While working at the agency Designzillas, I helped interview and onboard new developers to the web team. Designzillas’ service offering meant we mainly hired front-developers to develop websites for content management systems, especially WordPress. We usually had a large volume of applicants with every new job posting, and all applicants with varying levels of experience and different areas of expertise. So I created a master interview questions list for every front-end developer interview we held to better gauge who would best fit the job role requirements and work well with the team and their needs. I write this master list not to give developers a cheat sheet (although, I totally can see this master list used in that manner), but instead to help agencies, in-house web teams, development leads, and company stakeholders better quantify and qualify the professionals applying for the front-end developer roles in their company.
How to Quantify and Qualify a New Hire in the Interview Process
The answers to these developer interview questions are great insight as to where a developer is in this stage of their career. It helps qualify their level of entry: junior, entry-level, senior, lead, or director. I like to base an applicant’s level of entry on their portfolio of work, and practical knowledge of the languages needed to perform their roles based on the answers received in the interview process. I never blindly use an applicant’s years of experience as a qualifier for level of entry. I’ve worked with fresh college graduates that can develop circles around developers with 15 yers of experience. I’ve met senior development leads with 10+ years of experience that have established entire infrastructures for large development teams, and have proved themselves absolutely indispensable with their years of knowledge, onboarding expertise, and troubleshooting magic. To quote Aaliyah, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.” And I believe this to be especially true of developers’ years of experience.
As lengthy and in-depth as these developer interview questions listed below are, I don’t deliver all of these questions hoping to get a person who has the answers to them all, or to grill and discredit the applicants who don’t have answers to these questions. I moreover ask these questions in a more welcoming and qualifying manner, not only to quantify a front-end developer applicant as appropriate for the role by checking off role requirement checkboxes, but more so to take note of their strengths and weaknesses, their areas of expertise and where they would have room for growth – and based on those responses, I can get a jump start on setting up onboarding and training plans for them upon hiring.
Listed below is the master list of front-end development interview questions I ask new hire applicants. Use them to help better qualify your applicants in your next front-end development interview!
Development Work Flow and Tooling Interview Questions
- What programming or coding languages are you comfortable in and have experience working with?
- What is your programming language of choice? Why?
- How do you develop a website from start to finish?
- Do you get designs from a designer and work with them through the process, or do you just design your pages as you develop?
- How do you develop the styles for your webpages?
- Do you use vanilla CSS or preprocessors like Sass/SCSS or Less?
- What code editor do you use?
- Are there any particular packages or extensions you like to use on your code editor?
- How do you set up your local development environment? Ex: MAMP vs WAMP or XAMP, etc.
Content Management System Interview Questions
- Have you worked with content management systems? If so, which ones?
- Which CMS do you feel you are strongest in?
- What is your build process for front-end styling in content management systems?
- Do you purchase a pre-existing and styled theme and modify it?
- Or, would you instead create a child theme based off the purchased theme?
- Or, so you create a theme from a starter framework like Bootstrap or Underscores?
- Or, do you build custom themes from scratch?
- WordPress question: Have you ever built custom fields or used ACF?
- WordPress question: Have you ever built custom post types?
- WordPress question: Have you ever built your own plugin?
- WordPress question: Have you ever worked with page builders? If so, which ones? Ex: Divi, Elementor, etc.
- Have you worked with Elementor? If you have worked with Elementor, have you built your own custom widget?
- WordPress question: Have you worked with Gutenberg yet? If so, have you created your own custom blocks?
Multi-developer Environments and Version Control Interview Questions
- Do you implement version control on your websites? If so, what do you use? Ex: GitHub, Bitbucket.
- How comfortable are you with git workflows? For example how comfortable are you with:
- Pushing/pulling code snippets from your local computer to a remote repository
- Committing your code changes to a team code repository
- Creating pull requests
- Branching off a master code repository for a client project, and merging it back into the master branch?
- How would you resolve a merge conflict?
Final Site Deployment Interview Questions
- Do you conduct any QA on your sites after developed? If so, what is your QA process?
- What is your process for cross-browser and cross-device QA?
- Which devices and browsers do you test your sites on?
- How do you implement your QA checks on those devices? Ex: physical devices or simulators like virtual machines in VM Ware or BrowserStack
- How do you check for web accessibility on your sites and themes?
- How do you know a website is ready to be handed off to a client?
Teamwork Interview Questions
- Do you ever conduct code reviews for other teammates’ work or have participated in your own code reviews from another developer?
- What do you do if you review another developers work, and find problems in the code base?
- Would you let the developer or team lead know?
- How would you provide that feedback to the appropriate person?
- What do you do when you get stuck on a development feature? Where do you go for help?
Personal Growth Interview Questions
- What do you think is your best personal quality that you can bring to this team to take them to the next level?
- What are your career goals?
- Where do you want to be in 5-10 years? 20 years?
- What do you think is the difference between a junior developer and a senior developer?
- What do you think is the difference between a senior developer and a director of development?
Development Innovation Questions
- What are some of your favorite development blogs or troubleshooting forums?
- Where do you go to get inspiration for new development ideas?
- In 2021, what do you think are the top development trends you should be keeping an eye on?
- What is a project that you developed that you’re really proud of?
Using the Front-end Development Interview Questions
I know, I know. This list is LENGTHY. But don’t worry. You don’t have to ask all of these questions all at once. You can ask them separately in different level interviews. You can also split up question categories amongst all members of the interview. For example, the development work flow and tooling questions can be asked by senior developers in the room, and the teamwork/personal growth questions can go to company leads and stakeholders, so that each interviewer has a clear list of responsibilities to tackle in the interviews. Feel free to ask as many or as few questions as you feel qualify the job applicant. What is most important is that you get the answers that you need to properly assess who your next hire will be for your development team. Good luck on your interviewing hunt, and I hope you find your next awesome asset for your team!