Q&A 1: Should I accept an offer even if I feel I’m not qualified for the job?



not qualified for the job

A few days ago, I came across a young person who was feeling that they were not qualified for a job despite it being offered to them after their interview. I decided to do a podcast episode on this topic, but, sometimes when I record an episode I think of a lot of great points I should have included but didn’t! I’ve decided to write an article adding these additional thoughts for clarification.

The full question I answered in the episode was:

Should I accept a job offer that I feel like I am not qualified for?

So a bit of a back story,

I am a recent graduate and over the years I have been using many different technologies for learning purposes. However, I always forget some of them when I am trying to learn new stuff.

Recently, I have been working a lot on React JS (Most of them with code-along videos on YouTube and Udemy) and I have been doing great, but feel like it is not enough. I always have to Google solutions and sometimes I even take a long time to do just simple tasks.

Anyways, I started to apply for jobs on React and I applied for almost over 80 jobs which require React. Keep in mind, that I have been using the technology for not even a year. I somehow got interviewed for a React job. It was not a junior dev job. The salary is quite high and they expect somebody who has some React experience. I did tell them that I have only less than a year of experience in React JS, but they somehow liked me and told me that apparently I am one of the best applicants they interviewed.

Days later, I got the offer. But I am not really confident about my capabilities and knowledge. I am not even sure if it is just because I am not confident enough or if it is just that I am unqualified. I also have anxiety that I would mess up and not meet deadlines and not even be able to learn it well enough to do the job for them.

Should I go forward with the job? Or should I just go an learn and wing it trying to learn new things?

If you’ve been in the IT or software field for a long time I bet you can both feel the pain this person has as well as see a clear path forward for them. However, when we’re starting out in our careers it is not always clear what we should do, so here are my thoughts.

If you haven’t listened to the episode, you really should. I won’t repeat the answers here, instead I’ll add additional details to the answer. So, let’s get into it.

Googling Doesn’t Make you Less Qualified for the Job

The job requisition may say “X years of experience in ReactJS” but as a developer your job is to solve problems. What the company is looking for is someone who can help them build a killer UI using ReactJS because it is part of their tech stack. It is possible that ReactJS will be replaced with some other technology in the future, but for now React is the skill they need.

Get comfortable with being stumped because your primary job is problem solving. You are going to be unsure what to do next with your application while you’re writing code. Inevitably, some function or algorithm is going to give you trouble. In these instances, you’ll have to consult the wisdom of the internet for a solution.

Be not afraid! Having to Google answers is something 100% of developers do. Anybody who says otherwise is lying or a freak of nature. We don’t have technologies and core libraries committed entirely to memory and we all make mistakes. Embrace the ability to research as a skill and keep moving forward.

You’re Skilled so You’re Qualified for the Job

I have never liked the requirement “must have X years of experience“. Why? Because using a tool or technology for a certain length of time does mean you’re good at using it! Not everybody has the same career path or level of ability. Some of the things I learned in 4 years may take some other people only 1 year to learn. This is especially true if they have good mentors or education that can accelerate their knowledge.

It is very possible that you’ve been very effective at learning ReactJS on your own in less than a year. I know that passing an interview panel is not a guarantee that you are good. But keep in mind that after assessing you they still think you did better than everyone else they interviewed! That’s worth something, so accept it and keep moving forward.

Always Be Truthful

I love that you were straight with the hiring team that your experience with react was less than one year. It is critical that you tell the truth to the hiring team and not misrepresent yourself in the interview.

When you lie in the interview, it will eventually be found out post-hire. This will probably make the manager and your new co-workers angry at you, stunting your ability to progress in your career and climb the ladder at that company. Promotions should be merit-based and are not a popularity contest. However, making everyone mad at you because you lied about your skills (either intentionally or by omission) is not going to set your career up for success!

So, Should you Accept the Job Offer?

As I said in the podcast, you should definitely accept the offer and move forward. The pay is stellar, the title is no longer entry level, and you have a group of new co-workers who like you and want to see you succeed.

Don’t listen to that voice inside tearing you down. Listen to this voice, the one telling you to accept the gift that fate has offered and go excel in your career!

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