5 min read

The Art of Failing Job Interviews and Winning a Job!

Dear Friends,

A while ago, I shared my personal experiences on Twitter when I was applying for jobs around 2015-16. Many folks liked it so I decided to write more in this newsletter.

Here is the original tweet:

The story began when I decided to migrate to Europe back in 2015-2016. After living for 4 years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I thought it’s time for a big change. I had so many friends, most of whom had been offered jobs in Australia, Canada, the USA, and Europe. Meanwhile, I was doing the immigration process for both Australia and New Zealand.

To be honest, I really wanted to go to Canada, but some things happened, and that dream never came true.

In late 2015, I started looking for jobs in Europe. I mainly targeted Germany and the Netherlands; however, I had an eye on different western European countries too, such as France, Denmark, Sweden, etc.

I started by creating a Google sheet to track where I applied for each position, with the details about the job, including how I performed in the interview and a lot more.

I have created a simple template, and if you would like it downloaded from the link below:

Job Interview Tracking Template - Google Sheets

Job Interview Tracking Template - Google Sheets

Sheet1 Company,Contact name,Email,Time to Apply,Recieved Response,Has intreviwed ,Take Homework,My last interview in the process,Rejected,Got Offer,Date to reject or approve,My Strength,My Weakness,Other Contact info ,Website,Link to Job

I search many different sources of jobs, but my main sources were Linkedin, Glassdoor, Stackoverflow.

I always needed visa sponsorship because I had to get a work permit to relocate to the company’s country, which was so challenging for two main reasons:

  1. I held an Iranian passport, and well, it was more difficult for companies to sponsor me.
  2. Not many companies generally sponsor relocation and work permits as it’s hard to apply for the immigration process. It is sometimes very time-consuming and risky; what if the applicant gets rejected, etc.

But anyway, I didn’t give up. As soon as I could find a job, I immediately applied and added it to my sheet for tracking.

All in all, for about 1.5 years, I tried and applied to over 100 Jobs.


Among all the jobs I applied for, I only received responses for about half, inviting me for interviews. Now you can imagine, I had about one interview each week. In reality, it was much like that; I had several interviews in a week and sometimes nothing for a month.

However, from the very beginning, I told myself that I would go to all of the interviews, and right after each, I would think then write about my strengths and weaknesses (as you see on my sheet)


Because I was ready to get rejected, I know that probably to get a job, I have to become way better. I was confident that I am good, but the rejection was part of becoming better. I was not afraid of it. In fact, I knew that part of being successful has so many failures.

So What did you do with rejections then?

Well, easy! I started to fill my gaps in terms of personal, technical, and behavioral aspects.

Let me give one example.

In one of my interviews, I was called to a remote whiteboard for pair programming in the first session. The interviewer started writing code and asked me to complete line by line. Guess what? I didn’t have any confidence in doing it. I was stressed to death.

Imagine in such a stressful situation how you would perform. Probably not well, and I didn’t either. I completely forgot everything! My heartbeat was high enough that I could hear it clearly.

I was so embarrassed and disappointed. After the meeting, I was down for a few hours, but you know, I couldn’t let that go. I had to improve this skill.

I wrote everything in my weakness and started to sharpen it. I researched and found videos and blogs and started to write codes without any help from my head, and so on and so forth.

I practiced.

Since I had an awful experience, in my next interviews, I asked whether they had pair programming (whiteboard style) or not? I actually decided not to attend those interviews because I already knew I was not good at it and would fail.

But you know, it also was great practice for me, I could see if I have improved or not. So, in any subsequent interviews, I went along much more prepared than previously for at least this skill. At a minimum, I was not as nervous and stressed out as I had been initially.

Another example

Lack of technical knowledge was another reason I got rejected in many of the interviews. But, after every single interview, I started to research questions I didn’t answer well or something that they asked, and I didn’t know about it.

ES6 was so hyped in the JavaScript world in those years, but I was not really familiar with it. Still, interviews helped me understand the most important things in JavaScript ES6. I started learning them one by one until I remember in one of the interviews, I answered all questions and pair programmed with no issue.

Learn from mistakes but give yourself room

This is what I did, even though I got rejected in almost 50 interviews over 1.5 years. I didn’t stop applying and learning to fill my mistakes and hone my skills, and in fact, eventually, I got a job!

Each failure, especially in a technical interview, is a great opportunity to level up your skills. Just embrace it. Learn from your mistakes and be ready for the next one.

Do not underestimate or overestimate yourself.

The last thing I wanted to tell you was that I got a job from a company and from a country that I didn’t even consider.

For example, the majority of my interviews and jobs were in Germany. I was confident that I could get a job there, which I think I overestimated. In reality, I got a job in Norway! A place where I never thought there might be an opportunity for me.

Find all possibilities and study them well. I am sure you’ll find a way.

Last words

These are my closing words which I have learned in my life, the hard way, and I repeat them every day:

I kept my story short, but if you’d like to know more, please tell me, and I will write it in more detail later.

My Favorite

This week I have watched an amazing developer video several times, which I’d like to share with you. I hope you enjoy it too.

MongoDB Database Skills (Sia Cheap Thrills Parody)

Have a great week ahead,