DEV Community


Is rejection for a job becoming more normal or...?

spirodonfl profile image Spiro Floropoulos ・1 min read

It seems more developers are being rejected for jobs they apply for and they're being rejected over longer periods of time. I'm seeing more posts on various platforms (including from developers having a hard time finding work and being without work for longer.

I know a couple devs who are awesome and passionate and excellent coders. But they went without getting accepted for a job for months, sometimes longer.

Or maybe it's just that we have so many platforms to tell our stories that these stories seem more prevalent?


Discussion (12)

Editor guide
ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I’d guess that the various code schools popping up have, at the very least, created a lot of volatility in the job market. I think the positions are ultimately available but companies are less willing to settle for the wrong candidate.

sudiukil profile image
Quentin Sonrel

I was under the same impression (seeing more people getting their application rejected). I don't usually read that kind of articles but it would be interesting to gather context from them (country, age, experience, etc...) and see if there is some kind of pattern.

What's shocking to me is that all the developers I know IRL (me included) experience the opposite: they all find nice jobs really easily, and most of them (including me once again) are clearly average developers, nothing fancy that would make it especially easy to find a job.

spirodonfl profile image
Spiro Floropoulos Author

Yeah very interesting! What part of the world do you live in?

sudiukil profile image
Quentin Sonrel

France, north-east of it, which is not even the best region to be in for tech-related jobs.

Other things that could be relevant: I'm 22 years old, most of the developers I know are between that age and late twenties, and most of them have less than 5 years of experience.

Thread Thread
dyland profile image
Dylan Davenport

I need to move to France then! Where I live in the US is also not a heavy tech focused area but even with a few years experience under my belt most places won't even humor me with a phone call. Just the "you're not a good fit" email.

I'm lucky enough to currently have a full-time job but I'm looking to move to another company to make more money and learn more and its proving quite difficult.

theoriginalbpc profile image
Sarah Bartley

Finding any job today (even a developer one) is tough. I've applied to several developer jobs, but have never even gotten to the interview stage. Most of the times I get a rejection e-mail or I never hear back. I've had several people look at my resume and cover letters to see what I can improve upon, but nothing has really changed. I know plenty of devs who have found jobs and it seems what works for them is having a good network and using that connection to get them interviews. I'm starting to realize finding a job is becoming less about the skills you have and more about the people you know.

rhymes profile image

I'm starting to realize finding a job is becoming less about the skills you have and more about the people you know.

Sadly, yes :-(

thinkslynk profile image
Stephen Dycus

Some issues I've seen over the past year or so.

  • Non-existent roles for junior / entry level devs - This is a big problem, and not just for people trying to get their foot in the door. Where I currently work, our devs would love to get more experience training and leading a team of more junior devs, so they can focus on solving more challenging problems. But management does not see a benefit in investing in entry level positions or having students intern with us. This leaves our developers feeling overtasked while our numerous "senior" developer job listings sit on the website for 6+ months.

  • Broken, and sometimes questionably legal interview processes - I remember interviewing with a company that had a 24 hour test that required you to interact with a very specific api. The api required you register to use it, but would not allow you to use any FREE email service such as gmail... I just HAPPENED to have a private paid email account, but I can imagine how many other devs took this test and just gave up. I'm not sure it's legal to require someone to PAY to get a job... Anyway, I didn't get the job because their back end java developer didn't like my Android code; someone who had no experience with Android, criticizing the work of someone who was a lead developer for 3 years on a very successful photo sharing app.... I then joined a company where I was awarded my first patent for a custom OCR solution and have now transitioned into a full time machine learning role. This isn't meant to brag, but to highlight that these hiring processes are often highly flawed.

  • Irrelevant coding challenges - "Solve this graph theory problem." ... "Isn't this a front end web development position?" You see this a LOT with larger employers, such as Google, Facebook, etc. They don't really care if you're good at your job, they only care about weeding out false positives. They'd rather turn away a few good developers, as long as they can "guarantee" that those that ARE hired are competent. Unfortunately, this means those of us who are self taught often get weeded out, because we often only attempt to learn new concepts when we feel we can immediately apply them in a project, where as a student fresh out of college who just learned this information can get the job, without having any real world coding experience.

  • Impossible or unnecessary job listing requirements - "Must have 5 years experience with this technology that has only been around for 3 years." Or "Must have 15 years experience with this one tech stack." I just out right ignore these listings, but they are plentiful, and make it that much more difficult to find a real job listing.

  • Fear of inadequacy - This may just be me, but as someone with a pretty severe case of imposter syndrome, I am often too paralyzed with fear to apply for roles that I feel I may be a little under qualified for. I hate wasting peoples time, and I hate the idea of having a company fly my out for an interview when I'm pretty sure they won't think I'm qualified.

moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

In my experience, I get rejected from most job applications, and that's been the case for 20+ years so I see no personal change there.

As the years go by, however, I do see more and more people apply for jobs with the expectation of getting the role. Maybe that's just the appearance people like to present, but I hear more from people who have "never failed an interview" now than ever before.

eli profile image
Eli Bierman • Edited

I think another aspect of this is the mismatch between most interview environments and the working environment on the job. Even if you are prepared to do the job, you might not be prepared to succeed at the interview.

Very few people function the same way in a high-pressure evaluation as they would in an average working day. It is impossible to assess somebody's knowledge of such a wide field in such a short time. Interviewers know this, but I think they are put in a difficult situation too. I think a short-term paid working engagement on a small project or feature is the best way to assess a candidate's skills, and provides the best opportunity to the candidate to know what working there would be like. In my experience however, it's rare that companies with job openings are open to that.

dyland profile image
Dylan Davenport

The problem I see is that companies are so quick to reject an applicant before they even speak to them. They expect applicants to meet an enormous list if technical requirement without taking the time to get to know the individual.

People can be taught technical skills but you can't really teach someone how to have strong work ethic and be a team player. Of course companies can't personally interact with every candidate but if they meet at least 70% of the technical skills I'd say they are worth at least a quick phone call. Just my 2 cents.