This has happened with me couple of times when I got rejected either in Product engineering round or simple Q&A round which were the last round. This is very frustrating for me because I had to clear the HR screening round followed by a programming challenge and then a technical discussion, In general I have to spent a lot time in programming challenge.

These incident has kept me surprised and demotivated at the same time, I really don't know what I am lacking because there is never a feedback but a boolean response from the recruiter. In my humble opinion I think that I cam a good team player and I have proven track record from my previous employment.

Some sample questions which I was asked were:

  1. Which app do you like and why?
  2. What would you do when your colleague is stuck in prod issue and his and your priority is same? will you help him first or after you finishing your task?

    I will try to finish my task first, because as we say in airplanes, help yourself to help others.

  3. Will you justify pushing a badly written(non-readable) code but a performant one to go into production?

    No, I will prefer less performant code and stick to the style guide, there are other ways to speed up the program and if the situation is unavoidable then I will try to have a team meeting and discuss the alternatives and at last if team decides then we can take it as exception.

  4. etc.

I want to understand that what must be going in their mind or in general what is expected from such rounds? I also think that once in a team a person like me can adjust quickly so why not given a chance to prove it?


How to prepare myself to get over these kind of rounds where the focus is more on behaviour side than technical? What could be common pitfalls?

PS: This week again I have to results pending based on the final round which again was with CTOs and was very casual.

  • @JoeStrazzere may be but I have other question too, like what I should avoid there must be some general guideline apart from following our own instinct. – CodeYogi May 3 '17 at 18:13
  • Getting rejected with what? Job applications? Project presentations? Client bids? Your post lacks focus and I'm not sure what you're actually asking here. The nature of job searching is that hiring managers have a lot of candidates to choose from and pick the one they think is best. Given the competition, very often that won't be you. That's how this works. Can you summarise your core question? – Lilienthal May 3 '17 at 18:25
  • It can sometimes be about the personality more than anything technical. If you could provide a few sample answers you had to the non-technical questions, it would help others to answer here. If you'd rather not post here, then you could discuss it with someone you know in person. – Juha Untinen May 3 '17 at 19:20
  • Sometimes its just about the fit. We just rejected someone who we would have gladly hired if we had the budget. We took days to decide, and we chose the other guy because he wanted the job more. – Old_Lamplighter May 3 '17 at 21:14
  • Would it be better to be rejected in the initial rounds?... – Rolazaro Azeveires May 3 '17 at 21:35

You need to change your thinking from "I got rejected." to the more realistic "I did not get selected.".

There may have been several candidates that did well on the earlier rounds, turning in good solutions to the programming challenge etc. The business has one opening, so they need to pick one.

They could pull a name from a hat, but some employers use a "soft" skills round to make the final selection from the otherwise good candidates. They may be looking, for example, at communication skills. In that case, it would not be what position you took, but how you explained your position.

Not being the candidate they select in that sort of final round does not mean they do not think you could do the job, which is the implication of "rejected". It means that among the candidates who they considered in the final round, you were not the one they thought would be the best fit.

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How to prepare myself to get over these kind of rounds where the focus is more on behaviour side than technical?

These don't seem like questions with a right or wrong answer so much as conversation starters. They're probably looking for some evidence that you can think on your feet, ask for more information, defend your point of view, and communicate effectively. Consider:

Which app do you like and why?

That's a simple enough question on its face. There's really no wrong answer, but the answer you give will show that you've spent some time looking at different apps, and it will tell them what qualities you think make a good app. It'll also show how well you can back up your choice with evidence, and it might give a sense of your knowledge of product design and app development.

The other two questions you provided are similar: the specific answer you give is probably less important than how you arrive at that answer and how well you can explain your position.

What could be common pitfalls?

There are lots of ways you could go wrong with these kinds of open-ended questions, and I'm not sure it makes sense to enumerate all the possibilities. Failing to provide any answer at all wouldn't be good, nor would giving an answer without being able to explain your choice. Your best strategy really is to just to be open and honest, say what you think and why you think it, and don't worry too much that you might have given the wrong answer because that's really not the point.

These questions are often designed to be difficult to prepare for, but one that you can practice usually comes at the end: Do you have any questions you'd like to ask us? You should ask whatever you want to know (job-related, of course), and doing so will show that you're interested, thinking, and paying attention. But sometimes when they ask that question, your mind goes blank and you just can't think of anything. For that reason, it's good to have prepared a few questions in advance. You can even write them down if you think you might not remember them. Open-ended questions work well because they'll start the ball rolling, and before you know it all those other things you meant to ask about will come back to you. (Don't keep the ball rolling too long, though -- the interviewers will be happy to answer your questions, but they also have other work to do.)

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  • I tend to ask questions like, how team communicates? what will be my growth plan? do you use code reviews? how you take big decisions? – CodeYogi May 4 '17 at 3:24

What was your answer? I think they are looking from this type of answer from a programmer.

There is no non-readable code. If performance is critical to product success there is a choice of push the code to production or fix the code and then push. This is more of a management decision. It is not really my position to justify. If performance is not critical there is no reason to push bad code.

My niche is go fast code and I rarely write clean code first pass as it might not go fast enough. When it goes fast enough I tell management and tell them how long I think it will be x amount of time clean it up and perform a full set of testing. If they want to push the code as is then that is up to them. Bad decision but some management is that short sighted.

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  • That is a better answer to this specific question than the one given by the OP, but I do not believe that it is pertinent to the overall question being asked. – Joe S Jul 6 '17 at 15:35

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