12 things recruiters look for during interviews with junior devs (which you're probably NOT doing)
by Patryk Bąk

Don’t be another applicant who doesn’t stand out from the hundreds of candidates.

Show that you care

While preparing your CV and a cover letter, pay attention to details.

The recruiter should see that you really want to work with them. Write something about the company and the position you apply for. Don’t send the same CV to multiple companies. Personalizing your CV is the best way to stand out.

Show that it matters to you who you will work for. After all, you don’t want to find whichever job as a junior developer. The atmosphere, a company’s mission, or the duties are also important to you.

Meet the requirements

Get acquainted with all the requirements for the chosen position. Try to possibly enrich your knowledge and skills if you don’t meet the must-have section. Don’t take the easy way, do more, and gain abilities listed in the nice-to-have section. While you don’t have to know every of the required skills, be prepared to be asked about them.

Create a mini project

Words themselves are not very convincing. Instead of listing many skills that you have, try showing them in the project you’ve created.

It doesn’t have to be a huge application. It doesn’t have to be finished. If you don’t have any idea for the project, create a clone of popular applications available on the Internet.

The essential part is presenting all the skills you possess. Especially the ones which are listed in the requirements on the position you apply for.

Build your online presence

Even if you don’t have any experience, it’s good to start leaving a trail on the Internet.

Sign up on LinkedIn and gradually build your community.

Use GitHub to store your projects and code. It would be best if you shared all your accomplishments when applying for a new position.

If you think about creating a blog or a YouTube channel, do it! It doesn’t have to be perfect - your goal is to learn and show a great attitude.

Gather information about the company

Visit the company website, social media, and try to get acquainted with what the company does, what projects it runs, and what technology it uses. Not only will it help you prepare questions you may ask, but also show recruiters that you put in some effort and preparation for the interview.

Attend events

Seize each opportunity to enrich your knowledge, get to know people from the industry or even the company you’d like to work for.

Check if your dream company organizes local meetups or workshops. Join these events so you can meet the developers who work there and have a chat with them.

Write a cover letter

Do write a cover letter. It’s hard to present your skills, motivation, and attitude in your CV. That’s why a cover letter gives you an opportunity to make the recruiter interested. Show them that you are the person that they are looking for.

Care about the details

Read both your CV and the cover letter several times. Try to remove all typos, fix the indentations, normalize the font, and keep these two documents readable, smart, and neat.

Keep a positive attitude

Be cheerful, no matter what. A job interview is stressful for both sides.

Most candidates mainly focus on technical skills forgetting that attitude is just as important.

Technical skills can be quickly learned on the job, especially in the junior roles, but if the recruiters see a hard-working attitude and willingness to learn, you’ll score additional points.

Don’t be afraid to speak

There are many questions which appear on each job interview. They are usually connected with your experience, interests, materials you use for learning, or the projects you’ve done.

Be prepared. Practice answers in front of a mirror to make sure that they are exact and consistent. Don’t let yourself be surprised.

For other questions, try to answer in as many details as you can, but don’t digress. If there’s a need, don’t be afraid of speaking about problems and failures.

Ask questions

When the time for asking questions comes, don’t hesitate. Ask about everything. Really.

After all, you want to know about the company’s projects, work style, and responsibilities on the position. As you don’t have much experience, I guess that you wonder what support you’ll receive from your co-workers. Find out how the work of junior developers looks like during the first weeks.

Don’t give up

Even if you won’t be hired for some reason, don’t give up. Ask for feedback, follow the guidance, brush up your skills, and fill in the gaps in knowledge and try again in a few months.

Companies seek self-motivated and determined people. If someone improves their skills according to the feedback and tries again, they’ll have much higher chances. It shows that a candidate can draw conclusions from constructive criticism and improve their skills, and what’s more, they want to work in a specific company.

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