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Why I Succeeded In The Interview But Lost The Job!

alimobasheri profile image Mir Ali Mobasheri Updated on ・9 min read

What did encourage me to write this post❓

Two weeks ago I applied for 3 companies. The job offers were aimed at junior Front-end developers. Well, all of them accepted my resume and two of them interviewed me. One of them never told the results and the last one offered me the job.

Yet I had to work for 3 experimental weeks and if they really liked the way I did my job, I would've been recruited.
So I accepted the deal and began to work there and then after spending a week on the job I got rejected. Certainly I was paid for the one week work but in the end, right now I'm sitting jobless in front of my laptop, trying to describe to you why I succeeded and then failed.

I've shared valuable advices with you in this post.
But first of all I suppose you need to have some background of me.

Who am I?

I am Ali and I'm a deaf. Deaf is the word that could describe me appropriately. Because it's not only a disability it's also a way of life.

I live in Tehran, Iran and I'm 21 years old. I'm still studying at the university. My education field is Industrial Safety and I'm currently studying at the Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran.

I think this short introduction is enough to let you have some basic knowledge of my condition.
Now let's have a few words about how I entered the world of code.

How the journey began...

It wasn't a stormy night in the middle of the winter. The journey had actually began since my youth. I am 21 years old at the moment and the first time I wrote my first line of HTML, there was no sign of it's fifth version.

And then the HTML 5 and the CSS 3 were introduced. The excitement at the time was mainly about the HTML semantic tags and the CSS opacity and border-radius properties. Since then the languages have developed further more.

And then I got lost in the journey...

Yes, I had written HTML a very long time ago. And I was even learning PHP 5 and MySQL. But it was never serious learning. It was out of curiosity and self-pleasure. So I left the learning hobby very soon in order to continue my school studies.

But a day came, when nothing was like before. My left ear too, said goodbye to the hearing world to join my right one; which had gone deaf since my childhood.

Who said there were no stormy nights?

Having a severe deafness, up to 90% in both ears, I was left in the world of solitude. Talking, socializing, learning and any normal activity that you could name, became tremendously hard for me.

But for the next three years I was the top student in a normal high school. I found my way into the university and then, finally I returned to my old hobby. Programming.

What is Bootstrap? Where did React.js come from? Really, ES6?

Being absent for a long time, I knew nothing of the newest developments in the frontend world. It was like I had come out of a cave in which I had lived for a thousand years.

Then I began to experiment with the new things and eventually I was on the road to become a front-end developer.

Apply here, apply there, apply everywhere

Three months have passed since the first time I really applied for a job. Then I had applied for 3 companies but none of them even accepted me. Why? you may ask, and my answer would be that my resume sucked.

It was just a description of myself and the things I liked and how I was involved into programming. Aside that I had an open source sample project on Github which was deployed online. But the project was unfinished and it really had no great design.

I had thought the code itself and the technologies that I had used in it would be enough. But it wasn't, so I didn't even get a call for an interview.

About two months passed, and I got my first interviews. How?

How I Succeeded In The Interview.

# Point 1: The resume, the resume, the resume.

I totally rewrote my resume. There were no descriptions of me. Just lists of what I had mastered and what I was currently learning and what I had had experience with. It went like this:

  • I know JavaScript since my youth. I'm mastered at: HTML5, CSS3, JS ES6, jQuery, Bootstrap, React.js, Redux.js, ...
  • I'm currently learning: Advanced Node.js, Express.js, ...
  • I have experience with: Python, Web-Scraping, Phaser.js 3, ...

Plus points:

  • Clean code
  • Functional Programming
  • High self-education and self-reliability: Top high school student, despite hearing problems

So as you can see, instead of writing sentences, describing myself, I gave quick facts about my abilities and specialties. This way the reader can quickly match my abilities with the requirements of the job.

But the resume's description part wasn't the only difference. I also created more sample projects.

# Point 2: Sample Projects, or Show Them What You Can Do.

The second time I sent my resumes, I had three main sample projects. Every three of them were big projects, but unfinished. But the point here isn't the project itself, or its deployment and demo.

What I did was to write proficient descriptions for every project in my Github account. In my resume I redirected the reviewer to the readme section of my repos and tried to attract their attention.

What my Readmes included were a list of descriptions of the technologies I had used and their purpose.
Such a description is what actually every reviewer is looking for. No one is going to review every line of your code.

The fact that you can explain the tools you have used in your project and their purpose, will give the reviewer a good idea of the fact that you generally understand those tools.

# Point 3: The Interview, or Let The Stress Out

Because of my deafness and due to the Covid-19 spread I offered both of the interviewers to do the interview on a video call and type the questions at the same time.

Since I couldn't hear their voice, they would type their questions for me and I would give my replies by speech.

The most important part about job interviews is preparation.
You should study the languages' and the libraries' references and have a good realization of their application. But...
Remember that in an interview you are actually compared to other appliers.

So you don't have to answer every question correctly. But answer every one of them with confidence. And if you don't know an answer, just confess it. Don't give random answers, as it would cause negative attention.

And remember that your interview also demonstrates how you can share knowledge and collaborate in a team. Therefore don't get stressful.

Thus there is no magic way to succeed in an interview, but the picture you give of yourself can ultimately lead to success. This can be achieved through a confident resume and interview.

Yes, I managed to succeed in one of the interviews which was more generally about the core JS, CSS and HTML.

I don't think my other interview was really very bad, but it was the kind of interview which required you to know every theoretical parts of React and Next.js or Node.js and etc. which I didn't really have a good grasp upon. I was never informed of the results.

Accepted but not recruited.

How I Failed The Job

The seventh night, after I returned from work, I received a text message which went on like:

Mr. Mobasheri, hello:
As was mentioned before in our skype chat, we always experiment our coworkers in an experimental duration. To be successful in our business we need an experienced and fast developer. But in the week that has passed we've concluded that we can't continue collaboration with you.
We wish you the best in the path you have chosen...

Well, there was nothing special I could do about it. But I thought it was my right to know why I was rejected.

"What's wrong with my work?", I asked the senior programmer the next day, "I have done everything you required of me!"
"What's wrong with your work?" He typed this on the WhatsApp web app, open on the screen in front of him (because of my hearing issue), "Let me tell you."

And I thank him for his clean and direct reply. I never knew how much wrong I had gone the way.

# Point 1: Clean Code, or You Don't Know JS

I was informed that writing messy code was my biggest issue. But wait. Hadn't I written in my resume that clean code was one of my plus points? So how comes that I couldn't follow its rules in my own code?

I had read the Clean Code book and have always tried to implement its rules in my programming. But it turns out that my problem was in React.

  • I didn't write clean React components.
  • I didn't use React's core abilities to shorten the code.
  • I had even written a long useEffect to manage routing states for a part of the site which used step by step navigation, while I could have achieved this using JS Objects.

But it wasn't only about React. In fact clean code isn't all about component names and Pure Functions. It's also about using the programming language's own methods to reduce code. At which I was again defeated.

  • There was a point at which I had to format Integers to prices. As an example: 25000 -> 25,000. Since the project was multilingual and both Persian and English formats of the price were required, I had chosen to write a complete function which would do the job. Using map and reduce and other array Methods, it consisted of 13 lines of code. But indeed I didn't need to use that. JavaScript has an in-built Method for Integers which is toLocaleString() and that does the job perfectly. The only thing I needed to do was to pass it the lang abbreviation (English: 'en', Persian: 'fa').

As simple as this I was rejected for not having a deep knowledge of everything about React and JS.

# Point 2: Responsive Design Strategies, or Understanding Every Bit Of HTML 5 and CSS 3

God, I know responsive design! I know how to implement Flexbox. Even when during the interview I was asked how to create a Glassmorphic design, I replied that backdrop-filter: blur is the right way and it was totally right.

But the senior programmer told me that I had used strange ways to implement design in the Front-end.

  • I had wrapped many elements inside a div tag. Instead I could use CSS properties directly on the elements themselves.
  • I had used the percentage unit % over and over again. I was told that the percentage unit isn't very predictable. And also that I had written rules like padding: 30% for responsivity, which he said he had never seen before.

But why did this happen?

The senior programmer who was also my interviewer told me that I had had the best interview results and that nobody had answered the questions as thoroughly as me, but he wondered why I wasn't so good in action.

  • I needed more experience and that was right.

But there was also another fact. He told me that the interview's questions were all the type of questions for which to be able to give a correct answer you had to have had some experience in the related matters.

Well that's truly right. I was experienced enough to answer all those questions. But the interview questions mainly focused on the general matters. I'm a self-educated programmer. I have practiced everything by myself. So I might have solved the problems in ways which didn't look standard or clean.

  • I have learnt the technologies widely, but not deeply. I can create a web app or a website from the scratch using the famous tools. But I'm not fast enough. That's because I haven't focused enough on the design patterns. I haven't learnt the languages and the libraries deep enough.

  • And most importantly I need to practice every small aspect of the technologies and the languages used in the Front-end development.

That's the goal I set for myself yesterday when I returned home from the office.

Got paid but failed:(

What To Expect In The Future?

I hope this post would be helpful for the readers.

But if you have really read through my long story, I would be glad to announce that I want to start publishing new series of articles on dev.to.

My goal is to write about clean code in React.js and deep learning of JS, HTML, CSS, React.js and etc.

The Journey Has Just began.

Failed but not done 😏

Discussion (36)

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ecyrbe profile image
ecyrbe

This is sad. They want a junior developper and expect every junior developper to work like a senior one ?

Especially, you said that the job offers where destined to juniors and then this senior developper just said he was looking for experienced developper after you worked a week for them? did they lie in their job offer ?

From what you described, why this team rejected you do not seems like valid points. These are minor issues unless they have other rants they felt where not policitally correct to tell you.

Let me explain why :

  • clean code : expecting junior developpers to not reinvent the wheel, has nothing to do with clean code. The points he raised have to do with experience and library knowledge. These points can be learned, fixed in review easilly. Clean code is about good code practice like using code factoring, using good naming conventions, making unit tests... again, nothing related to knowing the langage and library in's and out's.
  • html / css : A good senior developper would have told you in a pull request review what he considers bad, what is good and tell you how to do responsive css with media queries, etc...these are also point you acquire with experience, not something you expect from a junior.

Just to be clear, if you sell yourself as a junior developper, i would not have nit picked on any of the described subjects.

what matters when i work with a junior developper (i'm tech lead, with 20 years experience on the field) :

  • i expect him to learn fast
  • i expect him to be curious, to be technology enthousiast
  • i expect him to not do the same mistake twice
  • i expect him to try to search for an answer before coming to ask for my help
  • i expect him to work with the team
  • i expect him to be professional

when i'm disapointed on any junior dev it's for these points:

  • repeat the same errors again and again
  • not listening to advices
  • working only for the pay check without even interrest for computer science (usually not working as a dev for long)
  • attitude problem (not listening, waking late, always on celle phone, playing video games during working hours, being rude, etc)
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alimobasheri profile image
Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Your comment was very thorough and I think you are right. And I even told the senior developer that if he considered my code was bad he had to tell me and he was like that these are the basis of programming and that he didn't have to advise me about such things.
Of course it was a professional web design agency, so maybe you are right. They've been looking for a senior developer under the name of a junior one.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 👍 👍

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Of course it was a professional web design agency, so maybe you are right. They've been looking for a senior developer under the name of a junior one.

Close. I suspect they were looking for a senior developer while only paying for a junior.

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Nathan Kallman

that these are the basis of programming and that he didn't have to advise me about such things.

That sounds like a junior has been given the title of senior! In no way is knowing that a certain library function exists in a particular language "basics of programming". Advising about details is exactly what seniors are to be doing for juniors.

I'm sorry that you've had a bad experience.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Well said! One week is not enough time to give a junior developer to grow, especially when the company will not provide feedback. Clearly, they'd never even intended to tell him why he was being let go, until he asked.

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Erik O.

Honestly it seems like it wasn't a junior dev job. Juniors should be told about their mistakes and deficiencies so they can learn from that. Most companies search for experienced devs under the name of juniors so they can pay less to them so however I can't see your code it seems like it was the case.

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Yeah, I can agree with you. Otherwise I did everything they asked me. They just expect too much.
And the thing about money isn't surprising. We're in Iran where the economy is just getting worse and worse. 😑 😑

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Anna J McDougall

I agree with others that these don't sound like reasonable expectations for a junior, however I think in the end you are bringing the correct attitude to it and learning as much as you can from the experience. That kind of attitude will lead to another (probably better) job and you will be better for the experience!

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Yes, of course. I appreciate your wise words. ✌️ ✌️
I've been rejected for many things throughout my life. But in the end nothing seems to stop me, because in the end I know that the worst things have happened to me and yet I have survived.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

They did not do right by you.

I've had many interns join my company with bad coding habits, which they grew out of. This is what code review and mentorship is for. Any company which is going to hire for junior positions must be prepared to mentor.

What's further, all the points of complaint are things your supervisor could have brought up to you. You could have improved! One week is not enough time.

It's their loss. You can walk away knowing, it's not you, it's them. Yes, you have more to learn, but by their conduct, they don't deserve to be a part of that journey.

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Of course it's their loss. But anyone can be a part of my journey, dear Jason. And I will gladly welcome everyone, even the sworn enemy. Just kidding! 😄 😄
And thanks for taking time to read this long story through and all the feedbacks you gave. ❤️

I would also like to delight your day with a poem by Hafiz:
The comfort of the two worlds, is the meaning of these two words:
With friends munificence, with enemies forbearance!

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codefinity profile image
Manav Misra

Based on ur writing ✍️ here, I'd bet money that you'll be back in a new position within 6 months - conservativly speaking. Of course, provided you are doing all the things right like targeting and positive attitude, etc. as you have been doing. 🤞🏾

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Thanks a lot. I'd bet too that I can do it. 💪 💪

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kethmars

Thank you for sharing your story. It's inspiring and from your writing I see that you're quite mature.
The post actually made me really think about the topic, so I made a video about it highlighting what we should expect from junior devs and what not:
dev.to/kethmars/what-makes-a-great...

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Thanks man. That's great! I watched your video and really liked your ideas about the topic. 👌
The programming world is one based on learning and improvements, people shouldn't really make it that hard! 😄

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kethmars

Thanks, and exactly :)! Tech skills are definitely needed, but it's also needed to give people time to acquire them on professional level.

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Rafael

That sucks that they let you go instead of telling you about your mistakes and give you a chance to correct them. I appreciate you posting this tho, it helps keep me in perspective for future interviews and job offers. Cheers!

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Yes, that sucks. But posting this story and reading all the comments that everyone has written, helped me know more about my position in programming and what I should expect in an ideal workspace. Cheers!

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Harlin Seritt

Based on what you wrote about yourself and abilities, I have to believe you are very qualified. But, it sounds like you were spared from working for an unreasonable concern. So, it's not all bad. Chalk it up as a learning experience and get ready for the next opportunity which I'm sure you will find very soon. Best of luck, Ali!

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Thanks for your feedback, Mr. Seritt. Of course I'm looking forward to whatever chance life may give me. There aren't plenty of them so I'm watching out sharply for anything that comes this way. 😅 😅

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Eduardo Cookie Lifter

Thanks for sharing I enjoyed most of your experience and with great insight, I think you can only go upwards from these lessons. It would make sense to me that you have mixed emotions about what happened but don’t be discouraged. In local development it’s easy to not be careful, when you’re applying for a job, as you mention above, you have to write code that other people can understand. I guess that’s the lesson I can get from your story. Good luck in all future endeavors. 😉

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Yes, Eduardo. I think with every new day that comes, there's also something new to learn. I'm glad that I was of any help to you.

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John Peters

No failure here, just an experience in learning some more deep things. It's really nice that the developer shared his insight. Now, get back on that 'horse' and try again. To me, this was a hiring failure because they should have caught all that stuff ahead of time.

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

To me, this was a hiring failure because they should have caught all that stuff ahead of time.

That's a different view and also a right one.

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ravishankarste

Hi, I think it is almost a month now Mir, have you got the job or still searching?

Because after reading this post, I think anybody will be impressed at the amount of knowledge you have about JS and other technologies.

There are both positives and negatives about your experience. Positive is they gave you a chance to work for 7 days at least, I have been trying for job since many months (i dont want to reveal how many) but nobody gave me a chance even.

The sad part is that you lost job after 7 days.

I totall agree with ecyrbe's comments and he/she is 100% right according to me. They want a senior dev in the name of junior dev. This is very unfortunate, but Mir, your post was really really good and by just reading this post itself people will understand how much you know about JS and other technologies, only seeing this post someone should hire you man. You are indeed a thorough professional.

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Thanks for your feedback. Yes, I've got a new job as a frontend developer. Today is the fourth day. So I wish they don't kick me out after a week! 😄
And I wish you good luck. There is no reason to lose hope.
The best thing is to get more ready. Always learn new things. Dev.to is a great source.
In the weeks that have passed since the day I lost my job, I have learnt Typescript implementation into React and making cleaner structures by writing more advanced React custom hooks.
So keep learning and improving and someday you will achieve what you have always desired to. Wish you the best! ❤️

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MertSenel

You exposed yourself to a challange and learnt what you dont know and what you need to learn. You will eventually become a developer as you wanted to be. Just want it and put in the effort, it will rain on you.

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

"If you know the point of this secret, you'll also know", that's what Mawlana (aka Rumi) once said, "You are whatever you are looking for".

Thank you.

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Graham Morby | VueJs & Laravel Developer

As a junior developer, it is the employer's job to help you and progress you into the more complex coding issues. You should never be expected to know everything, even as a senior developer.

The beauty of development is that every day you learn something new, you progress and challenge yourself. That's why I love my job.

I think the spin here is that you got lucky my friend, lucky you never fell into a role that required you to overachieve to meet some subset of ideas on how code should be written.

You have a bright future ahead of you with plenty of opportunities to make the life you wish to create.

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

I think the spin here is that you got lucky my friend, lucky you never fell into a role that required you to overachieve to meet some subset of ideas on how code should be written.

I thinks that's totally right. Because I also remember that the same day the CEO was talking to me about the deal, I told him that I would like to work in a creative workspace. I love improving and generating new ideas, otherwise why even try programming?
Thank you, Graham. I too wish everyone a bright future and the life they desire. ❤️

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Karan Gandhi

That was an interesting read.
Personally, I believe you have succeeded in your own way.
Good day, Ali!

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Of course, writing is my most favorite hobby. 😄 😄
And thanks for your motivation. ❤️ 😉

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Daniel Einars

Your didn't fail the job. They failed you.

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

Thank you, Daniel. 😄

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hidden_dude

Keep trying and keep learning.
In the end, companies need capable people.
And the more capable you become, the harder it will be for them to resist hiring you.

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Mir Ali Mobasheri Author

I will keep these words in mind. 👌