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5 tips to nail a software developer interview

5 tips to nail a software developer interview 

However, when interviewing candidates, there are certain things I always look for that go well beyond those hard coding skills. To nail your next developer interview and land the job, follow these five tips towards success:

Know the company and the role

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you have no idea how many people show up at an interview without having done their due diligence on the company, role, and responsibilities they’ll have. When an interviewer sees you haven’t done your research, it tells them two things: you’ve shot-gunned your resume to hundreds of postings you aren’t committed to, and you don’t fully understand the role you’ve applied for.

 Wade Chia

This one’s a simple fix: take the time to read about and understand the role, and do your homework on the company; or else you’ll be counted out before you even get to the coding questions.

Let your talent do the talking

While education definitely ticks a few boxes on a resume, it’s not something an interviewer will invest all their stock into. I’ve had Ph.D. students come into interviews who couldn’t even write code, while some of the most talented developers I’ve met didn’t go to university. A good interviewer will weed people out with simple programming problems that anyone should be able to solve but can be solved in many different ways. It’s great when candidates work on the problem out loud because it allows me to see how they think and what kind of algorithms they can come up with on the spot.

The point is, you can come from anywhere if you prove yourself. School gives you skills, but don’t sweat the degree— in the end, talent trumps everything.

Be truthful

Most candidates tend to exaggerate their experience and capabilities on their resume, but in the developer world, that’s something an interviewer can easily see through. You’ll no doubt be tested, and when you’re asked to write a set of Javascript or Python you’ve called yourself an expert in, there will be no place to hide.

If you’re caught in a lie on your resume, a company isn’t going to trust you on their team. Much like our company’s core values, accountability and honesty are two traits every developer needs. This is because companies can’t risk an employee damaging the integrity of the platform and not owning up to it. While you obviously need to show you have the aptitude to succeed in the position, skills can be learned. You can’t teach someone to be trustworthy.

Show a commitment to self-improvement

No matter how smart you are, in the developer industry, you have to hone your craft. Remember, there’s always more to learn and even the most brilliant developers don’t write perfect code.

A great way to demonstrate your dedication to self-improvement is to attend meet-ups or conferences like TechToronto or even F8. Proactively getting involved in learning opportunities in the tech community will show interviewers you’re challenging yourself to work with code that you may not be familiar with. It also highlights that you’re willing to get involved, learn and improve your craft.

Prove you can work alone and as part of a team

Successful developers need to pull their own weight, react well to stress and thrive in both an individual and team setting. Therefore, you need to showcase a mix of individual and collaborative work to succeed in a developer interview. Showing work you’ve done on a piece of larger software or an open source project on GitHub, SourceForge, or Google Open Source will let the interviewer know that your contribution was good enough to be incorporated into a larger project and that you can, individually, create something new.

To demonstrate an ability to collaborate with others, use an example of a time you worked with a team of developers to solve a coding issue or when you participated in a hackathon-like the ones put on by HackerNest. As a developer, you’re working within a team every single day, so it’s vital to show interviewers that you don’t see yourself as some kind of lone wolf. 

By following these tips, you’ll no doubt be putting your best foot forward in your next interview. Remember to prepare accordingly, showcase your talents and skills, don’t try to be someone you’re not and let your talents (not your resume) do the talking.

Wade Chia is chief technology officer and co-founder of TradeRev, a company that connects dealers from all over the country to make moving wholesale inventory more quick, efficient and easier than ever

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