Technical Interview Teardown
Serena Apr 23
Opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect that of my employer
There's already many guides available elsewhere that'll go over questions and answers. Instead, I'll be going over the types of questions I ask, what I'm looking for, and how a candidate's skill is gauged.
So lets get started.
Lets see you get past this
I eschew a structured set of questions for flexibility. If the candidate performs better or worse than the baseline, I don't want to be locked into a set of questions geared towards the wrong skill level.
Sorry to say, but I'm one of the interviewers that use whiteboards. First off, I'm not judging you on your code quality or handwriting skills. I want to see your ability to convey your thoughts on the board. Because, surprise, this is something that happens a lot in our team when we collaborate.
My questions are also multi-part, so writing everything down tends to be helpful. Otherwise it'll be more challenging for you when I make a reference to a few questions back.
I've encountered numerous candidates who were very resistant to writing anything on the board. Telling them the reasons above usually works. If not, then you'll be tested on memorization skills as well :)
I'm going to have to science the heck out of this
I have several content items that I want laid out horizontally, side by side. What are the different ways can you accomplish this with HTML and CSS?
I use this as a gauge to see what's on the table to ask. Do you name a half dozen options, do you struggle after naming two, or do you wash out immediately?
This may seem like a very easy question, but I've had more candidates fall into the latter two buckets than the first.
After a few follow up questions, I move onto the next stage:
You have a site nav menu. I want to trigger an analytics method before opening each nav link. How would you accomplish this?
What type of selectors are you using? Are you asking how that analytics method works? How are you triggering the event?
These are some of the routes the follow-up questions can take. Rarely will I have one off questions. I'll always have a follow up that'll ask a different aspect.
The Presumption Reflex 1
Take a moment to read the above article. Ok, finished? This is something that's not regularly tested for in technical interviews but is important in our day to day work when working with stakeholders.
In the first example question, I only said
several content items. Did you assume it'd be images, paragraphs, or tabular information? It's important to know because there's an answer that's semantically correct for each.
I'm always keeping an eye out for if a candidate observes that I was vague with my questions. It's best to ask for clarification. You'll never be docked points for asking questions - sometimes that's the goal of the exercise - unless we get the impression you're asking questions because you have no clue on how to answer it.
Ultimately, what am I looking for? A good handle of all the basics and original solutions. I always prod for additional answers for the same problem, because as engineers, that's what we do. We solve the problems that arise when the previous solution no longer works.
If you are still looking for actual frontend developer questions, here is a decent page.