I recently got hired as a Java programmer. The thing is, the interviewers were looking for both Javascript (front-end) and Java (back-end) programmers, and I told them I had experience in both. During the interview, they only asked me front-end (Javascript) related questions. I answered the questions reasonably well. One day later they hired me as the Java back-end developer. What's going on? I'm not gonna ask the interviewers themselves, since I don't want to remind them of a possible mistake (and possibility to get myself fired). I'm just curious what the reasons might have been.

Some related information: - The only time I mentioned Java is when answering one of the questions, I made a quick comment about how Javascript and Java had different style regarding functional programming (function as a first class citizen). - My work experience as a Java developer can be found in my resume. So technically you don't really need to ask me any questions and can still decide to hire me.

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    Maybe the interviewers didn't know the difference, lacked experience or who knows.. – Luceos Jul 20 '18 at 9:53
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    Were the questions strictly front-end related, or just JS related? Some companies believe in language agnostic approach, and they prefer to learn how candidate tackles and solves the problems, rather than worrying about specific syntax or tools. Therefore, if you were solving some data structure problems (or similar) using JS it could have been enough for them to make you an offer. Congratulations, btw.! :) – Raf M. Jul 20 '18 at 12:47
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    What is your concern here? Are you unable to perform the tasks they are assigning? It could be that you demonstrated enough competence they didn't feel the need to do any java questions. Especially if interviewers were not Java Experts themselves – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 20 '18 at 12:56

In my experience, if you're able to understand problems, find solutions, design software implementations to execute those solutions, and implement those solutions, you can do the hardest part of the job. Java syntax, features, libraries, frameworks, and best practices are infinitely easier to teach and learn. To steal from the founder of this site, you're looking for two things: smart & gets things done.

If they were asking you about programming, problem solving, source control, DevOps, OOP, SW design & architecture, effective communication, working in a team, overcoming challenges, and generally getting things done, they were asking relevant questions to the interview.

If they were asking about digital marketing strategy, accounting, mergers and acquisitions, or some other completely disjoint field, they were asking irrelevant questions to the interview, and you should run very fast and very far away.

  • Exactly. Also it's not necessarily negative that they wanted to know about all your skills - they might have enough confidence that you can learn them, which also means they plan rather long term (2+ years) and not short term. – Mafii Jul 20 '18 at 14:15

If you can do the job, then don't worry about it. The interviewers probably saw enough in your answers to indicate that you're a decent fit for the job.

If you don't feel comfortable, you can talk to them with a view of taking a front-end role with them instead.

Or it's possible that they've confused the roles and really do want you as front-end.

It'll probably be a good idea to clarify what they want from you

Thank you for the offer, I'm pleased to accept this role. The offer here is for a back-end developer (which I can do), but I actually interviewed for the front-end role. Can I confirm which one you wanted me for?

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    The questions may have been JavaScript related, but that doesn't mean the OP interviewed for a front end role. – user1666620 Jul 20 '18 at 9:57

During the interview, they only asked me front-end (Javascript) related questions.

Java and JavaScript are different beasts.

I've worked with many Java programmers who struggle to enjoy JavaScript. Some often despise it and can not transition their brain between a typed language and an untyped language. It's like asking a figure skater if they can do their Olympic route skating forwards and also backwards.

You can interview a lot of Java full-stack developers who hate JavaScript. They make for bad JavaScript programmers and yet there they are in the interview trying to get the job.

They're simply trying to reduce their risk of hiring a full-stack developer who doesn't have the right JavaScript skills.

I answered the questions reasonably well. One day later they hired me as the Java back-end developer.

There are a lot of JavaScript programmers who exist purely on a Java team. Being hired as a full-stack developer does not mean your skills are perfectly 50% front-end and 50% back-end. I'm going to guess they need someone who could solve JavaScript problems, but also understand Java and for them understanding it is good enough to get hired.

For them their team is in a Java world. Their process is Java. The back-end is programmed in Java. The system is built using Java. The dependencies are install via Java. They think and plan in Java.

While you'll be doing JavaScript related work. When you need to know what an API does you'll have to read the Java source code. They've saved themselves a lot of time by hiring a person who can read it, modify it and understand it, but the problems they need you to fix are likely in JavaScript.

For example;

A purchase order is failing. The service is yielding a 500 error in the shopping card. They could have many Java programmers who can fix this error, but they don't understand why the front-end is sending the wrong JSON in the request.

You'll understand why a lot faster than they will, because you know more about JavaScript. You'll also be able to understand the Java logs, debug the Java code to see what exception was thrown. You might not be very good at Java, but you get it well enough to work on your own. You can point them in the right direction and you'll know when a bug is on the front-end or the back-end.


It's not uncommon that project managers who have the power to make hiring decisions erroneously believe "Javscript" is just a scripting version of "Java". They have the mindset:

javascript == running scripts written in Java

You were asked for only JS questions because they couldn't tell the difference. They were looking for someone who could write scripts in the Java language, so they asked "Javascript". When you said "java", it meant the same thing to them as "javascript" but just not in scripting form.

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