I was interviewed by a startup founder for work as a front-end developer (ReactJs and firebase as backend), I was doing exactly what they would ask me to achieve on a weekly basis, I was paid 5€/hour and even though it may seem so little, my goal was to gain experience in front-end development and grow as an individual. This was my second job.

This week the founder asked to do video call and told me that he finds the project will grow to be more complex and will demand more skills in front-end development than the skills I have. So they will look for a senior developer, that it has nothing to do with me personally because I was always open for feedback and learning every time they would ask me to.

The reason I am asking about this: do you think I should have refused the offer because I was aware that I’m a junior and that things may get too advanced for my level or that it’s something they do in freelance to hire a junior and then move to senior as things level up?

  • 6
    If you want to avoid this in future, it's crucial to understand what happened before you started working there. To me it sounds like there was nothing you could have done in the job, because the main reason for firing you was that they had no idea what skills they need. So, could you add more details about the hiring process and precise your intended goal?
    – Chris
    Nov 14, 2021 at 9:18
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    Please keep doing more of these. The more you stretch and learn, the more likely that you will become the senior developer. I see this as simply as they tried to do it on the cheap and can't. They thought they could do it with a junior and found out that they couldn't. If they can keep you on and you can find out what the senior developer is doing, that would be great.
    – David R
    Nov 14, 2021 at 14:33
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    Is 5€/hour even a legal wage in your locale? Did you have an actual/official contract? Nov 14, 2021 at 20:25
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    "there was no contract since I was still being tested". That's bullshit. Never work without a contract. They could let you work for weeks/months for free, and then claim "hey, you aren't what we need, so thank you, bye.". Oh.. wait. That's what happened here... I would say you have been scammed.
    – jwsc
    Nov 15, 2021 at 6:58
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    @geekys "Contract" is a short term for "Let's write our agreement down, to make sure we are on the same page". You don't need huge multiple page contracts like the big corporations have, but you need something in writing which covers what the framework for your working relationship is: How many hours per week, which salary, contract or salaried, probation period, payment date...
    – jwsc
    Nov 15, 2021 at 10:25

2 Answers 2


The reason I am asking about this: do you think I should have refused the offer because I was aware that I’m a junior and that things may get too advanced for my level or that it’s something they do in freelance to hire a junior and then move to senior as things level up?

As long as you make it clear to them what your skills and experience are (and conversely, the limits of your experience), then you shouldn't refuse a job offer if they make you one.

From your CV and interview process, they should have a good idea of your technical abilities (assuming that you don't overestimate your own abilities, you're honest with them, and they're competent at interviewing). If you don't have enough skills or experience for what they need, then they should not make you a job offer.

It sounds like there are a few possibilities of what happened here:

  • You overestimated your own abilities, so unintentionally gave a misleading impression of them in your interview (and they failed to validate this).
  • You intentionally oversold your abilities to them (and they failed to validate this).
  • They overestimated their abilities or underestimated the complexity of the project.
  • Their requirements changed.

As long as you're happy that you're presenting an accurate and realistic assessment of your skills and experience to them, then you've done nothing wrong. Sometimes requirements change at short notice (especially in startups). Sometimes people are bad at hiring, or underestimate how complicated things can be.

It sucks, but that's just life sometimes. Hopefully you'll have better luck with your next role (whatever it is).

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    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question! I sent the founder my github account so he can see what I can achieve as a front-end developer and was really honest about what I am capable of, I tend to be someone who underestimates their skills because I believe I should constantly be improving
    – geekys
    Nov 14, 2021 at 17:21
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    In which case it sounds like you did everything that you could. Sometimes jobs just don't work out - so don't beat yourself up over it.
    – Gh0stFish
    Nov 14, 2021 at 17:52
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    Thank you so much for your support 🙏🏻
    – geekys
    Nov 14, 2021 at 18:01

Were you happy with the salary (I don't know your country and your age)? Did you learn things? If you answer "yes" to both questions, then you're fine personally.

You were absolutely correct to accept the job. It seems nobody said you were not worth your money, just that they think they need someone more experienced.

It's not how things usually happen. Normally one would hire junior developers to help an experienced developer. There is work that a junior developer can do, and you'd rather let them do it (cheap) than let the experienced developer do it (expensive). Here it seems that the startup was inexperienced and didn't realise that you need at least one experienced developer. You can't develop a product with only junior developers (unless you get someone by luck who is extraordinarily smart).

  • I live in north Africa, thank you for answering my question 🙏🏻
    – geekys
    Nov 15, 2021 at 15:59

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