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I had an interview several months back for a web development internship at a company. During the interview, one of the developers interviewing me asked me if I had any comments on their website.

A bit blindsided by the question, I tried to think of positives of their website and gave a generic compliment on their layout's organization then a specific compliment on the content used in their About Page.

I ended up getting the position, but felt like I could've given a much stronger answer to this question. What would be a good response when asked my thoughts on a company's projects I'm interviewing for? Should I be preparing to give possible ideas I feel could improve it?

I have read that it's best not to critique or tell them of issues going on with their project during the interview as it will just give them something negative to associate with me, so I make sure to avoid doing so.

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    You're a web developer, don't you think it would be part of the interview process to review and suggest improvements for websites? But of course telling them their website sucks would likely very much count against you, unless perhaps you're there explicitly to redesign it (it is possible to suggest improvements without criticising). – Dukeling Dec 2 '17 at 17:26
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I think you gave a great answer. The usual formulae is to compliment, address an area that could be improved, then finish with a specific compliment. But if you hit on a sensitive area you can turn an interviewer against you if they feel personally slighted.

For the non complimentary bit of the above formulae, I would normally couch it in 'get outs' like "no website is ever finished", "a website is a process of continual improvement", or "well technology moves at such an astounding pace" or even "a modern design is an ever changing goal" or something similar.

Then whatever criticism you are touching on lightly is already couched in a 'get out' or an excuse for a poor area.

You took the easier path of not criticising at all, but often this is the time when you can show you have something to bring to the table. If another candidate had an actual 404 error or broken link to talk about, your answer might not have compared as well.

However you answer though, you have to tread very carefully, and avoid anything that is absolute or damning like "The logo looks like a child did it" or "your colour choices are garish and clash", whatever you might actually be thinking.

  • If someone analyzed the website using developer tools, analyzed the code, and improved the load times, they would've looked much better than what you had. – Nelson Dec 5 '17 at 16:27
  • Of course, it was a silly example I gave. But you cannot criticise too deeply because compromises are made for all sorts of reasons. For instance, speed may not be their goal. Perhaps for good reason they were not compressing output. But other things can be legitimately addressed, and there is never an excuse for a broken site or functionality that simply does not work. – PaulD Dec 5 '17 at 19:18

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