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Recently I applied for a position at really great software company, at specific team - let's call it Team A. I've had three good interviews, but I got rejected after submitting a coding assignment. Now I clearly see why is that - I chose to write a code in a language I wasn't comfortable with, and I only learned about the constructs I needed to use the evening before. My code obviously reflected this. (This is my second job ever, and my first time to do coding for a position, so, lesson learned!)

However, the team lead of the Team A said that he thought that I was overall a good candidate and that I should apply for a position at another team. So I did. I applied for position at Team B and sent some clean, polished code, did my best at interviews and - got a really nice offer! I'll be starting there this week.

But, I've learned that Team A and Team B sometimes work closely together. Obviously, I see the previous rejection as my personal failure and I don't know how should I approach this. Should I remind members of Team A when I meet them in person that I had interview with them? How should I respond if asked about that?

I really feel that Team B is where I belong and I know I'll do my best to be a good fit. I'd just really hate for them to think that they made a mistake when they hired me, since the other team thought I wasn't good enough.

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    Not sure what the actual question is, voting to close. "I see the previous rejection as my personal failure" - don't, you'll fail a awful lot more before you finish your career (we all do), don't take it personally. – The Wandering Dev Manager Oct 4 '16 at 18:53
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    You were not rejected by team A. They chose someone they felt was a better candidate. This is not a reflection on you or your abilities. If they had a problem with you chances are then they would have spiked your chances with team B. They did not and probably even helped bring you to the attention of the team lead. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 4 '16 at 20:17
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    If the member(s) of Team A who interviewed you remember you, they might mention it, but there is no reason for you to mention the subject. But the fact that I interviewed someone and recommended him for a job within my own department (and his career in the company has progressed very well), but I have absolutely no recollection of ever interviewing him, is a standing joke against me where I work - so the people in Team A are not guaranteed to remember you. You don't remember every frog that you kissed while looking for the prince! – alephzero Oct 4 '16 at 20:24
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    Thanks the manager of Team A for the referral to Team B and tell him how you used the second interview to write in a language you are familiar with and how you are utilized the opportunity he gave you. – Greg Oct 5 '16 at 2:23
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    the team lead of the Team A said that he thought that I was overall a good candidate and that I should apply for a position at another team. This isn't really a rejection, if it were he would not have said to apply somewhere else in the same company. – Captain Man Oct 5 '16 at 18:42
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Don't worry about it.

Manager A thought highly enough of you to recommend you apply for Team B.

You have nothing to apologize for regarding Team A. They only had one opening to fill and you may have come in a close second.

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    @Julie First of all, congratulations! Second, I want to emphasize what Dan said--the manager of team A thought highly enough of you to recommend you for a position with team B. You learned and polished your code a bit which I am sure attributed to you earning your spot on team B. Go in with confidence. – Jeff.Clark Oct 4 '16 at 20:38
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    You seem to have the job both teams think you should have. So why would there be a problem? – David Schwartz Oct 4 '16 at 21:13
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Just take the position with Team B and be happy. Don't try to manage how people think of you because you literally have no way of knowing what they actually think. Be the best coder you can be and enjoy your new job.

There's nothing wrong with different roles. You just weren't suited to one but you clearly are for the other. That doesn't mean it's a failure. As you grow as a coder, there will be more evidence.

If you're really that concerned about how they view you, the best thing you can do is to show them how good you can be and that will shape their impression, not one interview that wasn't optimum.

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They specifically advised you to apply:

The team lead of the Team A said that he thought that I was overall a good candidate and that I should apply for a position at another team.

Likely they found a candidate that is a better fit for that particular position, but wanted to have you onboard. That is a good thing!

Should I remind members of Team A when I meet them in person that I had interview with them? How should I respond if asked about that?

They are unlikely to ever mention that - why would they? They may not even remember you among other interviewees. If someone does, confirm "yes, I interviewed for your team but got hired in team B". May as well add joke about it (use your judgement).

  • +1 because this answer explicitly states how to approach "known faces" from team A - as professionals who may have met profesionally before but are unlikely to remember the details, unless the OP was someone's first interviewee or otherwise the event of the year. – Jirka Hanika Oct 7 '16 at 7:06
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Recently I applied for a position at really great software company, at specific team - let's call it Team A. I've had three good interviews, but I got rejected after submitting a coding assignment. Now I clearly see why is that - I chose to write a code in a language I wasn't comfortable with, and I only learned about the constructs I needed to use the evening before. My code obviously reflected this. (This is my second job ever, and my first time to do coding for a position, so, lesson learned!)

First of all, when applying somewhere you should rather show what you are mastering at. You have more chances to fail than to impress them with that approach. See How to approach company for position for the second time? for further details on this problem.

However, the team lead of the Team A said that he thought that I was overall a good candidate and that I should apply for a position at another team. So I did. I applied for position at Team B and sent some clean, polished code, did my best at interviews and - got a really nice offer! I'll be starting there this week.

What I think you are doing is devaluating yourself. It is not because team A did not want to go further with your application that you are not a good element. Otherwise they would have not led you to apply for team B.

What I see here is that you might not have been a good fit for Team A but you seem to be a good fit for team B which explains why they hired you. Team A and team B might not have had the same standards and the same expectations in the candidate they were trying to recruit.

Should I remind members of Team A when I meet them in person that I had interview with them? How should I respond if asked about that?

I don't think that reminding team A about your application is something that is going to have added value. But if they talk to you about it, just answer that your profile and their job description did not match and that it is all for the best as you prefer working with team B.

I'd just really hate for them to think that they made a mistake when they hired me, since the other team thought I wasn't good enough.

Hey, congratulations you got a job ! Think positively about it. Don't underestimate yourself. Just give your best and it will all be fine. They did not make a mistake, they hired you on your skills and experience and won't judge you on the fact Team A dit not want you to work for them. And once again it is not because you failed but because your profile did not match their expectations.

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You are over thinking this. You should just go and hopefully in time prove that you would have been just as good a fit for team A. Seems like you've got the learning curve of adapting to this new language on lock, so a bit of exposure to the language itself and how it is used in the company and you will be golden.

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We are doing this all the time. We know that there are lots of very similar openings around the department in different teams, but we only have a few places to fill within the team. To not lose candidates for the company who came in a close second or third, we usually ask other teams whether they had any good candidates and suggest them ours if they didn't. We usually know that different teams have a slightly different need, so it's entire possible that the candidate who wasn't fit completely for ours would be the best choice in another.

After the interviews happen and the candidate gets here, to be honest while I usually remember the people who we interviewed I usually cannot recall their strong or weak points, and that's not something I care about. Just do a good job after you're hired, as that counts much more than your interview performance.

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Don't think of this as a bad thing - far from it, Team A thought you were good enough at what you do to recommend you to Team B in the first place, so they clearly saw some value in you, even if they didn't take you on personally. Being second or even third best still means you're pretty good, and being recommended in such a way, especially with a team they work with, means they do want to work with you, but have limited positions.

More importantly, consider that they might see you as better for Team B than Team A, regardless of your level of expertise - some people are better suited for certain tasks than others, or have more experience with one thing than another (This may have even showed in your interview, which may be what prompted the recommendation).

Take heart that you got the job that you did, and if you really feel like you need to brush up on your skills that Team A uses in order to work better with them in the future by all means do so, as it can only improve your performance in the company as a whole.

  • Yes - also it's about fit with the team. A good team has a balance of skills and experience. Maybe in team B, OP filled a space that in team A was already taken by an existing staff member. – A E Oct 6 '16 at 15:06
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I think that when the decision for A-team was being made, the tem leader fought for You and You were the silver-trophy. Golden boy got the job.

Maybe the choice was made regarding argument "But they are, obviously, new to that language, their code is not nice. The [golden boy] produced much nicer code."

I would read it as You have impressed the A-team leader and he wanted You on board. Maybe because you used different (neat) approach to the problem. That's why he recommeded you to apply for another position. Maybe he lost a word for you. Maybe he thinks that you would beat the golden boy, if you were both equally familiar with the language.

I cannot imagine why I should recommend some loser to apply for the team I am working with. Yes, there is one reason, I have personal challenge with that team and I wish them all the worst.

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