Web Developer Interview Questions

One of the pet peeves I have when interviewing a developer is realizing that the candidate is completely clueless about certain skills for which he or she has claimed expertise on their resume. There are just too many outright liars out there — so many desperate people pad their list of supposedly known technologies in order for them to get to the in-person interview that it becomes difficult to weed out the chaff simply by scanning their curriculum vitae online.

Unfortunately, the problem is now so prevalent that it is necessary to nip the bud early before wasting more colleagues’ time in interviewing. If any of the technologies below are listed, I start out asking easy soft-ball questions like those that follow.


  • What does “well formed” mean?
  • Describe the difference between a DOM parser and a SAX parser.


  • What is WML and what is it used for?
  • What are the two most common WML tags used to create hyperlinks?


  • How do you open a file for writing?
  • How would you replace the word “dog” with the word “cat”?
  • What is the difference between “&&” and “and” logical operators?


  • What does 2+5+”7″ evaluate to?
  • What does the “isNaN” function do?


  • Name and provide basic details of the Struts configuration files.
  • How do you display Struts validation errors on a JSP?


  • What is a page directive and what is it used for?
  • What is the difference between a client-side comment and a server-side comment?

If candidates can’t correctly answer these ultra-basic questions… well, there is really no hope!

I recently interviewed a “senior-level” candidate who claimed ten years of enterprise experience and “expert knowledge” of each of these technologies on his résumé — he completely failed all of the above WML, Perl, JavaScript, and JSP questions!