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Cover image for How I tanked my MLH Fellowship interview and still got in

How I tanked my MLH Fellowship interview and still got in

kundrasarthak profile image Sarthak kundra ・6 min read

Introduction

Okay so this might be the most requested blog I am ever writing. So here it is! First thing's first this might get a little long but trust me it's so adventurous you'll have a lot of fun! Not wasting a lot of time let's get into it.

What is MLH Fellowship?

The MLH Fellowship is a 12-week internship alternative for aspiring software engineers. The programs pair fun, educational curriculum with practical experience that you can put on your resume right away. It's collaborative, remote, and happens under the guidance of expert mentors. To know more about it you can go to the website

What is the selection process?

The selection process consists of three rounds basically.
1) A robust written application. It is a big application which has a lot of questions the gist of which is it asks you what all types of technologies you know (android dev, ML, web dev etc), an example of your work and what all interests you?

2) Behavioral interview. Once your application is accepted the next step is to schedule a behavioral interview. The interview will be 10-15 mins long. You have nothing to prepare for this interview it's just a normal chit-chat about the projects, things you've worked on, what interests you etc.

3) Now onto the most crucial step the technical interview. Something that scares the shit out of everyone xD (including me). Once you clear the behavioral interview you'll schedule this round. Now this round is very dependent on the person applying . Why? Because in this round the interviewer will ask you to share your screen and discuss with you the code sample that you submitted in your written application. The type, difficulty and all the scary things that you're imagining depends on the code sample that you submitted. One thing that I'd say though if you actually wrote the code that you submitted and not copied it from a tutorial or something you're good to go!

This is all which you could find on the website or other blogs but now coming onto my experience of all the rounds. It's about to get wild 😂

Behavioral Interview

We'll fast forward to my written application getting approved and straight to the point where I had my behavioral interview

So on the day of my interview it was scheduled for 2:00 pm . To be honest even though I said there's nothing to worry about it I still couldn't focus on coding and was pretty much roaming around the house.
I opened the meeting link 10 mins before the time (1:50 pm). I was just staring at the screen waiting for the interviewer to join. 10 mins past, it's 2:00 pm no one's there. Since it was supposed to be a 10 mins interview I felt like valuable time was passing. Fast forward to 2-3 more mins no one joined. FAST FORWARD TO 2:15 NO ONE JOINED 😨
At this point I felt like it's over because they have so many applicants, people at MLH Fellowship won't even know that one student's interview didn't happen. I mailed the interviewer but no response on that.
I got a mail for a review on my interview which I thought was very funny. I opened it super angry to give the worst possible review but the lovely people at MLH had an option saying interviewer didn't show up I clicked on that and they allowed me to reschedule it to the same day which was awesome!
I gave my interview, the interviewer was very welcoming. He made me feel like I was talking to my college senior. He confirmed the type of fellowship I had applied for (Open source) and the term for which I applying (Fall) why I feel like joining etc. In the end he gave me 5 mins to ask some questions.

Technical Interview

To my surprise I got accepted for my behavioral interview in 18 mins that's right, one good news xD Moving on I scheduled my technical interview 2 days from the last acceptance. I was dead scared for this because let's face it you all who are reading this probably are or were too 😂
In the two days I studied the entire repo that I had submitted, google searched everything so that I could make sure that even the things I thought I knew were correct or not. Sometimes you know somethings and even make it work in your code but you don't know the exact technicalities of what is happening behind the scenes. Now on a side note one thing that the fellowship expects you to have is a good internet connection which is fair also as the entire fellowship (3 months) is remote. And honestly I have 2 good wi-fi connections in my house.
The day of the interview came ,this day I honestly just walked around the house the entire day. Time of the battle came I joined 10 mins early again and the interviewer joined too this time 😂. The interview started and the first couple of mins we both had audio issues and had to exit, rejoin, turn on/off my earphones. This destroyed my interview mindset. He asked me to start sharing my screen and told me to open my code and asked me to navigate to the start of the project. He asked me the fundamental things, the kind of things I wrote about above (you make them work, but you might not know the exact technicalities of it). He asked me about async/await env variables etc.
The problem was my net was so shitty I disconnected twice in between and with all the issues we had earlier there was no time for me to ask my questions, end the interview on a good note and also I felt like the interviewer couldn't ask all that he wanted to ask. The interview ended abruptly and I was literally screaming and throwing things around (I know sounds a bit over dramatic now but it happened xD). I felt very bad because I actually worked pretty hard and honestly if I didn't know any questions I would've been fine but to not get selected because of the wi-fi man that would suck wouldn't it? 😪
I mailed my interviewer telling him that I had no idea what had happened and I hope he could ask whatever he had planned.

Moment of Truth

I received a mail after the completion of my technical interview that I should expect a reply within 5 business day and I got this on Monday. Not lying, I checked my mail 5-8 times a day from Tuesday all the way till Friday night and I lost all hope. I was like can't do anything now, let's move on. The 5 days made me realize it wasn't my fault and let's focus on the other opportunities HacktoberFest etc.
Fast forward to Saturday night I was updating my portfolio website. I opened my mail to download something and WHAT?!?!? "Congratulations, you're going to become an MLH Fellow" I was so excited with the news that I still haven't updated my website xD 😂

Conclusion

So, this was my experience if you read it till here I hope you had a good laugh. Coming onto the real stuff if you got selected NICE! Get in touch with me let's have some fun. If you didn't, man there are A LOT of opportunities out there. What I'll suggest is look back and analyze what went wrong. If there was something wrong with your technical knowledge then work on that and while you're doing that it's called open source for a reason! It's open! You can still contribute to the repositories on which the fellows will be working on. You can contribute in HacktoberFest, codearena etc. The list goes on! So cheer up, keep learning and keep having fun hacking. May the source be with you! :)

Discussion

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Congratulations Sarthak!

I have submitted my application on 30 August. Didn't get any response yet (not even the rejection mail). :(
I know that the applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. But it's been so much time that I am losing all my hopes. :(

 

It can be the case that the seats would've gotten full in which case you'll get a fast track code for the next slot. That's way better than a rejection email so don't loose hope yet ;)