How to prepare for Job interview: Middle/Senior Developer
Fresh 2022 Stack Overflow survey revealed the top five reasons for keeping developers happy at work:
- 60% of respondents mention salary as a primary advantage.
- 58% of developers value work-life balance.
- 52% of respondents benefit from flexibility.
- 52% mentioned productivity as a huge benefit.
- 49% see growth opportunities as a key driver of their job satisfaction.
Talentica experts studied modern recruiting trends that help senior and middle developers shine at the interview, and we’re sharing them with you. Check our tips and tricks on how to be a perfect candidate.
You’re a code professional, we get it. However, being an excellent programmer is not enough for a successful job interview. You have to learn how to communicate your skills both in written and spoken form. Besides, sometimes you’ll need to explain your work experience as simply as possible. Let’s see how you can prepare for the interview so that human resource specialists notice you.
Resume is what HR`s learn first about you. It briefly outlines your experience and achievement, and also displays your attitude towards finding a job. Resume also reveals your personality. So make it short, but lively and informative. Here are key points to consider when creating a resume:
- Structure. Make your CV structured by blocks such as contacts, experience, skills, education, etc. Use CV templates to make your resume look professional.
- Grammar. Regardless of the professional activity direction, literacy is a kind of indicator of your education level.
- Volume. For the Middle level, 1.5-2 pages are enough; for Senior, it’s better not to go beyond 2.5 pages.
- Education. No need to list everything. Focus on current courses.
- Work experience. Fill in reverse chronological order, from the last to the first job.
- Achievements. Describe the profit that you brought in your past positions. For example, mention that you created a system for project management that showed stability after the launch.
- Strong words. Use verbs wherever appropriate. For example, I wrote a program or optimized workflow.
- Skills. Specify the areas where you can prove expertise in practice.
If you have experience as a team lead, be sure to include this in your resume. Include the size of the team and what you achieved during this period too.
It’s natural to be nervous before the interview. However, you can reduce some stress by preparing for it. Here’s a list of five effective tips on how to be ready for the job interview for middle and senior developers.
Find Out More About the Specifics of the Job
Nowadays, getting information about the organization is easier than ever. Study the employer’s website, job profile, and at least one successful IT project. It will show the recruiter your interest in the job and the organization as a whole.
Get Distracted and Do What You Love
Every responsible business is preceded by reflection and fear. They are not the best helpers for casual dialogue. Take a break, play a game, watch a movie, or take a walk. It will clear your mind and relieve stress.
Wear Relevant Attire
Software developers rarely stick to a dress code, so it’s better to choose a neutral outfit for the first meeting with the employer. Jeans and a shirt/sweater are perfect. Even when hiring at remote work, you shouldn’t wear in-home during an online meeting because it’s a bad tone.
Treat the Interviewer as Your Old Friend, Whom You Have Not Seen for a Long Time
Even if you are a serious candidate for software engineering and a strict person in a business suit is sitting in front of you, allow yourself a friendly tone. No familiarity, but no nervousness either. It will allow for a discreet but relaxed dialogue.
Answer Specifically and Confidently
Give concise and confident answers: it will demonstrate your professionalism. When asked to list skills or accomplishments, stick to this advice. Excessive bragging will become a hindrance, and if you list all the skills needed for a project for developer/s, then get ready for practice tests to prove your words.
Now when you know how to prepare for the interview, let’s look at the interview flow in detail. Keep in mind that candidates for middle and senior positions are interviewed more in-depth compared to junior positions. Interview stages may differ from company to company, we’ll discuss standard stages. Typical interview stages for middle or senior developer/s position include:
- Resume screening.
- Phone screening.
- On-site assessments.
- HR Interview.
- Job offer.
Phone or video screen
It is believed that only technical skills are essential for a developer, and the whole conversation will be built around them. But it is a misconception. The tech part is given a lot of attention, but recruiters will assess your social skills first.
Recruiters usually expect candidates to be open, confident and sincere. They will try to see who you’re from different angles to understand if you’re a good fit for the position. A potential supervisor will ask questions about your personality and how you behave in a team. Here are 5 basic examples:
- Describe your prior job experience?
- What projects did you complete, and what difficulties did you face?
- How would you react to an “X” situation?
- What would you do if the team leader told you to rewrite the code?
- Why is it better to use “Y” in the “X” case?
The interview tests critical thinking, skills, and social adaptability. Therefore, do not be nervous and answer briefly.
When you successfully pass phone screening, recruiters invite you for the coding interview. Usually at this point candidates meet their team leader and one of the team members. Code interviews may take around an hour.
Online coding interviews are held via video call where interviewers ask you technical questions and/or give you code assignments. Your colleagues should assess how you solve tasks in real time, so be prepared to work in web-based code editors such as CoderPad or Collabedit. In some cases you’ll be asked to do some hardcore coding in Google Docs so you couldn’t use your IDE automation features. Be prepared.
Interview with teammates / CTO / CEO
Besides coding skills assessment, middle to senior developers usually undergo a bunch of interviews to show their managerial skills too. As a high-level programmer you’ll have responsibilities in mentoring newcomers, prioritizing and assigning tasks, etc. That’s why talking to your team, CTO and/or CEO is crucial for fruitful work in the future. You can expect asking the questions such as:
- How do you explain the expression ‘team player’?
- Tell me about your previous team? What have you achieved together?
- How would you handle your work as a member of several small teams?
- Tell me about your teamwork experience remotely?
- Is there a time you worked with people you don’t get along on a personal level? How was it?
Additional technical interviews cover system design topics. Big companies such as Google or Microsoft invite candidates for on-site interviews where job-seekers stay all day and have from four to six interviews concerning leadership, technical experience and more.
Additional HR interview
Some companies schedule additional interviews with human resource specialists to see if a candidate fits the company’s culture. They’ll ask you specific questions concerning their company’s way of doing business. Common HR questions include:
- Tell me about your personality.
- What type of work environment do you prefer?
- What would be the ideal company culture for you?
- Tell me about your typical work week.
- What do you do when you’re stressed out?
- Why should we hire you?
- What do you know about this company?
- What is success for you?
It’s best for you to find out the company’s key values before the interview. You should also learn about their clients and success stories. And if you want to understand how their workers are satisfied with their jobs, read related forums and company reviews.
Changing the place of work is a complex task that requires time and effort, especially when you’re targeting top-notch companies. Take your time and prepare for the interview using the common advice we mentioned above. Think of answers to the recruiter’s questions as if you talked to your friend, so you can put a personal touch to your conversation. Just remember that you’re professional and can handle any job interview. Talentica Agency is here for you on building your outstanding career path.