Front End Engineer Interview Questions: Finding the Perfect Hire

Female Front-End Engineer Working on a Codebase

The question and answer process is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. After all, it’s impossible to fully assess a front-end engineer's skill sets without the proper questions and formatting. Front-end engineers need a solid knowledge base, hard skills, and comprehensive soft skills. Of course, it depends on the situation. Usually, front-end engineers work with a team or a group of people from other departments to perfect the design and functionality of their projects. The front-end engineer interview questions must be as unique as the job itself. To create the best assessment for the perfect hire, you must differentiate between what to and what not to ask and determine how you will deliver these assessments. 

Interview Questions: Good vs. Bad

Front-end engineers require many different skills and talents. To formulate the questions around these skills, we must first identify some. 

Hard Skills

  • Identifying and fixing bugs
  • Reading and writing in:
    - HTML
    - JavaScript
    - CSS
    - JQuery
    - Ajax
    - Swift
    - React
  • Ensuring responsive designs and other features
  • Optimizing response time
  • Designing prototypes and wireframes
  • Overall creating a satisfactory user experience

Soft Skills

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Prioritization 
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Accountability

With these skills we can decipher the best way to assess each one. Of course, the interview has to be worth your and the applicants' time, so keeping it as short and efficient as possible is optimal. When creating front-end engineer interview questions, you must ask at least one question for each unique skill. One of the worst interview experiences is if all the questions focus on one skill and nothing else. It’s called a skill ‘set’ because it’s a group of abilities. Make sure to assess each part of the set.

While assessing the hard skills is important, you must also assess soft skills. To accomplish the assessment of both a hard skill and a soft skill in the same question is by writing it specifically for elaboration. An example of this is:

You are told to create a series of functions for a dynamic website showing off a portfolio of pngs. You can decide the design layout (carousel, grid, tab gallery, etc.). What first three functions would you create, and in what order would you create them?

This question analyzes many hard AND soft skills. It analyzes vocabulary comprehension, prioritization, problem-solving, communication, programming, decision making, and more. While this is more of a short answer question, there are ways to turn these questions into multiple choice. Using the same type of question, here is an example. 

You are given a group of pngs to showcase as a grid portfolio on a dynamic website. The page showcasing this portfolio only has css, html, and javascript for the header and footer. You are meant to implement this into the body of the code. Of the following: what is the first step you would take to design this?

  1. Create the JavaScript structure for the grid
  2. Create the PHP structure for the grid
  3. Create the HTML structure for the grid
  4. Create the responsiveness for the grid

When analyzing the answer to this multiple choice question, it allows you to identify if this applicant knows the difference between JavaScript, PHP, and HTML. A skilled front-end engineer would know that the HTML structure must be done first. JavaScript, PHP, and responsiveness can only be implemented after the HTML structure has been built. 

One of the worst types of questions to ask is vocabulary-based. These questions waste valuable time during an interview, and they neglect to assess how to apply the vocabulary to a real-life scenario. Every day front-end engineers will be applying vocabulary, so this is not to say understanding vocabulary isn’t important. However, there are plenty of ways to determine if a candidate understands vocabulary without asking for definitions. For example, if you want to know if the applicant knows what DNS is, you could ask them to describe the process in which a domain is assigned. The question doesn’t only assess if the candidate knows what the domain name system is, but it also analyzes if the candidate knows the process of the DNS. Ultimately your questions need to be more creative to assess multiple parts of the candidates' skill set.

The last part of the assessment needs to be a real-life application-based assessment. While you may not be asking questions per se, you will need to give scenarios. While it would be nice to fully assess the application-based portion on long frameworks with multiple aspects, it’s not time efficient. To optimize the best scenarios for the best assessment, you will need to break it up into bite-sized portions, separated by skill. One of the best words of advice would be to ask a current teammate in the front-end engineering team what they are seeking. Assess what skills the current team is lacking and predicate the application-based scenarios to those skills. 

How to Deliver Front-End Engineer Interview Questions

The First Half of the Process

After creating the front-end engineer interview questions, you will need to determine the best ways to ask them. Some questions are better for face-to-face interviews, some for a written test, and others for an application scenario. This strategy can break up the interview process into a more digestible session. Giving some questions as a take-home test can optimize the interviewer's time by only sending qualifying applicants to the face-to-face portion of the interview. 

Multiple choice questions aren’t good for face-to-face or application-based interviews, so most of the multiple choice questions should be assigned as a take-home test, while the rest are reserved for other options. 

The best way to deliver short answer-based questions is by asking face-to-face (this includes virtual face-to-face interviews) or by having them record their answers to be sent. Short answered-based questions need to be answered through verbalization so they can expand upon their answer. Short answers can easily be plagiarized if written, but it would be hard to plagiarize an answer on a recording or a face-to-face interview unless they read the answer. But even in that scenario, you could likely see them reading their answer. These recorded/face-to-face answers would also give the interviewer insight into soft skills like communication, comprehension, and confidence. 

The Second Half of the Process

The last part of the interview would be the application-based interview. The real-life scenario questions should be applied in this section. This section of the interview is the hardest part and ultimately the most important. You need to know if the applicant can fulfill the job requirements, and they can prove it to you at this stage. While the rest of the interview process has challenges, this is the most difficult. That is because the interview team needs an accurate assessment method with specific platforms. Some of the application-based questions will need to be assessed by the candidate coding in an IDE or other coding environment. Some of the application-based questions will need to be assessed by the candidate by creating wireframes or design-based diagrams. Whether you are in person or virtual, the team needs to all be able to see the process of the candidate. These processes can be done by implementing a screen-sharing feature or virtual whiteboard. 

The final analysis is that front-end engineer interview questions need to include multiple sections that analyze multiple skills, soft and hard. This step is best done by delivering each question differently and designing each to assess a multitude of talents. Let the candidate speak and emphasize their strengths and weaknesses in each question. Let the candidate showcase their creativity and logic using a virtual whiteboard and coding environment. Make things easier for the interviewer by eliminating the chance of plagiarism and fraud. Although finding the best software to assess each question is hard, Filtered is here to make it easier for everyone. 

Filtered is a leader in skills-based, data-driven recruiting technology. Our end-to-end technical hiring platform enables you to spend time reviewing only the most qualified candidates, putting skills and aptitude at the forefront of your decisions. We’ll help you automate hiring while applying objective, data-driven techniques to consistently and confidently select the right candidates. To get started, contact our team today or register for a FREE demo