Likely failed an interview

Likely failed an interview
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Okay, this one is a little painful to write. But it’s more for me than anyone else.
I just did one of those timed online interviews, and well, I’m not too proud of myself. The test was made up of 7 sections. HTML5,CSS3,JavaScript6,Typescript,React,React Native and Database. 3 questions each except for JS which was 11 questions. I wasn’t completely stumped. I was glad to see questions I actually knew the answers to. But some, I had never even come across things like them before, so i had to guess. I thought I was ready. Thought my life was about to finally be better. Guess not.

One voice in my head is telling me, it’s okay because the questions were advanced for you anyway and this won’t be the only interview you’ll ever get. The other says, I had my chance at a better life and just blew it. I know this is just a setback. Usually i’d go down a downward spiral of depression and won’t touch a computer for weeks. But I can’t lose anymore time. So i’m doing my best to brush it off and move on. It’s unlikely i’ll hear back from the company so i need to keep on going.

But it is hard. When i set out to do this, i was just in awe of what it meant to be a developer. But each day it’s getting harder. I used to think just HTML,CSS & JS was what i needed to a front-end developer. Now there are like 15 technologies you must know if you want to make it. Every time i find out about a new one i have to learn, a little bit of my enthusiasm dies.

But like i said, i can’t give up. Because despite it all, i cannot imagine a future where i’m doing anything besides this. I’d be miserable. I already made a goal to be job ready by the end of the year. This is just a small hurdle. At the end of the year, i’m going to come back to this post and see how much i really have changed. Like i said, this is more of a personal motivation, but if it helps you too, i’m glad. So DON’T GIVE UP. It sucks when you can’t see the future as clearly as you see the past, but i believe it’ll get better. It has to.

On that note, i’m going to go cry a little, then get back to work. We’ve got a long way to go.

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I “failed” several interviews before getting hired. Just keep learning and, if you were able to get offered a test already, keep applying as well, since you’re getting bites.

Of course, it’s hard to balance applying for jobs and also learning and building, and you’re the best one to decide how much you can handle at once.

Don’t worry about the “growing” amount of things to learn. That’s just evidence that you’re becoming more aware of what’s out there. Instead of, “React Hooks? What’s that?” You’ll be able to say, “Oh yes, I’ve heard of those but haven’t got a chance to try them!” Seriously, I’ve only been employed 3 months and have already had to pick up and use/build with Vue.js, Vuex, Bulma, Python, Flask, PostgresSql, SQLAlchemy, Docker, AWS and various dependencies I had never heard of before. And now I have to build something from scratch using C#, Azure, and .Net.

So congrats on getting considered for an interview. And good job on all you’ve learned. The more you can pick up and use/master before the end of the year, the ever more likely you are to get called in for more opportunities.

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Hey, not knowing the answers to some randomly selected questions doesn’t mean you are not ready - it just means you didn’t know those specific things.

Honestly, this kind of trivia quiz as an interview step is pretty bad. But it’s hard to determine technical capability and not put too much of a time burden on the candidate, so I understand why companies do it.

Take the opportunity to read up on the areas you fell short on, just for your own sanity and so you can see that you are genuinely growing from the experience - but don’t let this one incident put you off applying for roles.

Interviewing is a numbers game. Nothing more. I’ve seen very inexperienced people land some sort of dev job to make a start in their career, so keep learning, keep applying and eventually you’ll get there.

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Congratulations, you failed! That’s worth celebrating. You know why? Because it is infinitely better than not having tried at all.

Now you have a chance to look at what could have gone better and learn from it for next time. Now your subconscious mind has been confronted with something that it fears and will soon figure out that - lo and behold - you are still alive! That means, it has time to understand that failing isn’t all that scary and you’ll be better prepared for the next challenge for it.

So, don’t beat yourself up. And remember, even if you feel like you are just limping along, you are still lapping everyone who is sitting on the couch.

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Don’t give up. Everybody “fails” interviews. Those technical quizzes are often pretty terrible. They are not a realistic way to assess if someone is able to do the work. Where I work right now was the only employer who did it well (the quizz was a take-home, so I was able to google things, just like I do all the time at work). I have been turned down for jobs that I thought I would get for sure. I was also once hired after I thought I “failed” the whiteboard interview.

If you can, maybe ask for feedback from the employer. Maybe someone technical there would be able to point you to things you should learn. Use this as a learning opportunity.

Also, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that there is to learn to be a web developer. But the good news is, you don’t need to learn it all. I started learning about 5 years ago, I have been working as a developer for over 3 years, and I sill google things all the time, and encounter concepts I have never heard of. I still spend some of my free time learning. The goal is not for you to learn everything, but to get some practice figuring things out. Rather than try to cram information, work on some projects and whenever you get to a point of “I have no idea how to do this”, that is when you will learn. If I was hiring a junior developer, that is what I would be looking for… the ability to figure things out.

You will get more opportunities. Don’t give up. It sounds like you have come a really long way already.

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Just to reiterate what others have already told you. Interviews can be brutal. Honestly don’t beat yourself up about it. One has to see failing to get this job this time not as failure, but as one step forward and learning more about what doesn’t work and where you can improve. The Thomas Edison anecdote applies, you know, the one about failing 10,000 times before he succeeded to invent a workable lightbulb. On his way there, each failure was positive, and taught him another way that didn’t work.

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