The Worst Interview

. 1 min read

If you’re looking for a good story, ask a software engineer about their worst ever interview.

I was having a coffee with a friend, a senior engineer that I respect enormously. We both shared our worst interview stories and laughed about them.

Every engineer has had a terrible and demoralising interview at some point. Yes, all the successful and brilliant engineers too.

My worst interview was comically awful. It was the wrong job. I failed miserably, and rightly so - I didn’t deserve the job. My interviewer thought I was a waste of time, and treated me accordingly.

My friend’s story was much more tragic/funnier. She summed it up by saying “a kick in the ass is still a step forward”, paraphrasing from a Romanian proverb.

For both of us, our “worst” interviews became pivotal moments in our careers. Some of the changes I made after that interview are still paying dividends today. It was an uncomfortable experience, but I am very glad it happened to me.

I’m sorry to say, you’ll soon have your “worst” interview too. It is going to feel awful. You’re going to wonder if you should be an engineer at all. Maybe this was all a mistake?

You are not your code. The interview result is not a comment on your value as a human. Take what you’ve learned from this experience, and try to do better next time. Don’t take it personally.

Someday soon, you’ll be sitting in a cafe with your friend, laughing about how fucking bad it was, and feeling grateful for it.

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash.