What’s the most frustrating thing about the process of looking for work or interviewing?

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read


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  1. The plethora of recruiters who lead you on.
  2. Junior Dev Roles that requires 5 years of experience
  3. The lack of Junior Dev Roles
  4. Recruiters lying about certain aspects and perks of the job
  5. The interview process with no feedback

Hi Donita, so true, being a junior dev is a struggle these days.

This github repo We Hire Remote Jr. Devs might help.


Totally agree with (5). I have not had a single interview where the HR has gotten back to me with feedback, despite my asking with utmost politeness.
I feel this should be made mandatory as part of the interview process. If I were to interview someone, I would definitely want to let the candidate know the good and the things that need improvement (constructive criticism).


I can relate. I'm fairly new but know I can be productive but the lack of years of experience is why I get turned down. I have heard from a few recruiters and it's always lack of experience. I'm trying to overcome that by building as many projects as I can.


^ This. Hang in there and build those projects Nicole.


Here in Québec the shortage is big enough that they hire juniors for any roles. They pay them as juniors but expect intermediate or senior level skills. Getting a first job is hard enough, but now here we have to make sure the employers know that they are hiring a junior and that this is what they want.


I can certainly relate to the first three. I haven't found a job via a recruiter, so I have no experience with 4, and my last interview was for my current role, just over 6 years ago, so I can't recall what 5 is like.


I found another resource full of summer 2019 internships


I am in the same boat and can relate 100%


Not having feedback about your interview or when you send your resumé and the company doesn't say anything, not even a rejection.

I'm aware that some companies receive hundreds of applications and can't answer all of them, but it is frustrating nonetheless.


Agreed. It's almost impossible to know how to improve or make oneself more hire-able without that knowledge. I provide it to many applicants at MousePaw Media, but I've seldom received it from any company I've applied to.


Yes! A company should always respect that you gave your time, and the nerves it takes to show up for an interview. These can be nerve-wracking, and that should be appreciated.


Being interviewed about algorithms and the bleeding edge stuff, and then, when I've given chance to look at their code, it's just a damn spaghetti mess.

Also, so-called "talent hunters", I don't like the idea of being hunted 😄


code questions for a managment and mails job 😁


As a senior dev with 40+ years in many, many frameworks and languages:

  1. No feedback when you are turned down

  2. Do you want to move clear across the country for a 3-6 mos. contract ?

  3. Please complete this (20+ hour) project for free.

  4. Please take this basic skills test and you will be timed.

I really expect to have a conversation about my past experience and current interests/goals with the object of whether and how I can help the prospective employer. I would expect the employer or recruiter to check my references (they've stopped doing that for some reason).


Figuring out what their culture is really like.
"Are you lying about all this great stuff about working here you just told me" just never seems to come off right.

A company hiring and letting someone go quickly doesn't show up as easily as your resume having a one month job stint because it just didn't work out because of culture or values, or they said you would do one thing and dumped you somewhere else.

I keep a list of questions around on what to ask to get a better idea of the company for when I look for a new job next time.


Do you have anywhere that you've shared that list? This is one of my frustrations, too, and I'd love to have some options for questions to ask companies.


Sorry that notebook is an another state.

It was questions like
"how the team structure and work divided?" Trying to get out how big team sizes are and how they function. Is work organized and driven by clear leaders or is it a free for all.

If you get to talk to your potential future coworkers and not just HR and boss, ask them how they got the task to be in an interview. did someone drop by and say "hey we got a person in right now come join" or did they know in advance and get to schedule work around it and actually prepare. Did people respect their time and yours.

Do they actually respond to anything in particular to what you say?

I'll be biting the bullet soon and looking for a new job again. Ill have to dig up my old note and send them to you. Though since it hasn't been long I wont assume I am too successful, but life's to short to stay where its not fun and interesting in tech.


I haven't really done the traditional job search thing, but I get so annoyed with recruitment for positions that don't make sense. Like, I have no interest in becoming a junior java dev that's a contract role in Kansas. Just seems to be a waste of everyone's time, especially if the recruiter gets snappy if you don't respond to them.


You get those Java in Kansas emails too? :)


From my job search last year and early this year.

  1. Ageism. I'd pass phone interviews, often multiple ones, only to get quickly dismissed when they figured out how old I was when they met me in person.

  2. Lack of timely feedback from interviews, especially after initial contact with recruiters and HR reps.

  3. Recruiters getting my name and number and calling about contract jobs I had no interest in or didn't have the appropriate skills.

  4. Misleading statements by recruiters. They seem to work on the philosophy that it's not a lie if they believe it.

  5. Recruiters who don't live in the same city who don't understand the length of commutes here.

  6. Pushy recruiters.

  7. Language trivia or code on a white board interviews.


Dealing with HRs who know a sh** about the industry.

Funny part is, I saw once a job post where they want someone who has 5 years of experience in AngularJS (its initial release is in 2016) 😂

update: I mean Angular2+... thx Eric for noticing.


I agree with the sentiment, but Angular is definitely older than 2 years. Wikipedia says the initial release was in 2010.


Angular 1 (aka "AngularJS") was released in 2010. Angular 2 (aka "Angular") was released in 2016.

I had a suspicion that might be the mismatch here. If the recruiter was asking for 5 years experience, I would venture a guess that's it's probably a place still using Angular 1.

My bad, I meant Angular2+ for sure, and it existed actually since 2014 (still less than 5 years): github.com/angular/angular/graphs/...

We both know that Angular1 is not really practical.

And we both know that Angular1 and Angular2+ have dozens of differences, two differnet creatures!

So yeah, the previous experience with Angular1 shouldn't count as "experience" for Angular2+

My date was going by its official release, which I think it more relevant when looking for X experience in Y tech. If you worked with/on a pre-release tech, that should be gravy. :)

That said, I have seen a posting requiring that kind of experience in Vue. They should have just said "we want Evan You." :D


I applied to an ad where they clearly stated they didn't care if you had RoR experience as long as you were smart enough to learn. A brief questionnaire afterwards asked about my experience with RoR and I responded that I had no experience with it. The questionnaire immediately terminated saying that I would not be a good fit for the job. 🙄


As a freelancer, it's the fact that there is really nothing that I personally can do to make potential clients care how I can solve their very real problems until their hair is on fire. Then it needs to be done yesterday, but MUCH cheaper than quoted because they weren't expecting the outlay...


This made me stop freelancing an focus on my degree. I'm definitely going back to it now but I think having some sort of agreement form with stuff like "Agree to pay me extra for random deadlines"


So far, for me, it's been the lack of response either way. I shoot my resume out in to the void for nothing to ever come back. I don't know if my stuff didn't go through, or it's a no. I'd rather get rejected than get nothing back.

Also the line "We'll keep you in mind if there's an opening we think you'd be a good fit for". I highly doubt any of these people are like "We need a new _______ lets go through all these rejected resumes and see if any fit". They're just going to slap the new posting up and sift through the new responses, so why lie about it?


Oh I hate the "We'll keep you in mind..." stuff. That's a polite way of saying your resume is going in the reject pile but thanks for giving it to us.


Do you write cover letters? I review resumes and the cover letter makes a big difference - non generic, showing some interest in us as a company will really help.


I typically have been. Although most of the time it's just the body of the email when they say "Email us at jobs@_____.com to apply". I typically write it out as a more detailed explanation of me (extension of my resume), what skills I would bring to the company, and what I hope to get from the position.

Would you mind if I PM you the latest one I'm writing and my resume to get some feedback?

For sure. It can be a place to distinguish yourself - show that you've done some research about the company itself, demonstrate some genuine enthusiasm - your resume will cover the facts, this is a time to show a little bit of personality (that's my view anyway!) - hundreds of people will be mailing jobs@____.com. It can be useful to make it all pretty and send it as an attachment too.

I ask because I work for a reasonably unique company and I have a heuristic that if the cover letter shows no idea of what we're about (i.e. somebody has read the website, understood our values) then I click reject pretty quickly!


I get annoyed when they don't read my CV and try to wing it during the interview.

Interviewer: What is a closure?
Me: I have been writing JavaScript for 20+ years. It's like the first line of my resume.

Interviewer: How familiar are you with .Net?
Me: Well, at the .Net Webhost that I co-founded...


My top 3 for interviews:

  1. Not knowing upfront how long will an interview process last.
  2. Same but for how much time will the process require from you (how many different interviews, their duration and on how many days).
  3. Needing to do 1/2 day or 1 day work tests as technical test. Actually I automatically withdraw from any process that asks for this.

But there are many others:

  • Companies using recruiters.
  • Not taking into account when the applicant have a job already.
  • Companies that make any sort of personality tests.
  • Not being honest on what the position is about. E.g. getting people in the process because of Elixir and then letting them know that the position is about Ruby but there's a very small microservice that rarely requires any work in the stack which uses Elixir.

The descriptions in the ads are sometimes completely wrong.


Mindless coding tests, which in my 18 years of developing software, I've never needed, apart from playing around on hackerrank.


Some recruiters (aha mazon :) ) only caring about their own pockets and own roles, not caring if other roles might be better, because they won't get paid.


Oh, did I mention recruiters.

Let me put it to you this way, when I want to apply at some company, I want to know who they are, what they are doing, what their offices look like and how cool the people are.

After all, it's team work, right.

Recruiters who try to block a natural process makes my blood boil, especially when they really don't know anything about the industry.

Anyone interested in doing something about this?
Reach out and maybe we can change the world :D


Anyone interested in doing something about this?
Yes. I have some ideas which I've ignored for too long.


Ah cool, now I just have to figure out how messaging works on this site :D


Technical tests. Once you reach a certain level and have a proven track record on your CV, at home technical tests that take about 2 hours are really frustrating. The last thing I want to do when I've been developing all day at work is go home and do more development.


For me the home assigments. It sounds good on paper but I refuse to them anymore

They are out of context, and they expect the solution not to be.

You have weird constraints without explaing why and how.

They expect to build a full small solution, production ready, in a couple of days, for free.

You do not have access to the specs owner to get more clarifications, like you have in any real project.

They do not see the thought process and what other alternative you could think of.

If you choose clean code they will say is not performant, and vice versa.

Once I had the assumption they want to see my coding style, and I specifically stated that I will not use a web framework just for that, but at work I will use. Of course they ignored that and it seems it was a blocker they did not specified.

And I mentioned you have to code in your spare time for free?

I prefer:

  • Pair programming a solution like that, with one of them
  • Discussions
  • Whiteboard so I can express all my ideas, approaches and solutions
  • Small coding problems to see my coding or just look at my github

Yes, if you can get a good programmer to pair with, paired programming is a good one. And hanging out, with whiteboard, maybe lunch...enough time to break the ice, relax the nerves, and start opening up and show your passion. So it's not like a get-this-right-the-first-time test.


Not having interviews is the most frustrating, I do not know what I'm doing wrong or right, have to try to modify some things without knowing if that was positive or negative. And while you are looking for work you are not studying or improving your skills.
A situation that I went from studying for public tender to working for the government, I had to stop practically all the studies in my area and study for these tests (trying to get a job in the area of my graduation), that is, I had to stop studying for what would be my job and focus on more generic things.


Th pile of emails wherein the required skills are not even closely related. No, I am not interested in a .NET C# Jr position in Washington D.C.

This is closely followed up with the end of the process wherein the day-to-day is nothing like the conversations leading up the offer.


While looking for job openings: everyone wants a rock superstar developer with at least 4 years of experience.

Interviewing: not knowing in advance what the requirements are (and if you even have enough skills for the position) and coming there "just for a chat" and getting into two hours interview with coding on the spot.


Technical phone interviews. You're speaking to a person you've never met before and depending on how engaged they actually are it can be insanely awkward. I remember sweating bullets my first phone interview when my interviewer wasn't paying attention. All I could think is that "I've already failed" which, at the time, became a self fulfilling prophecy. I now realize that was a red flag about the company. This was for an apprenticeship.


Being told "We liked you but someone with just a bit more experience applied so we went with them"

I don't blame the company for doing that, but holy heck is it ever frustrating.


Happened with me way too many times. :(


Not having feedback. Not having feedback for a sent CV is not nice, but I can kinda accept it. But once I made through three rounds, my recruiter told me I'm one of the two people they are considering. He never called me back. Kudos.


Not just one thing, but the most of the interview that I recently went through was a nightmare. Needles to say that the company was in the top 20 of Fortune 500.

  1. I was contacted by a company's HR representative with the job offer. First thing - they sent me job offers multiple times over the last year.

  2. Being fed up with the current job, I finally agreed for a phone call. The phone call turned out to be first phase of an interview! In the middle of the call I was asked to go to a link that was sent with the invitation and do some live coding... Wait?! What link? Oh no one sent you the link? We will do it now.... but what if did not have a computer with me?

  3. Next, it turned out that they do have multiple positions they are hiring on, and I am interviewed in general and assessed. Later, one of the managers will decide on me later, in the process. That did not feel right...

  4. I made it to the second phase - 6 hours of interviews, comprising writing code on the whiteboard, going through basic data structures and algorithms, and being interviewed about the C++ by people knowing only Java. That did not feel right at all...

  5. Interviews with engineering managers asking a questions: "What if you were asked to ....", or "From your experience, what if you did not agree to ...", or "Imagine that you are...". This is just plain stupid.

  6. At the end of the long day I was told by the HR representative, that I will cannot give me feedback, but if I will not be selected I can re-apply for a job after six months. That felt completely wrong...

Going back, the entire process was frustrating and infuriating. The best part of it is I did not get the job and I am very glad it turned out that way.


The interview process having you complete coding algorithm exercises that have NOTHING to do with what you'll be doing on the job. As someone who consults for multiple companies on a regular basis, I know for a fact that I can do the job that's required. But I also know that I would bomb the majority of job interviews because the interviews don't align with what the job entails.


1. Potential clients who reach out before they have their resources in place

Often this is because they see securing specialist developers as one of the early steps in their plan, so they can then sell the plan to their investors or clients.

I fell for this several times in recent months, then found myself chasing after them with follow-up emails, which they didn't respond to, before they finally reply with things like "our funding didn't come through" or "we're still waiting for our client to come back to us etc.".

I've since learned to just ask up front if they have all those resources in place, mentioning the frustrations I've had in the past.

The other day, however, I got a client inquiry, with a wonderful Austrian firm, and I just said "yeah that sounds great, I'm into it" adding how I was frustrated with previous flaky meetings and how refreshingly organized these people were.

They laughed and said "we hear you! Yes we have resources, don't worry, we're solid on this" (they were a software development studio, so they had these experiences too).

I use that as my benchmark. If a client doesn't have that forthcoming attitude and understanding then I bypass them and use the time/ energy hustling to get the next client. We should expect an understanding answer straight up, to those delicate questions, and if it offends them, that's a red flag.

I'm looking forward to giving this lot a quality product.

2. Meetings with startups posing as potential clients

I've had a few meetings this year with people who, though they appear interested, are not really interested in hiring me, but wanted to discuss the technical problems they're facing while developing their product. I had one guy with whom I had three of these meetings, a very friendly dude indeed.

These are just information mining exercises, and I've fallen for it a few times. I could hear them go quiet, then hear that scribbling sound while they take notes. But I'm pretty wise to that now.

The good thing is that I also took notes, on what their requirements were, and recently realized that, hey I could develop a generic solution, with help from a couple of friends, right now, that I could sell as a licensed product, that to be honest, would be better than what they're planning.

3. Employers who don't bother preparing for interviews

I remember my first interview, for a holiday internship when I was a student. A couple of guys who'd just had lunch (and probably a couple of beers by the looks of it). It was like "um..." (looking at each other) "what do you, ah, like best in computing?" (eyes glazing over). I got all amped and replied a whole bunch about certain algorithms I though were beautiful etc, and they sort of look a little worried, eyes widening a little bit, because now they have to show some sort of engagement. When it came to my questions, as seats were being pushed back from the table, about things like their process, what work they were doing, they struggled to come up with answers (they didn't expect a student to actually have any questions).

Two good friends of mine got those internships, and spent the whole time alone, teaching themselves C++, with nobody actually giving them any work to do, it was a bit awkward apparently!

Expect people to respect your time. If they don't, it's a red flag.

My 2c!


Eventual success and the return to a day job kills it for me


This is a great question!

Feedback seems to be the most recurring theme in all these comments.

It's a tough concept because feedback from rejection only immediately benefits the interviewee. As in, if I took an interview for a job and I was rejected and then was given feedback, that feedback benefits me, directly, and really only me, right away.

What incentive does the company have to provide feedback? You can make arguments for the long run (such as, if I receive feedback from a company, I'm more inclined to encourage other developers to interview with them, which broadens their head pool) but I can't really think of a compelling "this benefits the company immediately" reason.

Maybe that's where some of the problem lies? I wonder if someone has tried a solution for it?


Getting auto-rejected by a no-reply email. Not knowing what words in your resume screwed you over because you didn't beat that algorithm that auto-rejected you.


Looking for work: One of two things. Either very few (programming related) in your area, or excessive requirements


You require me to have tons of experience and attention to detail, but you’re too busy to check formatting and even spelling on your job post.


Tell me about it. I interviewed on the phone with a netsec place in Cedar city, Utah (GuardSight?).

The HR rep forgot to call me at the scheduled time. So I called the recruiter to ask them about it. About 5 minutes later I got a frantic phone call from a different HR rep who told me that he would be doing the call instead.

And his "interview" consisted of asking me 25 useless aptitude questions verbatim from the application I had already submitted. Immediately rejected because apparently I didn't have the right certs (not listed in the original ad).

Was infuriating.


Trying to explain to people that your "expertise" is in quickly mastering new technologies and being able to bootstrap others.


I spent 2 weeks interviewing with this company, had 4 rounds of 4-hour interviews, met the whole staff, and the CTO said "We'll talk in an hour and I'll give you an offer", then at the end I had no communication for two weeks, only to be told there were problems with the "team dynamic" and they wouldn't take me. Sheesh...


I didn’t see this post earlier and yesterday created similar one but maybe I will delete it - dev.to/martinbelev/what-do-you-thi...

The things I dislike most:

  1. Not getting feedback or receiving some template answer.
  2. Most of the recruiters who don’t value your time and would like to have a quick call which is no less than 30 minutes but in the same time are able to provide the meaningful information in a few sentences.
  3. Asking questions about your salary expectation before even starting the interview but hiding their ranges.
  4. Writing code in notepad.
  5. The interviewer being late for the interview.
  6. Not reading my CV at all
  7. Algorithm tasks when you are applying for web dev position and it’s known that you won’t need those algorithms. Yeah, I know, it’s mathematical/logical thinking that they are looking for. But, for such positions, I think it’s more important to be a good problem solver.

Totally agree with (5). I have not had a single interview where the HR has gotten back to me with feedback, despite my asking with utmost politeness.
I feel this should be made mandatory as part of the interview process. If I were to interview someone, I would definitely want to let the candidate know the good and the things that need improvement (constructive criticism).

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Honestly, nothing at all. I love the process with all my heart.


Learning that money, only sucks less than people who have been corrupted by the notion of power and self-entitlement


The inability to say "NO" to a job that you know deep down isn't the job.


Looking for work


I think it's when you need to talk in front of a recruiter, those moments are awkward and you never know what questions will be asked


The shift from the "why me" to the "why not me" state of mind...


Not knowing what the job will be like exactly. It is both frustrating and exciting 😃


Being told I'm a perfect fit by the HR person, then knowing within about a minute talking to the hiring manager that I am not even close to being what they are looking for.


Not having a job 🙃