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Skill Pathway

4 Things Your Interviewer Wants To Hear (From Hiring Managers Themselves)

matthew_collison profile image Matthew Collison Updated on ・4 min read

You rock up to your interview, suited 'n' booted, you've researched every HTML property under the sun for your "mini code-test" - but there's one thing niggling away...

You're going to be asked a bunch of random questions that might have nothing to do with code.

This may seem scary - because we think there is a right and wrong answer to everything. This black and white thinking leads to a lot of anxiety - because we think if we get it wrong, it's over. Or at least we worry it is.

Here's the truth though: almost all of these questions have no fundamental "right" or "wrong" answer. It's what you demonstrate of your personality that actually matters.

Don't get us wrong - there are objectively wrong answers - but if you think through the following framework of things interviewers want to hear, it should make it a lot easier come crunch time when you're under the spotlight.

Bearing in mind - these tips come from real hiring managers! This isn't us making a set of educated guesses here! Knowing what hiring managers look for in an interview will massively improve your chances of getting the job.

1) We want to hear that you're passionate about coding

It doesn't matter what profession you're in - whether you're flipping burgers, making music or filing accounts. If you seem like you'd rather be doing something else, people probably won't enjoy working with you. It's just facts.

Making a concerted effort to show how passionate you are about coding, talking about those tireless nights learning, talking about how you were so excited to learn a new CSS property, will make you shine to your interviewer - and show that you're someone who is fun to work with because they actually enjoy their work.

This is very valuable when making hiring choices because not only does it mean you'll be more efficient because you're enjoying it, you'll actually bring team morale up too. It's a win-win-win!

2) We want to hear that you embrace learning

Coding is a life-long learning experience. If you don't embrace the learning aspect - chances are, you won't be successful - or you will severely limit yourself and drag down your co-workers.

You don't have to work with things you're fundamentally not geared towards - if you're a frontend, you shouldn't be expected to learn backend against your own will. But if you don't want to keep with the times - that will reflect badly on you.

If you can clearly demonstrate you love learning - especially if you don't know certain frameworks but are fully aware of them and make it clear you have an intent to "research and pick the best one to use" - it shows a tenacity to keep up with the times, rather than staying what you're comfortable with in the now.

3) We want to hear that you're not perfect - and you're ok with that

This kind of follows on from the previous point - but we don't want you to nod and say yes to everything we ask you to have experience about. In fact, if you do, we'll be really suspicious - here's why

We know nobody - especially Juniors - knows everything to a high level. And if you demonstrate a level of honesty that "I'm not so good at that" or "I've not touched it before" - it will show us that you're accepting of your shortcomings, and if you follow it up with "I'd love to learn more about it though" - you've done your best.

4) We want to hear that you have real, practical experience

and great news: it doesn't have to be paid experience

The amount of times someone has rolled up to an interview without a portfolio in sight, nothing more than a couple of obscure, abstract code samples.

The thing is, we want you to build awesome things for us - so we want to see that you can build awesome things too. Code snippets don't show this to us.

It doesn't need to be anything from actual freelance, contract or full-time work - it can be a blog about Llamas coded from the ground up - it really doesn't matter - just get a few "full-builds" under your belt that demonstrate your real world experience, where you can talk through what you did, and your interviewer will take you far more seriously.

Do coding interviews give you a lot of anxiety or self-doubt?

We know everyone has their individual worries when it comes to interviewing - and we make it our missing to cover every base when covering a topic.

If you have personal experiences or thoughts you want to share, we'd love to hear them - and offer an experienced opinion. We hope we can help!

We help people do what they love for a living

There's hundreds of tutorials available online to learn web & app development, and we want to contribute to the conversation of healthy learning. We run online code bootcamps and also provide free courses for beginners to show them ropes in web development.

To check us out and register for any of our free courses, visit the Skill Pathway website.

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Matthew Collison

@matthew_collison

I run an educational media brand called Skill Pathway, and host The Learning Developers Podcast. Experienced Full-Stack Engineer that wants to change lives and help millions of people into tech.

Skill Pathway

We help budding developers land their dream job. We do this through our free courses, articles, podcasts and tutorials covering a range of topics from mindset, coding skills, career advice and much more.

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Making a concerted effort to show how passionate you are about coding, talking about those tireless nights learning,, talking about how you were so excited to learn a new CSS property will make you shine to your interviewer - and show that you're someone who is fun to work with because they actually enjoy their work.

I'm not sure I agree. Sure, have passion but it's important to have a balanced life with interests outside of tech. This shows you're a well-rounded individual who will work well in a team. There's much more to a software engineering role than technical chops.

 

We completely agree - you need to maintain a balanced life or you're prone to burnout - but a balanced life is different for everyone. This point isn't in any way trying to glamorise "tireless nights" - some actually enjoy that, but not others. If you don't personally, don't state that to your interviewer.

The point is, convey your passion for code in your own way - if you really were that passionate that you spent hours in the evenings learning and enjoyed it, state that.

The simplest form is this: if you have a genuine passion for coding, make it very clear by stating your truths. It can only be positive - and if the person on the other end wants to judge that, it's probably not the right place to work for anyway.

 

To add on to that, we think you make a super interesting point - showing you have interests outside of coding may be equally important - just putting across your personality.

Because at the end of the day, you might be working with these people for the next couple of years. It's best to show more of you now so you can see what kind of rapport you have.

 

you might be working with these people for the next couple of years

Yeah, I also want to work with normal people that do things outside of work besides more work.

 

This should be titled "4 things your (reasonable) interviewer...", because sometimes you get folks that want junior devs with senior level experience for intern pay, but other wise totally true!

 

They're certainly out there! One thing our career advisors focus on is teaching candidate to spot these types of interviewers. We also support them in their job to ensure the interviewer didn't completely mislead them and help them switch if necessary.

There are a few red flags to look for and we want to make a post about this too - we've seen people get stuck in low-paying jobs riddled with insane expectations for years with a range of narcissistic and angry bosses.

It's easily done but we want to help as many people avoid this as possible.

 

Absolutely right on! As a hiring manager, I can definitely second this.

 

Glad you echo this sentiment! We hope this helps people streamline their focus when learning and self developing, so when it comes to that all important interview stage, they're bringing real value to the table.

 

If you seem like you'd rather be doing something else, people probably won't enjoy working with you. It's just facts.

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