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Why You’re Rejected Before the Interview Even Starts and How to Avoid This

Posted on 
December 13, 2021
Dipen Dadhaniya
The fast well prepared banner
About The Author!
Dipen Dadhaniya
Dipen Dadhaniya
Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart. A passionate and versatile web developer packed with full-stack development skills and a curiosity to explore computer languages.

Ever wondered why you didn’t get a call or email or anything from the employer even after all that technical interview preparation? Or why do recruiters reject candidates even before the interview starts? 

There could be several reasons for such rejections; the best way to avoid this is to understand these reasons and tweak your technical interview preparation accordingly. If you’re still reeling from such an experience, don’t worry. In this article, we will discuss why these things happen and how to tackle them.

You should also check out our technical interview checklist, interview questions page, and salary negotiation e-book to take your prep to the next level and get interview-ready! Also, read The X-Factor: 7 Crucial Soft Skills to Land a $500k Tech Job and Qualifications and Tech Skills Required to Land a $500k Tech Job for specific insights and guidance on tech interview preparation.

Having trained over 9,000 software engineers, we know what it takes to crack the toughest tech interviews. Since 2014, Interview Kickstart alums have been landing lucrative offers from FAANG and Tier-1 tech companies, with an average salary hike of 49%. The highest ever offer received by an IK alum is a whopping $933,000!

At IK, you get the unique opportunity to learn from expert instructors who are hiring managers and tech leads at Google, Facebook, Apple, and other top Silicon Valley tech companies.

Want to nail your next tech interview? Sign up for our FREE Webinar.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

Why Are You Getting Rejected Even Before a Technical Interview?

Getting rejected even before the interview starts can be crushing, but unfortunately, it does happen. We’ve covered some reasons behind this and how to deal with them:

Your resume is not recruiter friendly

Your resume is the first thing recruiters will assess in the job application process. You can do all the interview prep in the world, but if your resume isn’t good, it’ll all be in vain.

Work on crafting a resume that covers all the relevant information while not adding too much detail that might distract or wear out the recruiter.

Your resume should also pass the ATS (Application Tracking System) — software designed to manage applications that a company receives.

Read this article for some great tips on creating an ATS- and recruiter-friendly resume.

You have a poor LinkedIn presence

Many software engineers don’t give much attention to this, but it’s vital today. After going through your resume, recruiters often check out your LinkedIn profile to see your career path.

Therefore, having a good and optimized LinkedIn profile is necessary for all job seekers. Read this article to learn more about how to optimize your LinkedIn profile. 

An internal candidate has already been selected for the role

One of the most common reasons you get rejected before an interview is that an internal candidate has already been chosen for the position. The hiring team simply posts the opening because it's a part of their recruitment process or to get the approval they want. In the end, they pick someone they already like for the role.

During your technical interview preparation, a simple way to weed out such job postings is to try to find out whether or not the company is really hiring. If anyone from your network works for or knows someone in that company, you can check whether they’re hiring internally or externally. 

Research should be a significant part of your interview prep. Research not only about the company but also the position. Just by putting in some extra effort, you can save yourself from some nerve-wracking wait time.

Certain information about you didn’t sit well with the hiring team

Although wrong and done subconsciously, it’s pretty common for hiring teams to make assumptions and have biases. We all do it and don’t even realize it. 

Now, as technology has advanced a great deal, many companies are taking the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to save time and increase efficiency. 

No amount of technical interview preparation can help you completely mitigate such biases but try applying to companies that are using AI as part of their recruitment process. Unilever, Vodafone, PwC, and Oracle are some companies leveraging AI.

Someone before you has already impressed them

If it just so happens that a candidate before you has already impressed the hiring team, your chances of wowing them even after all that technical interview preparation automatically become pretty slim. In such a situation, neither of the two parties is at fault.

The probability of such a thing happening is pretty high because FAANG and other top tech companies receive a high number of applications. Out of all the candidates, you can never really know how far down the list your name might be.

Perseverance and patience are the only two ways out of this fix. Don’t get demotivated or lose hope if you don’t get an offer right away. Keep applying and working on your technical interview preparation. 

Common mistakes during a technical interview and how to avoid them

You may have prepared thoroughly for your technical interview but still fallen short. To avoid this, we’re covering the most common mistakes software engineers make during coding interviews so that you can work on these aspects too:

  1. Submitting a generic cover letter for your technical interview: Depending on the company and job profile, you need to tweak your cover letter and add the relevant information. Talk about your specific qualities that could add value to the company and even add the required keywords.
  2. Talking too much during the technical interview: Be precise when you introduce yourself. It might get more difficult as you grow because the length of your introduction usually corresponds to your experience. If you're in the initial phase of your career, talk about your qualifications and internship experience. If you’re a mid-level engineer, your previous job experience gets added to the list, and so on. Think of what is most relevant for the role you’re applying for, and frame your introduction accordingly.

The same applies to other parts of the interview; say what’s relevant and cut down everything else.

  1. Speaking too less in the technical interview: Keeping your answers short and to the point is one thing but don’t take it too far. Don’t give one-word or one-line answers. The interviewer might end up thinking you’re rude or have an attitude problem. 
  2. Stumbling on personality questions in a technical interview: To determine whether you will blend with their team or not, interviewers tend to ask personality questions too. Questions such as, “How will you divide some work among the different team members?” or “How do you handle high-pressure situations?” 

Look up what sort of questions you can expect and prepare yourself to avoid surprises. 

  1. Overexplaining without context during the technical interview: Whenever you’re asked a situational question or something based on your experience, don’t get into too much detail without giving the proper context. Highlight your thought process and how you handled the situation. 

How to Prepare for a Technical Interview 

Before you even go in for a technical interview, there are a few things you can work on during your interview prep to increase your chances of getting hired:

  • Work on your “introduce yourself” pitch before the technical interview: Having a 30 second to 1-minute pitch prepared that summarizes all your employment history, projects you have worked on, or contests you might have participated in can never go wrong.

It’ll boost your confidence and give you a chance to demonstrate excellent soft skills.

  • Brush up on CS fundamentals for your technical interview preparation: Some of the key topics in mind to revise before going in are data structures, sorting and search algorithms, Big O notation, arrays, and related topics.

You can check out our Learn section and access some great resources to help you expand your knowledge.

  • Choose a programming language and understand it thoroughly: While doing your technical interview preparation, ensure that you have a great understanding of at least one programming language. Usually, companies let you pick the language. 

To understand which programming languages you should learn, read our article and get started.

  • Leverage coding challenges to prepare for your technical interview: When preparing, you must focus more on understanding the concepts rather than just solving a certain number of problems. You should also time yourself when solving problems. One great way to do this is by taking part in coding challenges to become quicker and get a deeper insight into the subject.

You can start participating in competitive programming to win prizes and upskill at the same time!  

  • Be prepared with a relevant project before the technical interview: You can save yourself some time by being ready with a project that shows your expertise in the domain you are applying for. This could even keep you from getting grilled on a subject you’re not very confident about during the technical interview.

FAQs on Technical Interview Preparation

Q1. What should be your checklist before going in for a technical interview?

Some points that you should keep in mind before going in for a technical interview:

  • Familiarize yourself with the job description and prepare questions accordingly.
  • Have a brief pitch describing your educational background and work experience.
  • Research the company thoroughly.
  • Arrive a few minutes early.

Q2. What are the different steps involved in a technical interview?

A technical interview in the major tech companies typically consists of three parts: Phone screening (initial interview), remote coding assignment/another technical interview, and finally, an in-person or on-site interview. Read Understanding Technical Interviews at FAANG and How to Crack Them for more details about the process.

Q3. Which skills are tested in a technical interview?

While doing your technical interview preparation, you need to work on improving the following: 

  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Creativity
  • Communication skills
  • Technical knowledge

Q4. What to include in your resume when preparing for a technical interview?

Always tailor your resume according to the company as well as the post you’re applying for. Go over the job description thoroughly and remember to include the keywords. 

Q5. What resources should you use while preparing for a technical interview?

Some of the best resources when preparing for a technical interview are: 

Get Ready for Your Next Tech Interview

If you’re struggling to get a call-back from companies, let Interview Kickstart help you out.

We have trained thousands of software engineers to crack the most challenging interviews at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and other top tech companies.

Our team of instructors includes FAANG tech leads and seasoned hiring managers, who will help you figure out the gaps in your resume and give you the right application strategy. You can also leverage our network of thousands of alums to get referred to FAANG+ companies. 

Interview Kickstart will not only help you get interviews but also nail each round of the most challenging tech interviews. 

Register for our FREE webinar to learn more!

Last updated on: 
September 25, 2023

Dipen Dadhaniya

Engineering Manager at Interview Kickstart

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