It's no secret. Some of the best coders may not be the greatest at presenting themselves, while other developers shine during interviews but struggle once they are on the job. With so many talented developers currently looking for work, your soft skills may be the difference between getting the job and being passed over. Our first-hand experience interviewing hundreds of developers and working directly with hiring managers as their engineering recruitment partner helped us compile this list of our top interview tips for developers.
Tip #1: Bring the ENERGY
Nobody likes to talk to or work with someone who has low energy and enthusiasm. You may have anxiety over the perceived high stakes, but it's important to bring a positive mindset and energy to the interview. With most interviews happening today on Zoom calls, ensure that you are sitting upright, provide visual cues that you are engaged and lean into the conversation when appropriate. Show that you have done your research on the role and are excited to contribute to the team and company. Be passionate about your work and accomplishments, your energy is infectious!
Tip #2: Explain the WHY
When asked to share a story of something that you are most proud of, don't just focus on WHAT you worked on, but take it a level deeper and explain the WHY around your approach to the solution. Hiring managers love delving into critical thinking skills and exploring how software engineers tackle problems. Provide technical justification and context on what the general feedback from your team was around your solution. If there were divergent opinions on your approach, explain how you built consensus within the team to move forward. Finish the story with how your solution performed once it was in production.
Tip #3: Don't be a JERK
Ok, we get it. You're brilliant. Your GPA was highest in class. You have developed apps that have billions of users. Your pay band is in the 99th percentile. But the reality is, NOBODY wants to work with a JERK. No matter how incredible of a developer you are, being a great teammate, working cohesively with cross functional teams and having a positive attitude towards company objectives will often trump pure genius. Your attitude is one of the biggest things that leaves a lasting impression, so always be mindful of this when speaking to hiring managers, peers and yes, even recruiters. Come across as likeable, coachable and hard working and you can never go wrong.
In summary, soft skills are a critical part of the developer interview process and may be just as important, if not more so, than how your perform in technical assessments, take home coding assignments and white-boarding sessions. We hope these tips will give you the edge you need to beat out the sea of other qualified candidates in today's competitive developer job market.