Acing the Developer Interview Process

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Acing the Developer Interview Process

The job market today is competitive. Companies are looking for the best to join their ranks. Specifically, with technical roles, a full reliance on strength in technical skills exactly as it is listed on a resume is not enough proof for hiring top prospects. If you are in the market for a new developer role, be prepared for a more in-depth hiring process. 

Before you officially apply for a job, ensure your resume is tailored for the position. You want to position yourself in the most positive light. Therefore, incorporate language from the job description into your resume and highlight skills they are specifically looking for. Your resume is your first introduction, in most instances, to a company. Highlight your skills they are most seeking in order to make the strongest first impression.

Popularized by reality television shows, like The Voice, blind interviews are becoming a trend in technical hiring. Companies are seeking the top candidates for the role, no matter the gender, education level or ethnicity. The top candidates will shine through. Recent calls for diversifying the technical field called for greater use of blind interviewing. Companies, while still encouraging referrals, are seeking top talent, rather than slowing hiring an entire group of friends.

During the interview process, hiring teams are looking at the entirety of candidates. Candidates should be ready to speak about their experience in order to give the hiring team a full view of your offerings. Candidates should be prepared for the following tests:

  • Skills Test: It is one thing to say you have 10 years of experience with a particular language or technical stack, but it will mean more if you have the skills to back it up. It is becoming more common for companies to request a skills test based on requirements for a particular position. Hiring teams are interested in seeing how your true skills measure up against your resume. This is more incentive to be honest when presenting your skills on your resume. Overselling yourself is never the right answer. Instead, be honest about your experience, but demonstrate your willingness to learn new concepts or continue to learn languages.
  • Behavioral Test: Being skilled in technical stacks and languages will only get you so far during a hiring process. Therefore, you should be prepared for some sort of behavioral or cultural interview as part of the full process. Companies are interested in better understanding your work style and how you best work with others. This is not an interview to take lightly. In some cases, a company might choose to hire a less experienced worker technically who fits better with the team behaviorally and culturally. You can’t teach behavioral fit and skills like problem solving a team mentality, while you can teach technical skills.

Beyond the tests companies may request you to complete, they will be looking for other skills during the interview process. First, they will likely be seeking for a candidate that demonstrates passion for the field. This may sound simple, but candidates with a lack of passion for the position will be more likely to grow complacent and seek their next role earlier. Similar to how you should convey strong communication skills or a strong team attitude, a passion and investment in the position is important when interviewing for a developer position.

Companies will also still be seeking a wide range of skills. Especially with more established developers, there is no need to exclude legacy skills from your resume hoping to compete with the newer graduates and their modern skill sets. Legacy skills are still a desire, as many companies still will run on mainframe systems and the number of developers skilled in running and maintaining these systems are dwindling. Having experience with legacy systems can only be seen as a bonus, when paired with the current languages. It shows your history and past accomplishments. It demonstrates your ability to adapt in a constantly changing field.

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