I failed the tech assessment and still got the job


True story about how I landed a job but failed the tech assessment

12 Oct, 2020 · 4 min read

I’m not saying it’s good to fail tech assessment, but hear me out.

First of all, I’ve been on both sides of the interview table, and to be honest, I hate the assessment part.

For many reasons, which I won’t go into now.

In this article, I wanted to share with you guys a real-life experience I had.

How it started

At this time, the company I was working for, for quite a long time, terminated. So I was back on the job hunting market.

I was also not feeling my best at this time. I got rejected a couple of times and almost switched career paths because of that. Then my dad sends me this job poster he found in a newsletter.

It said something in the lines of We are looking for our new backend developer.

Awesome sounds like fun, So I applied to the job.

Meeting one: Casual interview with the CEO.

This meeting was super chilled, and the CEO looks like a nice guy. He tells me about the ambitions he has with the company and how they look to expand. I talk about myself and my background, which interests him.

I mention I’m come from a “mix” background doing bridging between front and backend. And that I have experience in mobile development.

He mentions they have a client who wants a mobile app, but they are not sure to take it on because no developer can build apps. Ok, that sounds promising.

He tells me he’ll talk to the tech lead and see how he feels about it.

Meeting two: Meeting the tech lead

So, meeting two is with the tech lead. He asks me many technical questions on which I respond well.

He then also asks for my background and is concerned it’s not fully on backend.

At this time, Symfony is their main framework, in which I have no experience.

I tell him I’m 100% certain I can make it work and pick things up easily.

All-and-all I have a super good feeling about this job now. The tech lead asks me to do a final assessment and commit it back to them.

Doing the tech assessment

So this assessment was:

Pull a repo they created for me. Install a Symfony project, which will be an essential crud user management. Then there will also be some frontend where two different roles will see other things. All this must run in a vagrant solution.

At this point, I was a bit panicked.

  • I didn’t even know what vagrant was…
  • I had never used Symfony.

But that didn’t stop me.

I cloned the repo, did research on vagrant, and got it to work. Then I created all the code where I made all the functions needed.

I did not use any packages, just because I didn’t know that existed. This was my biggest downfall in this assessment.

Git commit and send a mail to the tech lead I was done.

Review of the assessment

I got a call after a week or so. It was the tech lead. He went through to my code and said it did exactly what was asked, but he had some concerns.

  • He was concerned because I had no symfony experience
  • I did not use and bundles
  • I did something weird in vagrant

Based on that, he said I would need to pick up my knowledge a bit more.

I was upset!

The final call

I was a bit down by now, another interview failed, and it seemed like such a cool job.

I thought to myself. I’m sure I fit well with this company!

I gave the CEO the last call.

Hi, Chris here, I understood from the tech lead you’re not going to continue with me?

CEO: No, sorry Chris, we seek for someone with more knowledge.

C: Hmm, you did tell you were looking for an app developer, right? Can I make a proposal?

CEO: Yeah, go for it

C: Hire me on a probational 1-month contract, I’ll create this app for you in this month, but every Wednesday, you guys guide me into using Symfony better. Then after a month, you can decide if you want to continue or not?

CEO: That is a good plan, let’s do so!

Review after that month

So, I created this app in four days, which blew their minds because they planned way more time.

I learned Symfony in no-time (doing some homework though) By the time the month was over, the tech lead and CEO were so happy with me, they offered me a Medior function!

After six months, I even became a Senior tech lead myself!

Moral: Don’t give up. Show people what you are worth. Don’t always take no for an answer.

Thank you for reading, and let’s connect!

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