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I have been searching for a job very actively and have been doing many interviews. Last month I did 4 and this month I did 7 so far. I'm trying to identify what I could be doing wrong.

I'm a front-end dev with 4 years of experience. I was turned down by 3 companies for 'not having enough experience'. I'm not working at the moment (going onto 4 months now) and if I don't get something soon then I won't be able to get more experience. I meet most of the job requirements and I felt that the interviews were fine.

I was turned down by 1 for 'not being a good culture fit'. It was mututal. I felt that the interviewer was kind of immature and got a weird vibe off of him. When I asked him what he liked about the company he said that everyone is under 30. He didn't say anything about the job or culture etc. Yieks.

I'm getting turned down with some of the technical tests or after the 2nd interviews. Some of the technical tests I felt were too long. They wanted me to spend 2-12 hours making a production-quality web app from scratch before I even talked to them to see if I would even want to work with there or be a good fit.

I get these common interview questions:

  1. Why do you want to work here?
  2. Why did you move?
  3. What do you know about the company/job?
  4. What was the biggest problem/challenge at my last role?
  5. Tell me about yourself.

The one I can think of that might be a problem is #4.

I have said that in my previous role that sometimes I had to start a widget only to find out that the edge cases were not specd out and then the entire design might have to be tossed out if the edge cases cannot be visually meaningful. I encountered this several times in a row so it was difficult to make progress. How I overcame the difficulty was to discuss the issue with my product manager, move onto the next task and come back to it when more specs came in.

I'm not sure if my answer to that question might not be impressive enough. Would it be better if I said that I didn't know any of the technologies required for the job but I made many features anyways?

What could it mean to be turned down for 'not having enough experience'.

  • Since you're getting through to second interviews, I'm guessing 'not having enough experience' is really 'we have selected someone that we think has more experience than you'. – HorusKol Mar 14 '17 at 0:37
  • What was the biggest problem/challenge at my last role?This sounds somewhat reminiscent of 'What's your greatest weakness?" But I think they're looking for something about a technical challenge you overcame with your own ingenuity. – LeLetter Jun 7 '17 at 3:03
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I'm not sure if my answer to that question might not be impressive enough.

It doesn't seem very impressive. Basically you seemed to be saying that unless everything is speced out in detail for you, your designs are poor. And you seem to say that you dump the problem on your product manager rather than being proactive before beginning your design.

Would it be better if I said that I didn't know any of the technologies required for the job but I made many features anyways?

I'm not sure how that's any better. I suppose it might be, assuming it was the truth. I'd wonder why you didn't know any of the technologies for the job. And I'd hope that you would say how you learned them.

What could it mean to be turned down for 'not having enough experience'.

It could mean that you don't have enough relevant experience for the jobs for which you are applying. (Maybe they need that technology knowledge that you don't have, for example.)

It could mean that you are aiming too high.

Or it could mean that they don't judge you to be a fit, but are using "not enough experience" as a safe, generic reason for turning you down.

  • Well it's true, I'm not really good at having a 'vision' of a feature or product. I find it difficult to understand what I'm building or the purpose of it unless the specs and requirements are in place. – Audra Quinn Mar 14 '17 at 11:01
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By your tone in your question I sense that its not a lack of technical experience you miss, but a lack of experience to be in a managed role in an enterprise.

As first if they ask to complete a technical test, they mean it. Refusing it make you look you will not follow a manager directive.

Secondly the fact you passed the first interview show me your technical experience and skill look good, be proud of it, and show them.

The best advice I can tell is to try to get more confidence into you, and be ready to accept their way to hire, as you can't change that.

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What could it mean to be turned down for 'not having enough experience'.

Could mean anything, I don't think it's worth worrying about. You clearly have enough experience to get first interviews, so it could be that the employers found someone else with more experience or it could be a little while lie that HR tells you when they just liked the other candidate better.

The thing with interviews is that they're fundamentally a crapshoot. To quote an excellent article about technical interviews (the whole thing is pretty long but well worth reading):

After drawing on data from thousands of technical interviews, it’s become clear to us that technical interviewing is a process whose results are nondeterministic and often arbitrary. We believe that technical interviewing is a broken process for everyone but that the flaws within the system hit underrepresented groups the hardest… because they haven’t had the chance to internalize just how much of technical interviewing is a numbers game.

Getting first interviews is a good sign, you just need to keep it up.

I'm not sure if my answer to that question might not be impressive enough. Would it be better if I said that I didn't know any of the technologies required for the job but I made many features anyways?

Yes, I think it would be better if you talked about learning new technologies. Your example answer isn't very strong unless you can spin it as you being the last line of defense against poor quality software who carefully read the specs, figured out that they didn't account for all of the edge cases, came up with suggestions for handling those edge cases, and sent the specs and suggestions back to the product manager as many times as it took to get them right.

How can I avoid getting turned down for a job for 'not having enough experience'?

You kind of can't, you're going to get turned down for all sorts of reasons. That said, it will never hurt your career to network more. By networking I don't mean acting like some awful slimy stereotype of a salesperson, I mean going to stuff like meetups and user groups and trying not to be a jerk. If you're especially lucky you'll directly meet a manager looking to hire, but even if you don't it's quite likely that you'll meet people who know someone who is looking to hire and can put in a good word for you. It's not necessarily fair but people just trust a friend of a friend more than they do a total stranger.

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