I'm currently pursuing an opportunity with a good company. Their requirement is for 3 years experience but I'm 10 days short of that and the online portal won't accept my submission.

What should I do?

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Lilienthal
    Jan 3, 2021 at 19:53
  • What country is this? Jan 4, 2021 at 14:31

5 Answers 5


Most decent companies use a “band” when looking at experience, they ask for 5 years and may accept 3 with other factors.

Put 36 months and explain at interview if you get one.

Any good HR will be able to look at the experience and decide.

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    Particularly if the discrepancy is pathetic. 10 days short? That matters on a 14 day course - it does not matter even on 6 months experience. On 3 years? Whow, that must have been a manager deciding that - one of the pointy hair variant (look up dilbert comics if you do not understand the reference).
    – TomTom
    Jan 1, 2021 at 14:39
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    This. I don't see any ethical issue here - what sort of material experience would you have gained in the missing 10 days? They won't care. This is a software issue purely. Jan 1, 2021 at 16:15
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    We might have exactly the same experience, but I took 10 days holiday, and was laid off after exactly three years, while you didn't take the holidays, got laid off 10 days short of three years, and get paid cash for your holiday entitlement.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 1, 2021 at 18:26
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    That said, you might likely be wasting your time rounding the experience up in this case. It's fairly likely that the 3 years are just a sanity check, as in "there's no way anyone in the world could have learned all the things we need in 3 years or less". If you're looking for someone with 10+ years of experience, you set the bar at 3 years to allow for the occassional genius, but 99% of the applications with less than 7 years still go straight to the bin.
    – TooTea
    Jan 2, 2021 at 14:16

Lie to the computer - but tell the truth to a human if you get an interview

I rarely say this. But in this case, you have what a human would regard as 3 years of experience. A human will understand. A computer regards 35.75 months experience as identical to 24.0 months. Obviously this is wrong.

Lie to the computer - but tell the truth to any human you talk to about it. They can decide using actual measures.

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    This might be an option, although it's certainly not guaranteed to work. If the company is using a set of rules like this to pre-screen applications, there's a fair chance that 36 months is actually something they picked as an arbitrary bare minimum requirement to even bother looking at the application. If so, 37 months of experience might for all intents and purposes actually be equivalent to 24 months, the application will just get discarded a moment later.
    – TooTea
    Jan 2, 2021 at 14:12
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    @TooTea I would not think about this too much. There is a non-zero chance that there is no budget to actually fund this position. Why worry over nothing?
    – emory
    Jan 3, 2021 at 0:46
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    Its also may not even be a lie if you get interviewed 10 days after applying. By then you may have 3 years. Then you can say you assumed years experience referred to years experience prior to starting the position, unless it is extremely clear that that interpretation is incorrect. Jan 4, 2021 at 6:01
  • @TooTea Another explanation is that someone advertising the role asks the hiring manager what's needed and they say "3-5 years experience". That then gets put in the system without either person knowing or checking that some 3rd party software is going to enforce that as a hard requirement. Jan 5, 2021 at 11:34

Say that you have three years. By the time that a human looks at your resume, that will be true. If somebody checking your resume decides that that was dishonest, then they'll just discard your resume and move on.


Am certain that if you count the weekends, you'd clear the bar with sufficient wiggle room.

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    is this merely your opinion or you can back it up somehow?
    – gnat
    Jan 5, 2021 at 9:37

In reality, most companies who have these sorts of requirements use them as "soft requirements"; they say 3 years experience but really they mean like 1 1/2 years of good, meaningful experience, enough to show that you know what you're doing; some people take 3 years to get this, others 2, others 20 months, others who get really good experience can get the equivalent in less than 1 1/2 years. So really it doesn't matter, to most companies.

However, it seems to this company, when they say "3 years" they really mean "3 years" and have coded their careers page to validate that. What that says to me is that it doesn't matter how skilled a developer is; if you worked for 2 years at Google, you're not good enough, whereas if you worked 10 years at a bunch of failed startups then you are good enough. This tells me this company probably has a lot of really bad developers on staff. This also says to me that this company cares more about a lot of random esoterica and red tape nuisance stuff and not about actually building the best product: as I said, if you spent 2 years at Google, that means you're probably a really good developer; you had the skill to get into Google, and then also the skill to keep up with that company, and also the opportunity to learn from people of that skill level, but this company won't even talk to you because of some random arbitrary crap.

If this were me, I'd just give up on this company. Don't apply there, now or in future. They're not a good environment for you (or any other developer).

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