I recently went through a series of interviews, for an internship, and was then given a small project to complete. Now the project was rather simple but I was unable to finish because the allotted time was not enough for me because in addition to creating the logic and planning on how to finish the project I also had to :

  • learn the API of a couple dependencies
  • learn more about JSON, processing them, creating them, etc. (First time working with it although I have read about it in the past)

Now I rather not give excuses and take responsibility for not finishing in time but (imagine you're my recruiter) would you still see me unfit for the position? Or would you appreciate the fact that I was able to learn two new things and post an incomplete project that showcased the new things I learned?

I was unable to finish the logic because I focused a lot on parsing JSON, and learning my way around the two dependencies I needed.

  • You should never actually parse JSON yourself... there's a ton of libraries for that.
    – Erik
    Apr 10, 2017 at 15:05
  • I've had a handful of interviews where I was unable to come up with a solution in the allotted time, but still got good evaluations from the interviewers. I don't know what policies the company in question has, but it's not necessarily the end of the road for you. Sometimes they care more about your coding style, or how you came to a solution. Apr 10, 2017 at 19:23

3 Answers 3


You failed to complete the assigned task in the allotted time.

Only the interviewing company can come up with a proper evaluation, since only they know their expectations.

Either they don't expect candidates to finish, but just want to see how far they get, or they do expect candidates to finish. In the latter case, it's possible that candidates who fail to finish are rejected.

I was unable to finish the logic because I focused a lot on parsing JSON, and learning my way around the two dependencies I needed.

It possible that what you did is exactly what they hoped a good candidate would do. It's also possible that they expected candidates to be fluent enough in JSON that this wouldn't take up all of your time.

The only way to know is to wait to hear from the interviewing company/recruiter.

  • Yeah didn't get it :| but at least I learned what I need to work on in the future.
    – Pants
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:16

In most cases, these candidate assignements aren't about getting a finished product, or a complete understanding; they are about assessing the candidate's approach to the problem. In these cases, you are not always told that completion is not expected.

I would check with the recruiter, see how you fared compared to the competition.


Depend on the Job requirements. But in any case take this experience to learn what are the kind of things you need to know to be successful in an interview. JSON for example is very common structure to move data around so you should try to practice a litle more before your next interview.

I have some problem during my first interview, then I use that experience to know what where my weakness and study those themes for one month. The next interview was much more easier.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .