evidence that the candidate is comfortable working in a team, even if they prefer to work alone
  • Awareness of the need for collaboration and agility when working with other developers on a project
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