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Rijin Reji Thomas
Rijin Reji Thomas

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Got rejected from my first interview.

05/12/2020, the day I appeared for my first interview and got rejected! So, it was the first campus placement (could be the last one too) in our college and I was very much excited that I'll get this one for sure. There were 5 rounds which included Aptitude and Coding, Group Discussion, Technical Interview, Managerial Interview, and HR Interview. I found the first round to be easy as I got 9/10 answers right and in the coding section almost all my test cases ran. Out of 211 students only 17-18 students qualified for the next round and only 11 for the 3rd round i.e. Technical Interview.

So, here's what happened in the 3rd round. A zoom call was scheduled and the interviewer asked about my projects and stuff. Then he asked me a few questions regarding OOPS and SQL. Now! he gave me a program to execute where two lists were given and I had to print the number which was present in list1 and not in the list2. Sounds easy right? It was! I wrote the code in python (on zoom whiteboard) and I was very enthusiastic as the program was too easy. But after writing the code in Python, he said, now write it in C or Java. No problem right? as the logic was clear, but!!! I've been using python for almost everything and I was habitual of the no curly braces, no semicolon stuff. I started writing code in C and I did the silliest mistakes. I didn't close the curly braces at some point (I mean it's kind of compilers job) and I even forgot semi-colons after certain statements. At that point, I realized that I screwed up and that was it. I got rejected!

I'm actually very bummed out because of such silly mistakes which led me to get rejected and because of the pandemic, not many opportunities are available and if there are, then most of them are underpaid.

So, my question is, how can I improve myself? and if you can share how you handled rejection then it would be quite helpful for me.

Discussion (13)

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twigman08 profile image
Chad Smith

First off, you didn’t “fail.” Honestly it sounds like that interview was crap if they failed you because you forgot some curly braces. Interviews or companies that care that much about small things or even getting the exact answer that they are looking for are more than likely companies you are glad you aren’t at. Especially when you’re a junior.

A technical interview isn’t about getting things exactly right. It’s about just seeing what someone’s thought process is like. Does it fit with the company and the people there? The best interviews are when a conversation happens between both parties. Always remember you’re interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.

But some general advice: don’t worry about it. I have been in an interview before where I felt like I did really good. I walked out feeling good and didn’t get hired. It happens to everyone. The more interviews you do the more comfortable you become. Just keep gaining your confidence. Confidence is a big thing in interviews. Be confident in how you describe your solution to a problem.

Just keep going and learning more. One interview that didn’t go the way you wanted it to go doesn’t define and change anything.

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real_rijin profile image
Rijin Reji Thomas Author

Yeah, I mean that's where I was confused. I thought in interviews they mostly check the logical abilities of the candidate, coz if the candidates logic is clear then programming won't be difficult. Same happened while writing an SQL query, I gave him my idea on how I would approach for the desired result, but he wanted the query and when I checked it on Google after the interview, I was absolutely right. But I learnt a lot too from this interview! Hey btw can I ask for a suggestion? I usually prefer writing a pseudo code before coding as it later becomes easier, but during interviews they don't have much time. So how should I approach?

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twigman08 profile image
Chad Smith

Write out the pseudo code first if that makes you feel comfortable. Write it out using comments. If this is a live coding interview and they are putting you on a strict time limit then in my opinion that is a huge red flag.

In live coding interviews take your time. Don’t feel like they are rushing you. Write out the pseudo code and show how you would solve it then start writing out the code. Also talk everything out outloud with them. As someone who is an interviewer for interns and junior developers, I love it when the person I’m interviewing talk out what they are currently doing out loud with me.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

This is 100% right on. (Speaking as an interviewer myself.)

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks • Edited on

So, my question is, how can I improve myself?

You cannot, because the interview was shit.

It is basically impossible to interview people for programming position and assert their skill. You can only probe their motivation, attitude, and insight. The latter would only apply to medior and senior positions, as juniors lack insights (they have not failed enough yet).
You either hire people because you know them, or somebody you know vouches for you, or it is a gut feeling. Everybody I selected, or rejected was based on gut feeling. I've been wrong and right in making these decision, but I don't know how wrong or right I have been.

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ciochetta profile image
Luis Felipe Ciochetta

Oh man, that was a stupid process tbh

don't beat yourself up

There is a famous video of uncle bob doing some live code and even the legend often forgets about some details and lets things pass unnoticed

If you have no work right now, what I would do in your place is go for those underpaid jobs you mentioned and keep applying to the better ones

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jcutrell profile image
Jonathan Cutrell

Frankly that seems like a bad screening process to assume someone will catch syntax errors. It's not something you really need on the job, and aside from interview trivia, they weren't testing anything meaningful.

As far as improving yourself, keep walking down the road you are on. Consider whether there are other reasons you may have been rejected, and be as brutal as possible.

If this was the only reason you were rejected, you probably want to go somewhere else anyway. Interviewing processes for some companies are designed to weed out false positives, but are not designed to weed out false negatives. In other words, you can be very good at what you do, and not make it through an interview anyway for a trivial reason.

Good luck! Hopefully this is encouraging. Most of us have been rejected in interviews like this, make sure you take care of yourself; remind yourself of how far you have already come, and remember the road in front of you is likely very long, and this will become a distant memory soon enough.

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real_rijin profile image
Rijin Reji Thomas Author

Yeah I thought of other reasons too, like did I follow the proper etiquettes or something like that. But one thing I noticed is that interviewers want the code in Java or C or C++ and not in python as they say python has inbuilt functions, so it gets easy.

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acook8 profile image
Alex Cook

When I was graduating from college I applied to over 50 jobs before I was offered a job. Don't worry you'll find a good job. Also if someone doesn't hire you because of dumb things like this you may not want to work for them. Seriously, these are small mistakes that text editors will catch for you and shouldn't actually matter in an interview. Keep applying for jobs, and keep learning. The hardest part of coming out of school is you need experience to get experience.

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real_rijin profile image
Rijin Reji Thomas Author

Yeah, I hope so too! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'll take this rejection as an opportunity.

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qviper profile image
Viper

I also had similar experience months ago. I was so confident that I will get that ML job but silliest mistake got me rejected. Sometimes we got rejected because they can not hire our talent (because we are valuable than their requirement) and sometimes they gives us the chance to know our shortcoming and improve ourselves.

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nlimpag07 profile image
Noel

Don't worry you'll get used to it. I've been in more than 40+ interviews before I landed my first job. Just keep this in mind "There are no wrong answers in the interview"

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real_rijin profile image
Rijin Reji Thomas Author

Yup! I'm still trying my best to improve myself.