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How Software Developers Can Better Prepare for Job Interviews

8 months ago by Meldon Borg

At the Human Capital team, we hold many interviews with applicants and have noticed particular commonalities that prevent them from securing a job they’re interested in. With this in mind, we wanted to share with you our advice in succeeding job interviews and bettering your experience during the recruitment process.


Be consistent

In CVs we often find ambiguous phrases that can be confusing to employers. For example:

A senior software developer with 7 years’ experience working on .NET, JavaScript, and PHP.

Seven years per programming language is divided into 2.33 years of experience each. Does this mean you are intermediate in all three languages? The further details you provide in your CV, the clearer the picture of the applicant. The first two paragraphs of a CV should be enough for an employer to understand your level, skills, and industry experience.

Usually, companies request specialists who focus on a specific set of technologies: Java-Spring, C#, .NET Core, Java Script-Angular, for example. Software developers are expected to develop complex solutions for very complex problems and be consistent in their work. Their focus is not only in delivering but also relates to quality care that reiterates the need for specialisation and consistent experience on a set of skills/tech stack.

Additionally, testing is included in that consistent experience. It should not only be done by QA and unit tests. Integration tests are a must and familiarising yourself to testing frameworks in conjunction to your tech stack is something employers look for. This is an important point frequently missed in the first two paragraphs of a CV.

Key points of advice

  • Keep your CV clear and focused,

  • Highlight your strengths and focus the first two paragraphs of your CV on the job you're applying for,

  • Explain your highlights further in the work experience section of your CV, and

  • Include tech stack in the work experience section


Be careful of job hopping

Job hopping is defined by spending less than two years in one position. A lot of job hopping on your CV makes employers believe that you would only stay in their company for one year or less. Employers can ask you about this on the spot during an interview and be ready to provide an explanation as to why you left that software engineer role early on.

Taking on a lot of short projects and start-ups shows a lack of major project exposure. Major projects in fully operating companies take time and have different traits in business requirements, procedures, and product lifecycles. This can be a completely different experience in established companies compared to start-ups.

Key points of advice

  • Avoid regular job hopping, and

  • If you have job hopped, prepare a valid explanation in interviews

Be ambitious

Ambition can be hard to gauge in 1-hour interviews, but interviewers see it in your body language, tone of voice, and in the questions you ask. Before going into an interview get to know the industry you are getting involved with. Going into an interview without so much as opening the company website or having no idea about the product/industry will be apparent to the employer.

My suggestion is to find a business/industry you are interested in, and one that you would be happy to be part of. Be it a job in Malta or elsewhere, you will gain a sense of fulfilment that lasts well into the future. This will push you towards providing more to your employer than just work, such as providing business ideas, product changes, and new opportunities. Boosting your retention at your employer and career advancement will not be out of reach.

Key points of advice

  • Spend some time to read the employer’s website and write a few notes to have on standby,

  • Do research on the employer’s industry, and

  • Take on opportunities in industries that you are genuinely interested in


Be presentable

How does presentation show up in an interview? This is an important consideration as nowadays job interviews are held online as the working society moves remote. Presentation can be seen through different aspects, such as the way you present your answers to an employer, an unappealing video background, or poor lighting during a video interview.

You are not expected to be in a high-tech office with a 4k webcam but being presentable is essential. Let us take the incorrect lighting example, this is what an interview would think:

If this person doesn’t realise that we cannot see or hear them properly, how can they be proactive in fixing bugs in code or to spot issues early on?

Remember the interviewer is also a human being knowledgeable about technical difficulties. If you notice something is off during the interview that may hinder the experience, excuse yourself and solve the issue. This will show the interviewer that as a software developer you are wary of issues and that you are an active problem solver.

Key points of advice

  • Keep a spare device/headset nearby and prepare to use it if needs be,

  • Just like your code, test your video conference quality, and

  • If problems arise during interviews, solve them politely

Getting the job

As a software developer and engineer alike, the pressure is on to succeed in job interviews. This is especially true with work from home jobs, where interviews take place online. In considering the above steps, you are one step closer in getting the IT job you're looking for.