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Choking during tech assessments

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Entry-Level Software Engineer at Deloitte14 days ago

This may be more of a vent than a question so apologies in advance.

I recently had an online assessment with a company that I was excited to interview for. The assessment was comprised of 7 SQL questions each with varying amounts of time to complete them. The questions were more than fair however I completely choked and only passed 1 of 7.

I know the obvious answer is more practice but I'm really frustrated that the penalty is really high if you can't recall the information you need at that exact moment or can't figure out the approach you need right then and there to resolve it before the allotted time. I feel like companies never consider that a candidate might very well have the body of knowledge they're looking for but just couldn't recall what was needed at that exact moment. In other words we're reduced down to a simple "pass/fail". I understand that companies have to use these tools to a certain extent in order to filter out and reduce the candidate pool size but I believe it's such a poor filter and terrible way to determine if someone has the right level they're looking for.

My question is then, how do you over come this? I practice leetcode when I can and read up on concepts that I struggle with but I feel like it's just not enough to break through this hurdle. There's only so much time in the day and my energy is usually sapped after work.



  • 4
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    Thoughtful Tarodactyl
    Taro Community
    14 days ago
    1. Don't get attached to any 1 company. Companies vary sooo much within that it may be the case that your dream company ends up being terrible for you
    2. There's literally 100s of good companies to work for. It's not just big tech or FAANG. realizing that outside of the 30 big tech companies there's so many startups that are late stage or mid stage with incredible talent density and growth opportunities to work for and really solid pay that can even be better than FAANG.
    3. Volume. Dont get too attached to any company. Just keep shooting your shot and you'll get there. You're going to get hit with tests/exams/interviews where its just not your strong suit. You just need to accept it and move on to the next
    4. The job market makes no sense right now. Just hang in there and focus on building great software and building an amazing network. Eventually the pay will match your skills as the market stabilizes. The good news is that building great software is something anyone can do anywhere with an internet connection so it is something totally in your control. Just need to give it time and eventually things will work out
    5. Your ability to perform in an interview or your job doesnt determine your worth
    6. Finally, a little bit everyday goes a long way. I think of leetcode like going to the gym. You cant just spend 5 hours a day for 15 days and then expect to put on 100lbs of muscle. But even 30 minutes a day over 6 months goes sooooo far. Try to make it a goal of doing atleast 1 problem a day. That's it, just 1 day and even that just goes so far
    • 0
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      Entry-Level Software Engineer [OP]
      14 days ago

      Thanks so much for the detailed reply/advice. I definitely need to have a change of perspective especially in this economy.

    • 1
      Profile picture
      Thoughtful Tarodactyl
      Taro Community
      14 days ago

      Just want to say that you're not alone. I totally relate to how you feel

  • 3
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    Senior Software Engineer at Unemployed
    14 days ago

    Software engineering is not memorization, regardless that, sometimes in the interviews you are expected to remember syntax or stuff like that.

    Following the Alex's advice: Make a list of the companies that you really are excited to join and the ones that are like "meh".

    Get experience first with the "meh" companies.

    From my personal experience: Take the interviews as a free skill evaluation from a company where you will learn more about yourself and challenges that you are not used to in your daily life. The job offer is like the bonus price.

    The attitude is elemental, feeling frustrated is fine, is part of the process, we all need a vent sometimes, is nice that you have a support community

    Keep building your resilience and skills, if you persist and keep learning on each "battle", is a matter of time that you will win the "bonus" price uwu

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, commonly referred to as Deloitte, is an international professional services network. Deloitte is considered one of the Big Four accounting firms along with EY, KPMG and PwC.
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