Web Developer Interview Questions

When hiring a Web Developer, look for a candidate with an extensive portfolio of previous development work. The candidate’s portfolio should give you valuable insights into their ability to design, build, and maintain web pages and applications for your business. To take your evaluation of the candidate’s skills one step further, utilizing practical tests as part of your interview process.   

Consider as well if your Web Developer will be working alongside other web developers as a member of a team, or if they will be leading the team, or if they will be operating solo as the lone web developer in your organization. Each of those scenarios demands a different level of expertise to successfully carry out duties on a daily basis. For example, a candidate who will be joining your existing web development staff should show a history of being a good team player and perhaps bring greater technical expertise in a specific area; a candidate being called upon to lead will have to display leadership qualities combined with a superior command of technical knowledge across the board; and a solo operator will have to bring a broad knowledge base and skill set, and be creative enough to acquire needed additional information from outside resources.   

General interview questions (such as “Can you tell me about yourself?” and “Why are you looking for another job?”) are a great way to get to know your candidate’s personal history, interests and goals. However, be sure to add inquiries specific to the role they’re interviewing for, so you can gain valuable insights into their likelihood of success in that position. 

Below are Web Developer interview questions to help you get started: 

Explain front-end and back-end development and their most common related software. 

What you want to hear: An experienced candidate will be able to rattle off this answer with ease and clarity. Their answer should be along the lines of “Front-end development refers to the visible aspects of a website including the layout, navigation, and sidebars. Backend development is where the main coding is located, which is created by a computer program language and a database. Common front-end software includes CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript, while the back-end often uses Python, Ruby on Rails, or PHP.”   

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who cannot provide an answer understandable by a lay person may struggle to effectively communicate with company staff in other departments. 

How can you reduce web page loading time?

What you want to hear: Listen for a candidate who can offer more than one solution to a problem. They might suggest that popular ways of reducing loading time are decreasing image sizes, using plugins sparingly, reducing HTTP requests, cutting down on external scripts, or optimizing JS and CSS files. You want to know that the candidate will have a “toolbox” of ideas to bring to every issue.

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who offers only one or two possible solutions may lack experience or be to rigid in their approach to troubleshooting. Follow up by asking for ideas on how to resolve other problems and see if the responses are likewise limited.  

How do you stay current on advancements in technology?

What you want to hear: A strong candidate will acknowledge that the technology industry is advancing at an incredibly fast rate and that it’s absolutely essential for a Web Developer to keep pace. They should list specific ways they access the latest information on new software and emerging technologies, including attending conferences and workshops, listening to podcasts, reading trade publications, and participating in related online chat groups. 

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who appears to lack the drive or curiosity to stay current with advancements in technology will be a high risk for limiting the contribution your website can make to the growth of your company. 

How do you take into consideration UX performance, SEO, and security when building a web application? 

What you want to hear: This question requires a thoughtful answer and thorough understanding of the business behind web applications. Each development action should be determined by your company’s unique needs, goals, and preferences. For example, a company that manages a large volume of confidential information will prioritize security, while a smaller business may prefer to put more energy into their UX design. 

Red Flag IconRed flag: Web development is not a one-size-fits-all exercise. A candidate who does not understand that technical solutions should be a direct response to a company’s unique business needs is lacking the strategic vision required for success in the role. 

What is your preferred working environment for web development?   

What you want to hear: The ideal answer is that your candidate is comfortable working anywhere, or is at least highly flexible in their explanation of suitable working environments. More specifically, though, look for a candidate who will thrive at your company. Do you have an open plan workspace for the technology team, or would the candidate have the privacy of their own office? Do you offer the option of working remotely from home?  

Red Flag Icon Red flag: A candidate who does not appear to be a comfortable fit with your office environment will likely struggle to perform at the highest level, or worse be a drag on your smooth operations. For example, be cautious of recruiting a candidate from a large company with a private office and then dropping them into your group productivity setting with an open floor plan.

How would you ensure that your web design is user-friendly? 

What you want to hear: Your candidate should explain that building a user-friendly website requires a winning combination of techniques. They should site approaches such as speeding up loading time, providing quality information, making navigation intuitive, choosing appropriate colors, designing a responsive layout, and having strong calls to action.  

Red Flag IconRed flag: A candidate who fails to offer a comprehensive list of techniques for ensuring your site is user friendly is a serious risk to the success of your online business. 

Every interview question can help get you closer to the right fit for your Web Developer position.

Be sure to keep an eye out for candidates who:

  • Have an excellent portfolio of work 
  • Understand how to pair business goals with technical solutions
  • Will thrive in your company’s work environment