I went to the meeting and I don’t think it went that well. The interviewer asked more about my background and then we started talking about some of the project I’d made. This part went badly. I wasn’t logged on to the WiFi and my projects relied on external libraries so initially these didn’t work. I debugged this quickly through dev tools, logged on to the WiFi and things worked, but this threw me in the interview. Furthermore, one of the projects I showed him I hadn’t looked at the code for over six months, and the other one I had made at least two months ago. I was asked to explain my code and words failed me a little bit.
He then asked me questions about how I would improve these projects and again, because I hadn’t really thought about this before (these weren’t projects I had planned to continue developing), I was struggling to find answers. On reflection, I showed him projects which were most relevant to the position when I should have just showed him the projects I had spent most time thinking about.
He then asked me a whether there was anything I hadn’t said in the last interview which I’d like to say now. I struggled on this one too. But I did find it a bit of an odd question and I didn’t really know where to get started. The interviewer gave me no hints here, which was a shame, as objectively I had no idea how the last interview went. However if I had thought about this before the meeting I would have been fine. So it’s totally my fault. Towards the end when we started talking about the actual project I would be working on things got a little better but it wasn’t a great meeting!
Anyhow, I found out on Monday that I didn’t get the job. I did however get some really useful feedback which confirmed some of my feelings about the meeting. They said:
The main thing to be aware of is that as well as looking at technical skills and competence now, firms will be looking for potential. It came across less clearly from you than from the other candidates what you might learn next, how you could make the things you’ve built already better, etc. People sometimes worry that self-criticism can seem like a weakness, but actually an enthusiasm to improve is always an asset and helps show employers what level you’re likely to be at in 6 months, which is something they’ll almost certainly be taking into consideration when choosing a new hire at junior level.
So I’m taking the following strategy for other interviews:
- Improve some of my older projects (put myself through that critical process)
- Blog about this process as I do it
- Show employers my best work rather than most relavant.
- Make it clearer (through GitHub activity, blogposts etc) what I’m learning and where I’ll be in six months
- Put all of my FCC projects on GitHub, as well as the algorithm solutions
- Show employers I can do TDD (this was a weakness in my technical interview)
- Reflect more on interviews if the interview is a multi-stage process!
It was a great experience nonetheless to go through a fairly rigorous interview process. I feel more ready for other interviews in the future. The main thing that struck me is they don’t care that much about the breadth of your skills (despite job ads) and it’s more important that you can think about one problem deeply, than many problems superficially. And I think you can manifest this kind of thinking if you just narrow your focus a bit. Instead of learning many languages, focus on learning one really well. Instead of trying to learn every JS framework, stick to one and get really good at it. Forget about the job ads. They are definitely a wishlist. Nothing is mandatory.
Really inspiring to see other success stories on here. Good luck everyone