My First Interview: A Love Story

6 min read

Okay, so not really a love story, but a good one nevertheless.

A while back, maybe a month and a half ago, I was in the Code & Supply Slack, a local code meetup in Pittsburgh, perhaps the largest one here. Listless, I went to the #jobs channel.

Scrolling through all the positions I found one that intrigued me: a JavaScript developer position. Great!, I thought. Just what I want.

The job posting was by a company I found three years ago 1 when I wanted to be UX girl. I remembered their unique logo and branding and dug into their site back then. I wasn’t ready for a job yet but I did remember them.

I applied right away.

The application process was simple. Upload your resume, tell us why you want to work for us, drop your links in this box. I did all that. Up until I applied I had gotten 3 rejections for positions I’d applied for. I knew I had a shot at getting an interview with this company.

Emails Sometimes Get Lost…

I have a habit of checking my email too much. After discovering important emails were ending up “All Mail” in my G Suite account, I would go in there daily to see what I had missed.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see the initial email asking for a video chat by the company. And it just so happened, two weeks later, I popped into All Mail and the HR person’s email was at the top, asking if I had received the email and that they really wanted to chat with me.

WTF? Is this real life?

I responded, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. We set up a time within the next couple of days.

That day after I received that email, I literally could have run around my neighborhood 2. I could hardly sleep.

The Day of The Interview

I went to bed at 7 PM after taking three melatonin for sleep 3. The next day, I showered, got dressed up and sat in front of the webcam 10 minutes early. I was pumped and nervous.

They came on and introduced themselves. Asked me to tell them something about me. I mentioned I was originally an English major. They were both English majors in college.. We talked about my projects. The tech lead said he saw that I was coding a markdown grammar checker and hoped it would be named, Check Yo Self and it was.

I mean, you can’t start an interview better than this.

The tech lead didn’t get too technical with me, just asking about my projects, mentioning that Check Yo Self is a big undertaking. I was happy he felt that way. I need that.

He mentioned testing, and a few other things. I don’t have any testing experience. There were things I didn’t know. And I let them know it.

After the Interview

They let me know they would contact me in a couple days to let me know if I moved on to round 2. There were four or five rounds. The second round was meeting with more technical people. The third was meeting the bosses. Fourth round was meeting in their headquarters with that team. And the fifth was meeting with the team in Pittsburgh.

I felt like I had a great shot at the second round, the interview went so damn well. They have in their emails that they are committed to diversity and inclusion and if you didn’t have access to video equipment they would accommodate you. This is so rare. So so rare. I felt extremely lucky to have an interview with such a great company with these great people.

I didn’t do anything at all that night except bask in the fact that I had nailed that interview. It was catharsis for me. I have spent the past three years learning and that interview was validation that people have seen I am working hard and know what I am doing. It felt like a weight had been lifted and now I could have more confidence.

I also wasn’t stupid. I knew I needed to apply elsewhere because nothing is guaranteed.

The Follow-up

The next day I received this email:

Hi Tiffany,

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with [redacted] and me yesterday to discuss the JavaScript position at [redacted].

While we enjoyed chatting with you and were impressed with your personality and passion for web development, we will not be moving forward with your application. This particular role will require a broad perspective and professional experience for building for the web, so we need to ensure that the person we hire is ready to hit the ground running in those ways on our larger projects. We’d encourage you to continue on the road you’re already on and to consider applying again in the future! You’re incredibly smart and capable, so we’re excited to see you continue building on your web development knowledge base.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions of any kind!

Thanks and best wishes!

I read that email five times in a row. It stung but that email was so…I don’t know. It is rare to get an email like that from a company that isn’t going to hire you, with feedback, etc. They really liked me, thought I was incredibly smart and wanted me to apply again when I gained more experience. I may not have gotten the job but I can’t be mad. I’d been validated, even in rejection.

What’s Next

I’ve decided to take some time to learn testing and React, as well as user auth with Passport.js, as well as Locomotive, an MVC framework built on top of Express. I will start applying again after the holidays.

I want a more solid foundation and breadth of knowledge before diving in again.

I’m excited for my future in this field.

  1. I got my first Mac three years ago with my first Mac bundle: a code editor and several learn to code courses. Up until that point I was a techie who wanted to write for a living and code on the side. After going through a few courses and falling in love with OS X, I decided programming was for me. The rest is history. 
  2. Except I am really out of shape and live in a bad area and it was 9 PM. 
  3. Because of some faulty brain wiring, I need medication and it helps me fall asleep. Usually. If not I suffer from crippling insomnia and because I was so excited, I knew sleep was not in the cards. 

CC BY-SA 4.0 My First Interview: A Love Story by Tiffany White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.