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Insights from 10k tech interviews: 5 reasons why developers fail job vetting

May 25, 2023

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With the promise of 100k salaries, remote work options, and unparalleled flexibility, it's no surprise that everyone wants to be a programmer these days. However, even for a junior Java or Python role, you're expected to be well-versed in three different frameworks. 

And if you think writing clean code is enough to set you apart, think again. The truth is, as a software developer, you have to compete, whether you like it or not. But the good news is, with a solid understanding of the software industry, teamwork, and effective hiring strategies, you can stand out from the competition.

Over the past year, has vetted over 10k developers from different regions around the world. Our research sample included developers from various regions, with the majority being from the CEE region. From this, we have discovered five common pitfalls that developers make during hiring interviews, ranging from technical expertise to mindset, habits, and soft skills. These pitfalls can have consequences for both hiring managers and remote work, so it's important to take action steps to improve. In this post, we'll explore these pitfalls, their impact, and provide actionable steps to help you avoid them and improve your career prospects.

Let’s proceed. 

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Vetting ≠ Interview ≠ Just skills matching

When it comes to hiring software developers, vetting is a crucial step in ensuring that you get the best of the best. This process can include a range of tasks such as confirming work experience, checking credentials, reviewing social media profiles, and even searching for criminal records. But, there's more to vetting than just ticking off a list of requirements. A developer's determination, drive, curiosity, and ability to take ownership of their work can all make a difference in whether or not they get hired. At, our VP of Talent, Eugene Garla, likens vetting to a game of chess. Candidates and hiring managers both need to be strategic in order to win.

To keep the pulse on your vetting game, check out the key 5 factors (ranked from highest to lowest) on why developers fail to pass job vetting embracing data of 10k vetted software developers. 

1. Insufficient technical expertise

This include knowledge of essential computer science concepts like Data Structures, Algorithms, and Computer Network basics, crucial tools like Git, Docker, Kubernetes, and containers in general, Agile methodologies, Cloud computing concepts and platforms like AWS, GCP, Microsoft Azure, and evergreen skills like SQL and UNIX, editors like Eclipse or Visual Studio Code, and text editors, like VIM and NotePad++. 

Insufficient knowledge in this area can cause major setbacks, such as:

  • Hiring Managers needing to provide significant training and support, which could hinder candidates' chances of success in the role
  • Struggling to succeed in a remote work environment, which demands a strong sense of independence and guidance
  • Slower project progress, missed deadlines, and unsatisfied clients as a result

Developers can take proactive steps to overcome these obstacles, such as:

  1. Identifying their weaknesses and areas for improvement
  2. Participating in online courses and tutorials to gain new skills and knowledge
  3. Contributing to open-source projects to gain practical experience

Upskilling resources used by developers

2. Lack of preparation + weak CV

Some candidates believe they can solve a coding problem without preparation. They write code every day, after all! However, typical coding interview challenges are different from routine software development tasks. For example, many organisations expect candidates to be familiar with basic data structures, sorting and search algorithms, recursion, etc., to solve the problem.

Failing to prepare can result in significant issues, such as:

  • Interviewers may interpret lack of preparation as low interest in the role and won’t recommend hiring the candidate
  • Hiring Managers may be unable to tell if the candidate is struggling because of unfamiliarity with the language or inability to code
  • Candidates struggling to stay productive without in-person supervision in fully-remote settings

You need to spend time preparing, which includes:

  1. Updating your resume and relevant materials
  2. Practicing data structures and algorithms for the coding challenges
  3. Researching the company and the job you're applying for
  4. Spending time on take-home assignments
  5. Conducting mock interviews to practice your skills.

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3. Inability to communicate effectively

Effective and timely communication is crucial for strengthening software development teams. As a high-performing software developer, having skilled communication is one of the most essential skills. It demonstrates your value as a team member who is confident in their solutions, able to ask the right questions, explain technical concepts reliably, and manage high-pressure situations effectively.

But, what happens when communication falls short?

  • Interviewers may struggle to gauge your ability to work in a team or handle challenging situations
  • In fully-remote settings, unclear communication can lead to confusion, delays, misalignment and friction among team members

To avoid this pitfall, focus on improving your communication skills by:

  1. Practicing explaining your ideas clearly and concisely
  2. Listening actively to others
  3. Joining public speaking clubs or groups to develop your skills.

4. Cultural & organisational misalignment

The culture of a company is its core and affects every aspect of its operations, both internal and external. As a result, it is not enough for developers to simply be aware of a company's culture; they must also be a good fit for it. Hiring managers should not only look for candidates with the necessary skills, but developers should also seek out companies whose values and personality align with their own. This is commonly known as cultural fit and is crucial for both the individual and the company.

The issues with organizational misalignment and cultural diversity are:

  • Hiring a bad fit can decrease job satisfaction, lower productivity, and increase turnover
  • Developers who have not previously worked remotely for a US tech enterprise or in large teams may not feel a sense of belonging and connection

To combat this issue, some winning tactics include:

  1. Researching the company culture and values before applying for a job
  2. Being genuine to yourself and your values, and not compromising them 
  3. Networking with current and past employees to gain a bigger picture 

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93% of candidates feel anxious before the job interview

5. Interview anxiety & fuzziness

Experiencing anxiety during an interview can have negative effects on developers’ confidence, preparation, and ability to articulate their thoughts effectively. When you appear visibly stressed or under-confident, it can significantly decrease your chances of success, even if you have a brilliant mind.

Anxiety & fuzziness can impact:

  • Hiring Managers' confidence in your ability to succeed in the role if you struggle to present yourself and your abilities during the interview
  • Remote work settings, as candidates who struggle with interview anxiety may not effectively convey their suitability for long-term projects

To combat interview anxiety, it's essential to take proactive steps to address the root cause of the problem:

  1. Develop relaxation techniques
  2. Focus on preparation and what you can control
  3. Seek professional help if necessary
  4. Conduct mock interviews to better understand yourself and manage stress

To increase your chances of success in the job market as a developer, there are several variables to consider. These include your ability to learn and adapt quickly, how you present your skills and aptitudes to potential employers, and your performance in real-world and remote work environments. Additionally, your ability to maintain focus and structure in your daily work can greatly impact your success.

In order to stay ahead in the rapidly-evolving tech industry, continuous learning is key. By investing time and effort into staying up-to-date with the latest technologies and best practices, you can increase your value as a developer and become more attractive to potential employers. Developing good habits such as maintaining a structured work schedule and dedicating time to deep work can also help improve your productivity and focus, leading to better job performance and greater success in vetting processes.

Quality makes the difference

When it comes to tech talent, quality counts. is a one stop venue to high-performing software developers, projects and tech companies. 

If you're a software developer looking to take your career to the next level? Join for long-term remote US & UK jobs with top compensation and growth opportunities!

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