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Cover image for I bombed my first ever technical interview & it feels pretty liberating.
Christopher Linares
Christopher Linares

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I bombed my first ever technical interview & it feels pretty liberating.

Own the feelings

"We have decided to pursue other candidates at this time."

It's important to admit that the results of my interview initially made me feel intense fear and shame. Am I truly cut out for this industry? I found myself avoiding interactions with close friends in tech whose opinions I valued...

Once I began sharing the bad news I found that everyone was extremely reassuring and/or genuinely excited for me. Many were quick to trade war stories of their first technicals & suddenly it felt more akin to a badge of honor, as if I had now been accepted into some sort of badass underground club!

Lessons, lessons and more lessons

Focus on what you can control. I had a 10am interview and had stayed up well past 2am that morning trying to "cover all my bases." It was foolish of me to think that I would prepare for every scenario. That time would have been better spent sleeping as I felt tired and experienced difficulty focusing during my interview.

There is no feeling quite like fumbling something you are supposedly proficient at while two or three people watch you make a mess of it all. There was a certain point during the interview where I focused too much on one path and boxed myself in. Once I realized my mistake I became so desperate for a win that it was nearly impossible to organize my thoughts. I was no longer focused on the long game, but instead, on trying to make myself look like less of an idiot. The harder I fought the more I sank.

Stay calm & think before making your next move. I can see now that had I owned my mistake and regrouped I would have easily found the bug. Part of my personal growth will be to slow down and revert back to planning/high level overview when things go awry.


It's important during your job search journey that you keep a sense of humor and a sharp memory. It is likely that coding interview questions will eventually repeat, remember what you did the first time you attemped it and what you can do better this time! If you've also recently crashed and burned during an interview, feel free to reach out to me & share the story. You should let that shit go, you won't need it where you're headed.

"My mama always said you've got to put the past behind you before you can move on." - Forrest Gump

Top comments (3)

h0plyn profile image
Ricky Rhodes

The first rejection is the hardest. Learning and growing from the process is what’s important. Keep chipping away! Best of luck.

frankstepanski profile image
Frank Stepanski

I just got mine and they even called my references too. SMH.

svetlanaleonova profile image
Svetlana Leonova

Thanks for sharing, Chris! This makes me look forward to bombing my first ever tech interview!