I applied to a programming researcher position in a science related startup. I was rejected in the final stage of selections, probably failing against just one or two other candidates. It is an early startup that is still fused with a research institution with professors as part of the management board.

I really want to get into this team. Would it make sense to prepare myself and increase the chances of my acceptance applying later?

As the startup is based on a scientific project, most of the technologies are still publicly available and the majority of the software stack is open source.

The preparations I am considering are:

  • Develop a module or extension and come with it to the team to talk again.
  • Develop and contribute code to the open source part of their project (I am sure I will pass code review).
  • Try to acquire additional expertise precisely in the area (mine is slightly off) and communicate with them that I did. This can be done by reading books that the professors recommended and doing more programming as practice.

Could these or possibly any other actions be helpful, or is the decision final and I should move on?

I am currently unemployed anyway so please do not deviate explaining how this would conflict with my current job.

  • Wow, quite the question you got there in terms of its readability. I made some significant edits that I believe would make it easier to read. If my edits deviate from your intentions, feel free to change them back. – Bluebird Nov 21 '17 at 9:01
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    Wait, what happened since Nov 1? workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/101793/… – Bluebird Nov 21 '17 at 9:11
  • I simply ask the questions for that I need to know the answers. Not all cases are exactly personal but all situations are real life situations. – eee Nov 21 '17 at 9:16
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    This seems too broad / opinion-based. – Bernhard Barker Nov 21 '17 at 9:37
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    You were rejected, you should assume that decision is final, but you can start the application process again later. Of course some of those things can help with that, but you don't know when they'd be looking for someone again, nor do you appear to know why they rejected you (the things you're planning on doing may be unrelated to why you were rejected), nor do you know what their cool-off period is on applications by the same candidate (it's not uncommon for companies to not accept reapplications within 6 months to a year). – Bernhard Barker Nov 21 '17 at 9:42

Startups tend to be less formal, and - if successful - grow quickly. This means whatever you can do to prepare yourself for a job there will have a higher-than-average chance of success.

If it is visible to them how enthusiastic you seem about working exactly there, great! So the contributions to the Open-Source seem especially interesting to me.

That said, you need to decide what´s important for you in your future career. This is a very risky investment. They may never hire you, or fail entirely, as most startups do. So be sure to limit your investment and have alternatives ready.


All of the suggestions you make are reasonably good things to do and will probably improve you in their eyes.

However I would caution against pinning too many of your hopes on this startup. Unless they have explicitly stated that your lack of experience in these areas was where your application fell down and that they would like to see you again if you improved these I think the chances of this resurrecting the opportunity are extremely slight, verging on zero.

They have clearly rejected you this time around and I'd be expecting them to employ another candidate for this opening. Your ideas might help you should you reapply for any future openings but I think you have to accept that this one is gone and you should be redoubling your efforts towards the job hunt as a whole rather than just this company. If the things you are talking about doing would improve your employability in general or wouldn't detract too much from the job hunt efforts then they aren't going to hurt, otherwise I think you need to focus on getting a job and then look to reapply at this place down the line when they are next hiring.

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    Working in a Startup myself, I have to say I disagree. Motivation is one of the most important things we are looking for in candidates. We can´t match the big players on a lot of stuff, but we have the more interesting project! The steps from OP show a great deal of motivation! – Daniel Nov 21 '17 at 9:45
  • @Daniel I concur.. which is why I think the steps he's taking would help him substantially for any future opportunities there.I just can't see it causing them to do a U-turn on this opportunity as they have already rejected him - which implies that they have decided to go with someone else. – motosubatsu Nov 21 '17 at 9:53
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    Ok, if you read his question that way, I have to agree - this one is probably gone. But there might be demand for a new candidate in the next few months, and OP will need some time to implement his steps anyways. – Daniel Nov 21 '17 at 9:58
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    @Daniel Yep, which is exactly why I suggest he do them as long as he can do so without impacting his ongoing job search. – motosubatsu Nov 21 '17 at 10:00
  • Maybe he could also share this post and the previous one about buying that company's shares to prove how much he loves this company. :P – Masked Man Nov 21 '17 at 10:40

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