As a software developer, I recommend my colleagues to have interviews with other companies to gain interview experiences, even though they are not looking for a job. It has some benefits for them and for their career. I think it is an underrated piece of advice and I would like to focus on these benefits.
By applying and having interviews;
- You become more comfortable in each interview because you are getting used to having interviews.
- You get to know this position and the company better and your opinion about looking for a job may change for the positive.
- You learn what the companies ask for and what they evaluate.
- You may learn the salary range in different companies.
- You get to know people and in the future, they can reach out to you.
- You are given tasks and you learn something by doing them.
- If you are lucky, even if it ends up with failure they give you feedback.
Today, I would like to share with you the most valuable feedback that I have received from an unsuccessful interview. A few years ago, I applied for a position in a company and they assigned me a task. Even though I couldn't finish the whole task due to it being too hard for me, I still submitted the project and had a technical interview with the CTO and the Tech Lead of that company. Two days later, I received an e-mail from the CTO and it was a reject e-mail but with more feedback than I expected.
First of all, he said that the project that I sent was insufficient - I was expecting to hear that because I couldn't finish it 🤷♀️ I thought that I would still get some points for trying to come up with a solution even if I couldn't finish it completely, just like in college but as far as I experienced, things don't work that way with companies. They mostly care if you managed to complete it or not. Also, he pointed out some really good points to be improved upon. Let's go over each one of them.
Improve yourself outside of work.
He said, "Improve yourself outside of work because the difference between good developers and great ones is the ones who improve themselves outside of the work, create personal projects, etc." It is a very nice saying and I loved it. After that, I became more motivated to create my personal projects and I wrote blog posts about them.
Keep up-to-date with the trending libraries and technologies.
I wasn't following the trends and what is new. I was hearing some stuff but I wasn't actually following and reading in-depth. I am better at following what's new now but I can't say I am 100% up to date with new technologies. I can still improve this point.
Read and contribute to open-source projects.
Just like this one, I received another piece of advice from someone "read others' code as much as you can and see what they are coding" I am now reading more of it, contributing to open-source with my blog posts and public repositories but haven't contributed to any third party library's repository yet but I think it's something and I am better than how I was.
Read the documentation and create personal projects.
Understand why a piece of code is in the codebase.
He said "Understand why a piece of code is in the codebase. Go deep into the logic and structure." This is still a point for me to improve on. I just focus on my task to do on a project. I don't investigate the codebase and understand why that code block is there, what's the purpose of that function etc. Also, unfortunately, when I'm stuck at some point I copy-paste the solution from StackOverflow but don't think about why that code block is the answer, just focus on solving it and don't think about "how". So, this is another point that I still should improve for myself.
To conclude, applying for companies is OK. Being rejected is OK. You learn some stuff and get experiences during these interviews. This was my unforgettable failed interview with valuable feedback and I am glad that someone told me these things. By writing this article, It was also a nice feeling that I am not the same person as I was. I have improved and I will continue to. I hope these pieces of advice help you in your career as well. Hope to see you in the next article, take care!