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Discussion on: What should you do after you fail the technical interview?

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John Dorlus

Hi Madison,

I have been on a ton of technical interviews. I am not the best interviewer, by far. I am not the most proficient. I have passed and failed whiteboard interviews, Hacker Rank interviews, etc. After I failed the interview, I did a few things.

I tried to look online for a similar problem to the one I was not able to pass and I would work on it. I also send an email to the team who interviewed me (if available) thanking them and ask them for some feedback on what (specifically) I could work on and if they have any book/resource suggestions for me. Most teams don't mind doing this. If you built rapport during the interview process, the team likely saw you as a future colleague and is somewhat bummed not to get you. If that's the case, they may want to help out.

You can also think about some of the more subtle things about how the interview went. I like to measure things like

"Was the interview natural?"
Did conversations feel forced? Was someone trying to show off their intellect? Were there trick questions? Could I really see myself with the interviewers as peers?

"Was the interview a 2 way street?"
Was the interview a power struggle where one side was trying to do all of the talking? Did the interviewers actually show interest in me and my experience?

"Did the interviewers answer my questions sufficiently"
The interview process is definitely one where the candidate feels the they are on the hot seat. But we are interviewing the company and its representatives as well. Make sure to have some pretty thought provoking questions for the team? A question like: "How have you and your team handled a release that didn't go as smoothly as planned? What was the course of action and where did responsibility lie?"

When going over your previous interviews, it's not a time to beat yourself up. It's a time to reflect, review and revisit your approach to interviewing. Hopefully this helps.