Interviews I’ve had in the past that seem to go really well end up with something along the lines of, “You’re awesome, no doubt, but….”

I’ve dug into my emails for some of my rejections:

We've decided to fill our position with another applicant. I was really trying to find a way to slice this where it made sense to bring you on, but it just isn't making economic sense for us right now. Very disappointing on my end, and I'm sorry to have to bring you that news.

Thanks so much for meeting with me last week. I think you have a lot to offer and I'm impressed by your experience with Golang, but unfortunately won't be able to offer you a place on our engineering team. Our ideal candidate would have a bit more experience with devops, and deploying and supporting production software. With a bit more experience, I think that you'd be a great fit for our team in the future, and I hope we can stay in touch. Best of luck with your next career moves!

Thanks for reaching back out. Sarah said she enjoyed her discussion with you, and that you’d be a good fit for the team.Unfortunately we’ve decided to move forward with another candidate for this round. But we think you’d fit in well here, so when it comes time for the next round (start date of 3/1) we’ll definitely reach back out and see if you’re still in the market.Thanks again for your time - was great meeting you. Hopefully we can regroup in a couple months!

These are just a few of the real responses I’ve had over the past few years. At my new position, we’re a team of three trying to double in size. I have direct input into the process of hiring devops candidates. The rejections above might seem like very elaborate and nice ways to say no at first, but I realize that while I might not have been ready for the position I applied for, the company might not be ready to take on someone as inexperienced as I was, as much as they liked me.

Most of my time in the past few years has invovled working weekend and late nights to grow and be competent on a level similar to my peers. To catch up, that’s what I decided to do. I’m not saying that you should do that at all, and to be honest I almost regret it, but I digress. I was doing my very best as an engineer, and people could see that, yet I was still kicking myself for not being good eough.

I’ve gone through the phase of applying to a few jobs everyday, writing multiple versions of cover letters, doing coding challenges, wondering if I’m good enough, taking that frustration out on my loved ones, I’ve done it all.

But let’s be clear about one thing: if there is a job opening, the company has the means to provide compensation for another employee to generate profit for them. That’s business. For entry level positions or junior level ones, the intent is that you will contribute in their mision to make them money. There’s probably the expectation that you will need some time to ramp up and learn some things, but overall, there’s confidence in that you will be productive towards helping the business make money.

The core of the decision to hire at the lower level is because there’s an opportunity for a mutual benefit. Experience for you, and inexpensive labor for them.

Right now we’re trying to hire ops engineers who are at the Senior level. We need people who can hit the ground running and get things done with relatively minimal ramp up time. This requirement is based on where the company is positioned and what’s on the roadmap, we can’t afford to have interns or junior engineers. We’ve gotta go go go go go, and then go some more.

In regards to appying for jobs, while you might be very likable, have great potential, or have done sophisticated projects at your level, the reasons for a no are sometimes out of your control. Based on an orginzation’s need, financial standing, opportunity to take risks, and much more, what they’ll need from employees can vary. Considering me with the experience I had even a year ago, I wouldn’t hire myself now.

I firmly believe that failures plant the seeds of success, and there are many, many interviews and negative moments in my career that I had to go through to attribute to my success. Because of moments like this, your negative experiences don’t need to be labeled as negative; just experiences to learn from.

Don’t be discouraged. Keep going. Continue to learn and be proactive about adding depth to your skills. Grow from every experience, good or bad, and let that power you through landing that next stepping stone.

Corey Prak