20 WordPress Interview Questions to Ask Your Next Candidate

Finding the right WordPress developer can make a world of difference to your online project’s success. Having the right person on board can not only streamline the website creation process but also significantly impact your site’s usability, functionality, and performance. But how do you ensure that you’re hiring a truly competent WordPress developer? The answer lies in asking the right “WordPress Interview Questions” during the selection process.

Asking the correct “WordPress interview questions is a critical step in the hiring journey. It enables you to peel back the layers of your potential candidates’ skill sets, examining their technical capabilities, their problem-solving approach, and their experience with this widely used CMS. These questions help assess if they can handle the nitty-gritty of WordPress development, from theme and plugin management to ensuring optimal performance and security.

Effective WordPress interview questions can also provide insights into a candidate’s understanding of WordPress’s broader ecosystem. Can they leverage WordPress’s powerful tools to create a website that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also ranks well on search engines? Do they know how to make a website responsive for users across a wide range of devices? How well can they ensure your website is accessible to all users?

In this blog post, we’ve compiled a list of the top 20 WordPress interview questions that you should be asking your next potential candidate. These questions will not only help gauge the technical competency of your candidates but also provide a deeper understanding of how they approach complex projects and solve challenging problems. By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped to find the right WordPress developer for your project. Let’s dive in!

WordPress Interview Questions

These are 20 carefully crafted WordPress interview questions to help you first gauge a general understanding of WordPress and qualify your interviewee.

1. What is WordPress, and can you explain why its widely used?

The candidate should be able to articulate what WordPress is and why it’s a popular choice for website development.

WordPress is an open-source Content Management System (CMS). It’s widely used due to its flexibility, ease of use, and robust community support. WordPress offers thousands of customizable themes and plugins, which makes it adaptable for creating any website type, from personal blogs to complex ecommerce sites. It has excellent SEO capabilities, making it easier for websites to rank well on search engines which is uncommon with other CMS platforms. The active global community contributes to its continuous improvement and security, which further solidifies its popularity among web developers and users alike.

2. Can you explain the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

This question checks for understanding of the two different WordPress platforms.

WordPress.org and WordPress.com are two different platforms, although they both utilize the WordPress CMS. In short, WordPress.org is a self-hosted version of WordPress and WordPress.com is a hosting service that handles the initial setup and hosting. WordPress.com is not ideal for most people who are looking to build with WordPress. WordPress.org (or core WordPress) allows for full customization, including the ability to upload custom themes, plugins, and modify the code. It’s highly flexible but requires more technical understanding. WordPress.com takes care of the hosting for you. While it’s easier to use and requires less technical knowledge, it comes with limitations. You can’t upload custom themes or plugins unless you upgrade to their business plan, and you don’t have as much control over your website as you would with a self-hosted WordPress.org site. WordPress.com is not recommended.

3. How would you create a custom theme in WordPress?

This question can help you gauge the candidate’s knowledge of theme development.

Creating custom WordPress themes a high level of understanding of PHP along with HTML, CSS, and possibly JavaScript. I would start by creating a new theme folder in the themes directory to house the new theme files that contains a style.css and index.php file. The Style sheet holds details about the theme and the index serves as the main template file. Then I would create additional template files like header.php, footer.php, sidebar.php, and functions.php to structure the theme. I follow the WordPress Codex and Template Hierarchy guidelines to ensure the theme functions properly. Then, I add WordPress Loop in the necessary files to display posts and comments. After that, it’s all about adding features and styling the theme using CSS/SCSS and JavaScript/jQuery as per the design requirements.

4. Can you explain what a WordPress plugin is and name some plugins you often use?

This question checks for understanding of plugins and their usefulness.

A WordPress plugin is a piece of software that can be added to a WordPress website to extend its functionality or add new features. Plugins are written in PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. They provide a way to maximize the website’s capabilities without having to code from scratch, and there’s a plugin for almost every functionality you can think of. Common plugins are YoastSEO, WooCommerce, Akistmet Spam Protection, Elementor, and Gravity Forms.

5. How do you handle WordPress security?

A candidate’s response to this question can give you insight into how seriously they take security considerations.

The first step is to keep WordPress core, plugins, and themes updated to the latest versions and ensure an SSL is installed on the websites domain. From there we should only use plugins and themes from reputable sources to prevent installing potentially malicious code. Optimal security plugins such as Sucuri or WordFence will help protect the site with features like firewalls, malware scanning, and intrusion detection. These features can also be contained inside of hosting through SiteGround or WPengine which also come with daily backups of the website. The last thing to be careful for is strong login and form submission security measures such as enforcing strong passwords and limiting login attempts.

6. How would you optimize a WordPress website for better performance?

This question can help determine the candidate’s understanding of performance optimization techniques.

Optimizing a WordPress site’s performance for fastest page speed can be tedious to achieve. Performance is mostly measured in guidance of Google’s core web vitals which can be measured at pagespeed.web.dev to find actionable insights for a WordPress page. You want to ensure the server hosting is optimal and using a CDN to load files. You want to ensure that only the necessary code for each page is being used, and any unnecessary code such as JavaScript or CSS is diverted from the page load. Any media files used on the page (like photos, videos, etc) should be completely optimized and compressed.

7. Can you explain what Gutenberg is and how it’s impacted WordPress?

This checks for understanding of WordPress’s built-in editor and how it has changed the platform.

Gutenberg is the default block editor introduced in WordPress 5.0, which has significantly changed the way content is created in WordPress. It allows users to build pages and posts visually which was difficult before. Gutenberg uses a variety of content blocks, such as paragraphs, images, or videos, giving them more flexibility and control over the layout. Gutenberg has made it easier for beginners to create complex layouts without needing knowledge of coding. However, it has also raised the bar for theme and plugin developers who now have to ensure their products are Gutenberg-compatible

8. How would you handle a WordPress site migration?

This question can reveal the candidate’s experience and competence in handling site migrations.

Site migration can be a delicate process, but with careful planning, it can be done smoothly. First, you should take a full backup of the current site. Then set up a new hosting environment and install WordPress. Using a plugin like All-in-One WP Migration or SG Migrator if using Siteground hosting. From there you need to import the files from the old site to the new site. After importing, you should check the site thoroughly to ensure everything is functioning as expected. You should also update the site URLs if the domain is changing and update any necessary DNS records. You should be careful about any other DNS settings changing that shouldn’t during this process. It’s important to go in with a plan so as minimizing downtime and data loss is my utmost priority.

9. Can you explain what a shortcode is and provide an example of when you might use one?

Shortcodes are essential parts of WordPress development, and this question checks for understanding of their use.

Shortcodes are small pieces of code used to integrate additional functionality simply. Shortcodes are held within brackets and call upon functions set elsewhere within the theme. An example for this would be placing [slider_gallery] on your page to create a slider, if using a plugin with a fancy slider gallery that is configured in the plugin settings directly.

10. How do you approach mobile responsiveness in WordPress design?

This question checks for understanding of responsive design principles.

Mobile responsiveness is essential now that most of the web is on mobile. You should simplify the process by only using responsive themes and layouts. Each devices viewport should be considered and designed for specifically using breakpoints. When designing a page it is critical to test the page on every screen size and every browser; making changes to design to cater to each unique view.

11. Can you differentiate between posts and pages in WordPress?

This is a basic question that checks for understanding of the core elements of WordPress.

The main difference in posts and pages is how they are intended to be used. Posts are the entries listed in reverse chronological order on your blog’s homepage or in the post feed. Posts are usually considered timely or long form content such as news or blogs. Pages are meant for stating and non-time sensitive content that doesn’t change frequently.

12. How do you manage updates to WordPress core, themes, and plugins?

This question can reveal how the candidate manages updates and maintenance.

They should maintain updates by regularly checking for them, backing up the site before applying updates, and testing the site after each update to ensure everything is functioning properly. There are optimal platforms for automating this process such as ManageWP or WPumbrella.

13. How comfortable are you with PHP and why is it important in WordPress development?

This checks for understanding of PHP, the primary programming language used in WordPress.

They should have some understanding of PHP, but depending on your intended role for them, being an expert isn’t necessary in today’s landscape of WordPress.

14. How would you go about troubleshooting a WordPress site that’s running slowly?

This question can reveal the candidate’s problem-solving skills and understanding of performance issues.

They should start by measuring the website with a tool like GTMetrix or Web.dev to get actionable insights to the issues causing the website to run slowly. From there they should take action solving those issues to see what works. It’s possible that switching hosts or themes, or deleting plugins could be keeping the site from running faster. (If the candidate says something like “Probably focus on length strength so it can run faster…” you should hire them on the spot)

15. How would you create a custom post type in WordPress?

This question checks for understanding of more advanced WordPress development techniques.

They would use the ‘register_post_type’ function in the functions.php file of the theme to create custom post types, defining the necessary arguments to customize its behavior and appearance.

16. Can you explain what a WordPress child theme is and why it’s useful?

This checks for understanding of child themes and their importance in WordPress development.

They should define a child theme as a sub-theme that inherits all the functionality, features, and style of its parent theme. It’s useful for modifying a parent theme without losing the ability to update that theme.

17. How do you handle SEO in WordPress?

This question can reveal the candidate’s knowledge of SEO principles and how to apply them within WordPress.

They should leverage the power of SEO-friendly plugins like Yoast SEO, alongside standard practices like creating quality content, using appropriate meta tags, optimizing images, and ensuring fast page load times.

18. Can you explain how you would ensure the accessibility of a WordPress site?

Accessibility is important, and this question checks for understanding of accessibility principles.

They should adhere to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), use accessible themes, ensure keyboard navigation, use correct heading structures, provide alt text for images, and perform regular audits using accessibility evaluation tools.

19. How familiar are you with WordPress Multisite and what are its benefits?

This checks for understanding of WordPress Multisite, a more advanced feature of WordPress.

Multisite is a feature that allows you to create a network of sites from a single WordPress installation which helps to streamline the management of multiple websites that share consistent settings or themes. They should be familiar with WordPress Multisite.

20. Can you describe a challenging WordPress project you’ve worked on and how you solved the issues?

This question allows the candidate to showcase their problem-solving skills and their ability to handle complex projects.

This is designed to help you understand their problem solving skills. Keep note of how simple they are able to explain the issue and how they overcame it.

Hire a WordPress Developer that fits your needs

Whether you’re a business seeking to hire a WordPress developer or a recruitment firm looking to streamline your interview process, we hope that these comprehensive WordPress interview questions will be instrumental in revealing a candidate’s true proficiency and fit for the role.

At Agency Label, we’re proud to be a leading White Label WordPress Agency with extensive experience and knowledge in all things WordPress. Our team of dedicated WordPress experts is always available to answer any WordPress-related questions you might have or assist you with your WordPress tasks. So, whether you’re dealing with a complex issue or simply need guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. We understand the intricacies of WordPress and are committed to helping you leverage its full potential for your success.

Remember, the key to finding the right developer is understanding their expertise within WordPress, their problem-solving skills, and their ability to adapt and learn. By asking the right WordPress Interview questions, you can ensure that you’re bringing onboard a candidate who will help propel your business forward in the digital realm. Good luck!