This article was originally published at https://www.blog.duomly.com/job-interview-tips-for-developers/
The job interview is something challenging for many people because you have to go to the meeting with your future employer personally in most cases. Besides that, you never know what kind of questions you can hear and what answer will be the best.
Although the technical part is important and depends on your hard skills, sometimes it happens that even an experienced developer may not pass the interview because of the soft skills and lack of preparation for the other part of the interview.
But no worries, it’s possible to prepare yourself for the questions from the non-technical part of the interview.
There are some common ones, which are asked by many people who decide if they want to hire you or not. Those questions are mostly about you, your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and behavior in different difficult situations.
In this article, I’d like to cover the most common questions and answers for the interview's non-technical part as a developer. Besides that, I’ll try to help you find a way to decrease your nervousness, as it may bring a lot of damage to the result of your interview.
Those who prefer to watch the video instead of reading, join me at our Youtube channel, where I’ve gone a video for you about the same topic.
Tell me about yourself is actually one of the first questions asked during the non-technical job interview. And it’s kind of natural because your interlocutor doesn’t know much about you, besides what’s written in your resume, so from my point of view, it’s understandable.
This question may also sound a little bit different, like walk me through your experience, and it’s still all about the same.
But what’s the best answer to this question? What kind of information should you highlight and about what it’s better not to talk about?
Obviously, the question is about your career, and you need to answer it from your career point of view and keep your personal details to yourself. There is a simple formula that you can use to answer this question, and it’s about structuring your answer in the present, past, and future.
First, talk about the present time, tell about your current role or what you are currently doing in your professional life, tell about your responsibilities and skills you are using in the current position, and you can also mention your recent accomplishments.
Next, go to the past. In this part of the answer, tell the interviewer how you got to the current position and describe your previous experience relevant to the job you are currently applying for.
And the last part is the future, where you should describe your future goals, what you’d like to achieve in the future, and how the position you are applying for is useful. You can also mention why you are a good fit for the position you are applying for.
When preparing the answer to this question, remember it’s not the only way you can create it.
It’s worth remembering that you need to make the answers suitable to the position you are applying for and keep it professional but positive.
It’s a great idea to practice before the interview a few different ways you’d like to describe yourself, to feel confident enough on the interview day.
Here, I’ve got for you an example answer for the software engineer position.
Currently, I’m working at XYZ, where I’m a regular frontend developer, working on one of the most popular world e-commerce platforms, using technologies like Typescript and Angular 9. The team I’m part of is responsible for improving user experience, which means I need to work closely with UX designers and pay a lot of attention to the platform's user journey.
In the past 5 years, I worked in companies startups and software houses, where I was able to get a wide knowledge about the newest technologies used in front-end development and learn how to solve different problems, which are a big part of programmer work. I think this makes me a great fit for your company as well.
Although I’m quite happy with my current role, I feel that it’s time to go into a new career path and develop my back-end skills, in the beginning, using the programming language I already know. That’s why I applied for this Node.js developer position in your company, and it makes me exciting that I can use my new skills and create awesome things.
The other popular topic covered during non-technical interviews is a question about your strengths and weaknesses. Your future employers would like to know more about you, and what good and bad sides you can see in yourself.
When you hear the question about your strengths and weaknesses, it’s really not a reason to feel stressed about answering this question. As with the previous question, it’s important to tell the truth, and prepare for this kind of question and think of some weaknesses and strengths that may seem right to tell about them during the interview.
Many people thinking about the strengths feel a little bit wired and try to downgrade their skills and positive sides, not to seem too bragging.
To make sure you separate good strengths, think about your personal skills and personality traits that can be useful in your work or following the company mission or vision.
The good examples of strengths you could mention as a software engineer are:
creativity - which helps to think outside fo the box and find a good solution in every situation;
teamwork - as a good team member, you can work with the team, help others, and discuss different solutions;
patience - you have enough patient to dig deep enough to find a solution for the problem you face, even if it doesn’t come in a second;
enthusiasm and flexibility - you are positive to changes that you focus on your work, and you are happy to try different technologies and tools available;
Those are just examples, so you know in which direction you should look to find your strengths. Remember that it’s a good idea to say a few words about how it helps you in your current or previous job.
Weaknesses are also a hard topic for many people. They are scared not to show their incompetence or any bad personal traits, which can cross out your chances for the job.
And in this case, it’s also a good idea to plan the answer as well. Let me show you some example of weaknesses that you could talk about during the interview:
focusing on technology too much - it happens to me that I spend too much time focusing on selecting the technology, which sometimes is not so essential for the project or the company;
I have troubles to say no - very often I’m taking tasks of my colleagues, as it’s difficult for me to say „no” to others, even if I don’t have time to do it until the deadline;
difficulty in asking for help - I feel bad asking others for help, as it seems to me that I show that I’m not competent enough to do my job;
could have more experience in communication - I could get more experience in clear communication within the team and people skills overall;
When talking about the weaknesses, it’s good to mention that you need to improve or you already took action to improve any of them.
I hope the above examples will help you to define your strengths and weaknesses. The most important is to think about it before the interview, especially when it’s one of the most common questions during the interview, and you can actually predict it.
From the manager's point of view, it’s very important to know what motivates you to do your job and you can. When they have the information, they can know if the company can motivate you and if you are a good fit for the company.
For this question, you can think of the answers like:
an interesting project that allows you to show your expertise and create something awesome what will be used to improve peoples life or at least companies functionality;
teamwork and feeling of the common goal with the team, as when you feel that all of you are working on something, it makes you work faster, and better to be as efficient as others in the team and you don’t want to fail others;
being appreciated by teammates and managers, and feeling that I’m an important part of the company, and my works really mean something;
developing my skills allows me to feel that I’m growing and not sitting in one place even though I’m still in one company, I like to have different tasks, so I’m not stuck on one action for the next few years;
Again, the above answers are just examples that aim to show you how to define your motivation and make it a good answer for the What motivates you interview question.
During every interview, the interviewer gives you a few minutes to ask questions about the position, company, etc. And it’s really worth using this time to find out anything that may be interesting for you and show your interest in the company.
Avoiding asking questions may seem to an interviewer that you are not too excited about the position, and you just don’t care.
I know that many people may just not know what they should ask about, that’s why I’ve got a small list of questions, which can help you.
- What are the professional development opportunities in the company?
- What are the daily responsibilities of the position?
- What do you like about working in the company?
- How big is the team you will work with, and how it’s managed?
- What is the software you will be using as an employee?
- With who I’ll be working the closest?
- What’s the most challenging in working in this company?
- What’s considered a success in the company in this position?
- Is there a chance to get promoted to this position?
- What do you expect from me as an employee?
I hope those 10 questions will give you an idea of what questions you can ask the interviewer.
Another part of a non-technical interview is behavioral questions. Those are the questions that will give the interviewer an overview of how you behave in difficult situations.
As behavioral questions, you can expect questions about:
- conflict with a team member and how you solved it;
- your biggest failure and what you’ve learned from it;
- your biggest challenge/difficult situation you had recently, and how did you solve it;
- your way to solving problems;
- your leadership skills;
For that kind of question, it’s good to take some time before the planned interview and think of all the difficult situations, challenges, or conflicts during your career and prepare the answers that can show that you can approach difficult times and solve them a proper way.
As I already mentioned, job interviews can be really stressful situations. Even if you are sure you did all you could to prepare for that meeting, it still can make you nervous. So, how to deal with the stress before the interview to fail.
- Go for a walk. The best would be to select a calm park where you can relax.
- Turn on the positive and motivating playlist, which will bring a good mood and let you start thinking positively.
- Meet your best friend or any other person to make you feel good, so you won’t focus on the upcoming meeting too much.
- Make a short meditation session.
- Do some sports in the morning, because training will give you positive energy.
- Smile and take a confident pose because your body can affect your mind, so if you take a happy, confident posture, your body language will send some positive vibes to the interviewer.
I hope those tips will help you to manage the stress before the interview because it’s essential to turn your body and your mind into a positive site!
It’s time to summarize! In this article, I went through the most popular, non-technical interview questions that almost for sure you’ll be asked. I gave you some examples of good answers, although I remember that it’s very important to create your own honest answers.
Also, saying about weaknesses or failures is nothing you should avoid, because we are all humans and it’s more then sure, all of us had some failures, so you will just seem to lie if you would try to convince someone that you don’t have weakness or any failure during your career.
But on the other hand, don’t hesitate to talk about your positive sides and successes, as those are the same important.
I hope those tips will help you to prepare for the next interview. Besides that, remember about the good mood and positive vibes, because it’s really important to be liked by an interviewer.
So, fingers crossed on your next interview!
Thank you for reading,
Anna from Duomly