How to Crack the Front-End Coding Interview

While it might seem a bit daunting initially, cracking the front-end coding interview is a reasonably achievable goal. Aim to be a front-end developer at any FAANG or tier-1 company, and with proper preparation, you can surely clear it with confidence. This article clears the roadmap for you and provides you with information and insights that can help you put your best foot forward as a front-end software engineer.

If you are preparing for a tech interview, check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to get interview-ready! Also, read Cracking the Coding Interview: 9 Extremely Important Things You Should Know and Most Popular Coding Languages for FAANG Interviews in 2021 for specific insights and guidance on tech interviews at FAANG.

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In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Expectations From a Front-End Engineer
  • Skills Required for Front-End Developer Interview Preparation
  • Preparing for Front-End Interview: Interview Process
  • How to Crack the Front-End Coding Interview: Tips
  • Front-End Programming Interview Questions
  • FAQs on Front-End Interview Preparation

Expectations From a Front-End Engineer

As a front-end engineer, your job would be primarily to design, select, install, and test the UI. You would be expected to know and apply visual as well as interactive design principles to web applications and websites to create a seamless user experience. 

From an interview perspective, beyond knowing how to design the user experience, a front-end engineer should have a good enough knowledge of data structures and algorithms. 

Related read: What Is the Role of a Facebook Front-End Engineer?

Skills Required for Front-End Developer Interview Preparation

To know how to crack the front-end coding interview, you must first be aware of the skills you’re likely to need to become a successful front-end engineer. The skill requirements for any specific front-end engineer job are a bit different from the others. 

The requirements would be specific to that role and company. That said, certain skills are essential or, at the very least, highly valuable to have as a front-end software engineer. Some of the skills required for cracking an interview for the role of a front-end engineer may include:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • React 
  • Angular
  • WebDev
  • UX and UI
  • Data structures 
  • Algorithms
  • Practical experience with APIs, GIT repositories, and experience in writing tests
  • Work experience in role-relevant technologies
  • Personal projects that show skill, initiative, and understanding of design principles
  • Interviewing skills are crucial to getting your dream job and are an area where IK can significantly help

Along with the above skills, it also helps to have had former employers that are known to hire the best talent.

Preparing for Front-End Interview: Interview Process

The interview process for front-end interview would typically involve:

  • Recruiter phone screen
  • Technical phone screen
  • Take-home assignments (not always)
  • Onsite interviews

Recruiter Phone Screen

A recruiter phone screen typically lasts about 30 minutes and aims to determine if you have a shot at the job and are someone they can see themselves working with. Expect questions based on your resume, the role you applied for, and why you’re interested in that company. Your answers to behavioral questions should show both intellectual humility and confidence and should not be too long.

If you weren’t already sent an email about the entire interview process, the recruiter might also inform you about the next steps in the interview process during this call. You can ask any appropriate questions regarding the process at the end of the interview, and they’ll let you know as much as they are at liberty to tell you.

Technical Phone Screen

There are usually two technical phone screens that typically last 45 minutes each and will test whether your knowledge and skills sync with your resume and whether they are relevant to the role. You can expect questions in the format: what’s X, what’s the use of X, why do we choose X over Y, when should we choose Y over X, compare X with Y, differentiate between X and Y, and so on to test your depth of understanding. 

Give your answers at a moderate pace and maintain an appropriate tone so you can communicate your technical competence effectively through your solutions. Also, even during a phone screen where you aren’t visible, dressing well for the occasion will help you feel more confident and may help you perform better. 

Related read: How to Prepare for and Crack Phone Screen Interviews at FAANG

Take-Home Assignments

In some cases, you may be given an assignment to finish in a few days. Make sure to test your solution well and follow the instructions on what’s okay to refer to and what’s not while solving the problem.

Onsite Interviews

These will have multiple rounds with multiple interviewers, typically 50-60 minutes each, lasting 6-9 hours, including a lunch break. The exact structure of the interview will vary based on the company, but broadly, they’ll judge you on behavioral, technical, and leadership skills. Each round will usually focus on one category, but questions testing additional skills are not entirely out of bounds.

Behavioral and leadership rounds:

  • Remember the STAR format, role-relevant experiences, and skills, use action words and use “we” over “I” wherever appropriate. 
  • Expect questions you haven’t prepared answers for and be ready to answer them. Favor direct and concise answers over extremely short or long ones.
  • Show your unique strengths and talk about instances where you’ve shown adaptability.
  • Talk about the instances where you were a true team player. For teamwork-related questions, check out our article on teamwork job interview questions

Technical rounds:

  • Ask clarifying questions, make sure you’ve correctly understood the problem.
  • Verify and declare any assumptions you make.
  • Express your thought process behind decisions and tradeoffs out loud.
  • It is better to implement a working solution fully, even if it isn’t the most optimized solution, than not have a working solution.

How to Crack the Front-End Coding Interview: Tips

Here are some tips to help the interview process seem like a breeze: 

  • Go through the specific role requirements and prepare accordingly. While the skills valued in a front-end engineer remain constant, there is no one size fits all solution. Tailor your answers to be relevant to the role requirements of the company. There is only so much time during an interview; use it to tell them exactly what makes you a good fit for that specific role in their company.
  • Learn about the company. The company’s values, goals, and any major news about it is something. 
  • Don’t underestimate the coding questions based on data structures and algorithms. Practice and prepare well for them.
  • Refine your role-relevant skills and create experiences where you demonstrate them.
  • Ask yourself when and how you’ve demonstrated the desired skills and values of the company.
  • Prepare your stories in STAR or CAR format. In the STAR format, the order of sharing information should be: Situation, Task, Action, and Result, and in the CAR format, the order goes Context, Action, and Result. For more details on STAR and CAR format, check out our article on Amazon Behavioral Interview Questions.
  • Write down your talking points, but don’t memorize them or rely on reading from them.
  • Go through the previous front-end interview questions of the company and its close competitors and make sure you can answer them.
  • Adopt intermittent repetition over tackling a difficult and complex topic for a long stretch at once and then not returning to revisit it for weeks/months. Spaced repetition helps with retention.
  • Do mock interviews and watch mock interviews available online.
  • Be ready to effectively talk about experiences where you handled a difficult situation, went through a loss, or failed at your desired task. 
  • Make sure to mention instances in your career where your ownership and contribution to the team led to a significant positive impact.
  • Make a list of questions you might want to ask the interviewer about the role or the company.

While rigor is required, ensure that you don’t burn yourself out.
Here are some tips to keep yourself calm:

  • Sleep well, get some sun, do some things that relax you, and take regular short breaks every few hours during the day to maintain your mental fortitude during your front-end interview preparation.
  • To help with interview jitters, practice meditation, mindfulness, listen to music or do anything else that you know for sure helps relax you.
  • Wind down early the night before your interview. Ensure your audio/video apparatus (in case of online interviews), travel arrangements (in case of an onsite interview), alarm, outfit, and documents are all ready before you hit the bed.

Front-End Programming Interview Questions

These are some of the questions typically asked during a front-end coding interview:

  1. Write a program to check if a string is a palindrome
  2. Write a program to flatten an array
  3. Implement a simple observable
  4. Create a multiplication function without using the multiplication operator
  5. Create a function that calls an input function f every 50 milliseconds only
  6. What happens in a browser when you click a link?
  7. There are two very large numbers; each is so large that the only way to represent them is through an array of integers. Create a program with a function that multiplies them
  8. Create a function that takes a function f and returns a function that calls f on a timeout
  9. How would you link your CSS and JS file to your HTML document?
  10. Create a function that takes a string as input and returns all the unique letters present in it
  11. Describe the concept of closure
  12. Write a program that scores a tic-tac-toe board
  13. Write code using HTML and CSS for a US flag 
  14. What do you know about Redux?
  15. Differentiate between cookies and local storage.
  16. Talk about the most interesting project of your career.
  17. Describe the usage of functions like forEach, Map, and Reduce in JavaScript.
  18. What are arrow functions, and how do they work?
  19. What is the difference between var, let, and const?
  20. Differentiate between  Promises and Async/Await.
  21. Talk a bit about PureComponent and describe how you’d use it to your advantage.
  22. Describe higher-order components (HOC) and their practical usage.
  23. What is your opinion on the latest React updates?

FAQs on Front-End Interview Preparation

Q. Where do I start my preparation?

You can start by visiting the careers pages of companies like Amazon, Google, etc., and going through the requirements for some of the front-end engineer job opportunities you may find interesting. While you’re at it, we also recommend learning about the goals and values of your target companies. 

You might also find our articles on The Best Data Structures and Algorithms Course to Crack FAANG Interviews and 21 Job Interview Tips: Make a Superb Impression and Get Hired helpful.

Q. How can IK help me prepare for the front-end coding interview?

If you need help with your prep, whether you’re a front-end coding engineer or a backend software developer, consider joining Interview Kickstart. At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors, hiring managers, and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

That’s not all! We offer a one-of-its-kind Front-End Engineering Interview Course that is tailor-made to help front-end engineers crack tech interviews at the biggest tech companies. Click here to learn more.

For more details on how IK can help you uplevel your career, sign up for our FREE webinar!

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