How to impress on your dream job interview

Acing an interview is sometimes the tough part of landing a job. For developers, the expertise is, most of the time, self-explanatory. Still, there are things to improve for a better impression with the recruiters.

Marija Neshkoska

Marija Neshkoska

It can be tricky for developers and engineers to ace an interview in this industry because the technical development and engineering jobs are of a technical nature. In other professions, it is usually enough to show past work experience or persuade nicely with conversational skills, a good resume and existing expertise.

Developers and experts might conduct these things differently and even under a bit more pressure than professionals in other fields. This is because IT experts do everything that relies on technical expertise and proof of their work, and not so much on the conversational part of aspects related to job hunting.

There are the conversation meet-and-greet interviews, then the technical and hands-on practical test interviews. Preparing for both types of interviews takes a bit of time and guidance. Still, it is the only way to leave the best impression possible.

Through the sections below, let’s see what it takes to ace a dream job interview as a developer. We offer some excellent hints and tips to improve your overall job searching, career management, and interviewing performance as a developer or engineer. If you are a job seeker developer who needs a boost for the upcoming interviews, below are some valuable tips meant just for you.

Research and practice possible questions and answers until you feel confident

It is a great idea to rehearse and practice the whole interview process alone, without the stress that usually happens during these interviews. There are many ways to find and practice the interview questions—all it takes is for you to research more specific ones related to your skills or the job position you applied for.

But how can you know the right questions to research and prepare for? Well, the answer to this question is simple—just see the job ad and its requirements, including all details, and needed skills, and start there. Browse interview questions related to the job ad and to your skills at the same time.

And remember, don’t just answer questions you know, and ‘face’ the questions that seem difficult just in case. You need to be prepared or anticipate multiple relevant questions–and preferably, you’ll have some (good) answers to all.

Research the company and contribute with your input

You can better prepare by doing some research before the interview. By research, we mean exploring the company culture for that specific company, its history, and its expertise fields.

You can find out about a company through their public or online materials, such as press releases, newsletters, old and new projects, news, “About” sections, LinkedIn reviews, and similar.

In this way, you show the recruiter that you are not simply applying for jobs in a ‘mechanical’ way without much substance, just for the sake of applying! Instead, you prove that you took an active interest in the company and are even eager to be a part of it.

Take it easy before the interview

It goes without saying, but be well-rested, not stressed, and focused. Common interview practice is paying attention to how you appear, sound, and behave.

The truth is many interviewees underestimate the importance of good rest the day before the interview and all those minor daily activities that contribute to mental clarity, focus, and presentability.

Rest is essential for everyone, especially in this case, where you are expected to solve technical tasks that require all the focus you can have!

Choose a preferred programming language

Once you get more details about the interview, it is time to start preparing for it step-by-step. The initial starting point is to choose a programming language you prefer and will use for the interview.

The best tip here is to choose the programming language you know best and are most comfortable working with. This eliminates room for confusion or stress on your behalf. You can be prepared to use another, just in case and as plan B. After this part of choosing the programming language you’ll use, you are almost ready and fully prepared.

Don’t doubt yourself

It’s normal to feel shaky confidence or pre-interview stress, but try not to doubt yourself. The community manager in Proxify, José Pires, explained this in a simple, motivating way:

“There is a reason you were invited for the interview, and you have the needed skills and background for that certain project or job position. With our assistance beforehand, you are already halfway there, and all left to do is conduct your role in the interview with the client, ‘leave’ the stress aside, and do your best.”

Be punctual and presentable

All potential employers need to see outstanding presentability, no matter the roles for a specific job. It is standard and good etiquette to do your best regarding tidying up the space where you’ll have the interview and look professional and similar. The technical assessment lead in Proxify, Victory Fernandez, said:

“Apart from focusing on the questions and answering them concisely, remember to relate your answers to your past work experiences. And do not forget to use a good quality headset with microphone, camera with good image quality, and have proper lighting in the room.”

To this, Pires adds:

“Ensure your room is not noisy, and everything looks as tidy as possible. For the lighting, avoid the back one, and instead have front lights opposite you, one slightly from the left and the other from the right front side. Skip the revealing or distracting outfits, and go for a simple, professional, polished, and ‘pressed’ look. And another thing to keep in mind is to remove all personal belief items from the display.”

Show off your soft skills along with the presentability

It is almost like soft skills and presentability are the same thing, but at the same time, they differ. Make the cohesion of the two aspects to leave a remarkable impression.

Make sure to talk clearly, not too loud or too silently. Sit up straight, do not avoid eye contact (yes, even virtually), and do not interrupt when the recruiter speaks. Listen actively not to miss a crucial question point or appear impolite. Body language, appearance, English proficiency, punctuality—everything combined shows the interviewer you’re prepared well.

The head of recruitment at Proxify, Nadya Pokhyla, explained further about the aspects evaluated during the screening as such:

“Punctuality is crucial. Next, we see the presentability or professional dress code. Parallel to this, we see the background and room where the dev is, their webcam setup, eye contact, accent, and English proficiency. Then we hear more about the developer's total working experience, skills, and key technologies, and how the dev presents themselves easily or if they are proactive or just answer when asked. We notice their overall attitude, team or individual preference, leadership, and we discuss the availability and salary.”

Have helpful information ready to present

The interview process is not just a mini discussion where you just answer questions and nothing more. You should also contribute by promoting your best skills, expertise, and work experience. This means that you should have any useful and relevant information in another tab to show to the recruiter.

Relevant information can be anything: from the resume to an online project or anything work-related that you can present to show you are the right person for the job. And remember, social media, especially private profiles not linked to your line of work, are not relevant or presentable.

Instead, show social media profiles only if they relate to or show exclusively what you do as a developer.

Share your current motivation and goals

It is always impressive to hear interviewees speak about their motivation to apply for the job and future goals. Recruiters and hiring managers like to know why you chose this job particularly or why you believe you are a great fit.

Even though it might sound plain or too overused, it is a valid and relevant question and an opportunity for you to show your best self. Do not be modest when you describe what you achieved. And even more critical, mention how you hope to contribute to this new project/client. A proactive attitude goes a long way.

Be curious and ask questions

Hiring managers always want to hear what you have to say or ask about the job. As mentioned above, a proactive attitude brings extra points and leaves a good impression. Before the interview, think of questions that would clarify the obligations for that job.

Ask about anything relevant to that specific job position or job type, such as volume of work or the work dynamic of the client and their company. Remember that you should probably know the technologies needed for that project (primary and secondary), but add any work preferences you think are helpful to share with the recruiter.

Follow up with the interviewer

Maybe it is not a standard interview practice for everyone to follow up with an email after the interview, but you should do it nonetheless. After the interview, following up with a ‘thank you’ type of email to the recruiter or hiring manager is a polite move and good etiquette.

At the same time, this will leave a good impression and ‘nudge and remind’ the recruiter that you were a candidate that stands out from the rest.

The takeaway

The hiring process is not a breeze, but it is very organized, meticulous, and more than just a back-and-forth process with questions and answers. Apart from showing your resume, projects, and experience, you should also pay attention to your soft skills and the overall environment and conversational flow, among other things.

Try to implement our tips next time you prepare for a developer job interview, and you’ll surely leave a positive impression on a potential employer. Good luck!