Abdulmateen Tairu
TayCode Wall of Knowledge

TayCode Wall of Knowledge

Rejection, but as a motivation - Story about an Interview Process

Rejection, but as a motivation - Story about an Interview Process

Abdulmateen Tairu's photo
Abdulmateen Tairu
ยทFeb 11, 2021ยท

14 min read

My friends used to advice me to chase multiple girls at the same time hoping one accepts so I could leave this single life but I decide not to listen to them, instead I chase one at a time. I didn't do this with girls alone but also with job applications. How are they related?? Lemme tell you ๐Ÿ˜….

Late 2020, I took a break from job applications as I spent time trying to recover from impostor syndrome, spent my time studying Data structures and algorithm, watching mock interviews and refining my resume. I planned applying in full force when the new year begun.

Now, its 2021 January 1st. We usually visit my Granny every new year, its like a family ritual in my family so I saw myself in the car en-route to granny's place with my laptop in my bag. I wasn't hyped about the hangout, I just wanted to begin my job hunting journey on the new year.

I got to her place, took a nap then pulled out my PC and said "time to find the job that would help me replace this PC". Opened Angel list (angel.co) then I began to edit my angellist profile to begin to launch my application attacks.

I wanted to try something new so I decided to be very specific about my cover letters, instead of the conventional one which talks about yourself, I decided to study about the companies and tell them why I wanted to join their company, and what I loved about what they do (service they offer or the products they build).

I saw this company Meddy and I fell in love with the company because of the services they offer. It was a start up trying to offer health care services to people in UAE over the internet. In my cover letter, I told them about how I wanted to build a product that would solve the problem of handling medical data of patients which is done manually in Nigeria.

I got a response from them 4 days later (January 5) asking me to fill a form on their website which I did. I got a response back after a few minutes asking to schedule an interview with them the next week so we chose 11th of January for the interview.

It was a behavioral interview so I was very confident, I have a record of never getting nervous in behavioral interviews so I started the call full of confidence.

1st Interview - Behavioral Interview

As usual, they start with "Tell me about yourself" which I went on and on to explain with a smile on my face showing I was really excited telling them about my story.

I was asked about every single one of my past and present work experience and I had to explain my roles and the products I built in each of those companies. Considering I had worked with all the tools they had on their Job description, I was confident I had won the heart of the recruiter.

Before we ended the call, I asked about the team and told them how I would also love to build my career as a Data Engineer in case they are willing to have me grow that aspect of my career in the company and the recruiter mentioned they have had to do a couple of data engineering so it would be great to have me work around that too.

The call ended on a good note, I was full of confidence and I felt there was no way I wouldn't make it to the next round. I got an email 2 days later (January 13) saying I had made it to the next round - A Technical Test

2nd Interview - Technical Test

I was told to build a News App Aggregator using FastAPI, by consuming News API and Reddit API to return a list of news content from both sources based on a query.

Before this test, I had never worked with Fast API so I took my time to study the framework before hopping on the project.

The link to the project is here

I submitted the test on the 16th of January but I did not get a response after that so I sent a follow up email 4 days later (20th January) just to know I was still being considered. My Follow up email was replied the next day (21st January) and I was told that I would be contacted within a week.

I was contacted on the 26th of January saying I had made it to the next stage, boom... Let's GOOOO!!!!! ๐Ÿš€

I read this email after taking a walk of 3 KM in 30 minutes to a friend's place so I had to transport myself back to my location using the popular "Okada" (motor-bike, I guess that's what it's called)

3rd Interview - Technical Interview

I got to my room to read the email properly just to find out I was to have the interview that day or the next day, so I chose to have the interview that day 3 hours from the time I read the email.

Before the interview, I woke up in the worst of moods which was the main reason for my long unnecessary walk just to walk away the thoughts. I felt it won't affect me in the interview so I decided to go on with picking that day for the interview.

The interview started at 12pm WAT 26th January and this is how the interview was meant to be;

3 interviews, the first two were to last for 1 hour each then the last one was to last for 30 minutes. There were breaks of 15 minutes between each of these interviews to rest and get some chocolate (Chocolate is overrated by the way).

First Part

The first one was about the technical test I submitted, I was told to explain the code and add some extra features to it (you will find incomplete code implementations in the repo of the test ).

I feel I wasn't patient while doing this part of the interview, I felt I knew the solution so I just wanted to battle it out without thinking about it first, I guess this was a red flag.

This part ended and I felt I was able to at least show I was capable of implementing the features I was asked to add.

During the break, I was hella hungry so I ran using the maximum pace I could attain just to get some snacks, I ran back in just in time for the next part of the interview.

Second Part

The second interview was a system design interview, I was told to explain how I would build a search engine to be able to handle 50 million writes and 5 billion reads per month.

I tried my best explaining how I would do this using the little experience I had gathered, I also used some mathematical concepts to think about a couple of things that could help the application scale over a couple of years.

I felt I tried my best but I knew very little about how to make applications scale when they get heavy reads, writes and requests per seconds.

We ended this part of the interview when the time was up.

Third and Final Part

This part was for me, I was to ask the recruiter questions about the interview process, the company and also give feedback on how I felt about the interview process.

I went on to ask how he would have solve the system design question I was asked to solve and he mentioned a couple of tools which I had never heard of (e.g Dynamo tables).

The recruiter also praised my mathematics skills (my A1 in Mathematics Waec did not waste ahbeg), praised my communication skills but called out the fact that I was always in a hurry which is true because I was very desperate to land the job.

He also stated that I was 1 out of 4 people to make it to the final round which motivated me and put a little smile on my face.

Rejection Email

On the 11th of February, over 2 weeks after I had the final round of interview, I was sent an email stating that I won't be moving to the next stage. The email also contained feedback from the interview which stated a couple of things I would need to work on.

Dear Abdulmateen,

Thank you very much for taking the time to interview with us for the Backend Engineer (Python) - Remote role at Meddy. We appreciate your interest in the company and the job. Unfortunately, we will not be moving forward with your candidacy at Meddy. Here is my feedback for you:

  1. You have a great passion.
  2. In the first hour of the final interview, you usually start coding. before thinking about the consequences, I guess you were stressed and you were worried about the time.
  3. for the second part of the final interview, you did a good job when it comes to thinking about workloads and doing the math. but I guess you don't have good experience with system design and production workloads. but I really enjoyed our conversation and discussions.
  4. for the last part of the final interview, for some reason you didn't have a passion for the thing you shared with me, I felt like you are not really proud about it and you just explained it technical wise. Now that we have had the chance to learn more about you, we will keep your resume on file for future openings that suit your qualifications. Again thank you so much for your interest in joining Meddy. It was nice talking to you and getting to know more about you! We wish you all the best in your job search and future professional endeavors.

As much as this broke my heart, It made me understand I am not far from getting the offer letter I am hustling to get.

Now, back to my story about chasing multiple girls (The story this article started with)

I stopped applying to other companies just to focus on this interview process, I even ignored a couple of companies that showed interest in me because I wanted to focus on bagging Meddy.

Seems I will take my friends advice and chase multiple girls at the same time, and also chase multiple jobs at the same time ๐Ÿ˜‚ .

We MOVE ๐Ÿš€

Tay โœจ๐Ÿพ

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