Today, I want to talk about something non-technical that caused you not to get your life-changer opportunities in your technical journey. This topic is based on more than 600 interviews I’ve had in the last four years since 2018. Of 600 interviewees, 95% were rejected, and just 20-30 got passed my interviews, technically.
So why? Do I ask hard questions? Sometimes yes! It depends on the interviewee’s knowledge, but not to judge them; just to know how deeply they know about Kubernetes. My rule is so simple: In all interviews, I ask some basic questions, “around ten questions”, but 95% cannot answer at least 50% of them.
Last year, it crossed my mind to spend some time researching interviewees and myself to find the correct answer, why they cannot answer the basic questions – basic from my perspective – and why they get rejected. So, today, I want to share my results with you to let you know why you were rejected in your Kubernetes interviews.
Although these are not the exact answers behind all rejections, they may help you know some common mistakes of others and try to avoid them in your following interviews.
Basic concepts are really important not only for Kubernetes but also for everything else. Interviewers start with basic concepts and ask you some questions about the basic and core concepts of the system. In the case of Kubernetes and the container ecosystem, interviewers expect interviewees to know how containers work and how Kubernetes works. Each Kubernetes component is responsible for what and such questions.
It’s not something good to have! It’s essential to know, and you must. When you don’t have enough knowledge about the core concepts, you can’t solve real-world problems. You can’t fix a car when you don’t know how it works.
SOLUTION: Spend enough time reading and learning core concepts.
2- Be your real self in your CV, not the fake one:
When you don’t write it, you are not responsible for it; when you write it, you are responsible for it; you will be asked and judged for it.
If you don’t know something or have no experience, don’t write it in your resume. Interviewers will ask you about it, and if you can’t answer, they will find that your CV is fake and not buy your words anymore. Just write what you know and what you can answer about that. In the Kubernetes world, there are many tools and technologies. No one knows all of them, and no one expects you to know all of them. Not knowing is better than writing something and not being able to answer.
SOLUTION: Write all the things you really know in your resume.
3- Say I DON’T KNOW, and don’t make funny answers:
There are two facts about the questions you are asked. First, if you know the answer, your mind finds it in less than 10 seconds. Second, interviewers ask about some things they know. So, if you don’t know the answer, be honest and say I DON’T KNOW and do not try to make funny answers because you will lose the interviewers’ trust. Interviewers start with questions they know the exact answer to, and after getting some correct answers, they trust you and ask something they may not know. The first part of the interview is about WHAT YOU KNOW, and the second part is about WHAT YOU THINK and WHAT YOU GUESS. Not knowing is better than providing wrong answers.
SOLUTION: Be honest and say I don’t know.
4- Answer the question with a question:
In many cases, I saw that the interviewee answered the question with a question. You may think interviewers forget the question, but they don’t. Sometimes, I directly say: OK, back to the question. What is …? and if the interviewee does it again, I find that something is wrong. Do not make this mistake, or you may be judged incorrectly.
SOLUTION: Do not answer questions with questions.
5- Deploy Kubernetes vs Work with Kubernetes:
Being able to deploy Kubernetes does not mean you can work with Kubernetes! In some cases, I faced excellent Cloud and Platform engineers that knew how to implement infrastructure, network, Kubernetes cluster, etc., but they didn’t have enough knowledge about Kubernetes itself, and after digging into their skills, we found that they implemented and deployed Kubernetes clusters, and someone else or another team used that Kubernetes environment. If you think you can pass for Kubernetes engineering interviews with deployment skills, you are wrong.
SOLUTION: Learn how to use Kubernetes itself with real-world scenarios.
6- Pay attention to Logs/Events:
Logs and Events can tell you what’s going on more than 70 percent of the time. Hands-on engineers can read and understand Logs and Events. If you don’t have enough skills to read them, you need to review your skills now. In most of my interviews, I share my desktop and show real-world running clusters, which have a couple of problems, and ask interviewees questions to check if they’re hands-on with Kubernetes. All those problems can be found by checking logs and events, but most interviewees think, guess and answer based on their thoughts. They don’t even point to logs or events. They don’t ask Can I see the logs? Can I see the events? These engineers will be rejected directly there. Reading and investigating the system’s logs and events is the start of finding the issue.
SOLUTION: Start by checking logs and events.
7- Don’t use ChatGPT during the interview:
Of course, ChatGPT is an excellent AI tool, and I use it sometimes, but not during interviews. Sometimes, during interviews, we see the interviewee look somewhere else – something like he read something and then answer. In one interview, I asked the interviewee why you’re looking somewhere else and then answer the question? He said I’m using AI, which helps me answer questions. It’s a good idea to use AI tools for preparing before interviews, but it’s risky to use them during the interview.
SOLUTION: Loud and clear 🙂 don’t use it during the interview.
The interview is not just about your technical knowledge. You need many soft skills to pass the interview journey. Mistakes happen, but you can reduce and control them. Passing the interview is good, but getting rejected is not the end of the world. Try again.