Another reason is that a high volume of rejections is just another form of stepwise refinement. OP may not have realized it, but he probably got much better over time. It's a good idea to not personalize rejections. It's a better idea to use them as data in order to improve.
The idea is better served as to being tenacious and not giving up even after rejections. A lot of times we take rebuffs as negative validation not to keep going or to have it drag us down in depression.
Don't expect rejection but learn to cope and live with it.
Also--especially dangerous now that I'm reading some of these comments--learn not to be so high up in the clouds and deluded in thinking you're above reproach or criticism. You're not. Learn to cope with rejection so that you're not just getting carried away with manic dreams.
Life is learning the balance.
Does that include getting downvotes on HN? ;)
Of course if that were true, and your resume was not embellished, you would not have gotten past the first screening.
This is probably done for liability protection: any really honest reasons for why you were rejected could be used as fodder for a lawsuit.
Of course, if you believe social science research, the reason is probably "You failed in the first five seconds to connect with your interviewer, he rejected you then, and he eventually found a reason to hang his hat on."
Next thing you know I'm sitting there in the conference room with a crying girl, and I'm not talking a silent tear crying, I'm talking full-out wailing in a way that the secretary from another company 2 doors down (!) came to check up on us, to see what was going on. So I come out like a bumbling idiot trying to make up an excuse for what was going on to that secretary, trying to calm down the girl I was interviewing, and she probably still went back home telling everybody what a heartless bastard I was.
So now even when people ask I'm very careful to phrase any feedback in the most general terms. It sucks for those who could handle the honest feedback, and I hope that others that I will interview with in the future are braver than I am, but this 'giving honest feedback' hasn't worked out for me.
Getting _real_ feedback on anything you're doing is probably one of the most valuable inputs you can get. Depending on the context, such as applying for jobs, it can be really hard to get. At my last company I gave a few applicants real feedback on their resumes _if_ they asked for it (very few do). As much as you want to tell a person who doesn't work for you but can still sue you how they can improve, it can be hard to justify the risk.
Any advice? I'm young, 22, about to graduate in May. Should I just try to take risks while I'm young and work for myself, or keep trying until I finally get through an interview process for a place that I like? Part of me wants to keep trying until I finally get accepted somewhere, but another part of me thinks that it won't happen and I should just try to prove myself on my own.
Sometimes if you ask nicely, the recruiter can tell you what you were missing. It's great that you're putting in a lot of effort, what you're missing is the feedback.
> Any advice? I'm young, 22, about to graduate in May.
Find a mentor? Find people who walked down any of the paths you're considering, and ask them what it was like. It's easier said than done, but it may prove valuable.
Contrary to most people here, I'd caution against "working for yourself". If you work for yourself, only a small portion of what you do will be programming. In addition, you won't learn about programming on a team (as opposed to coding by yourself). That said, if your goal is to run your own company, go for it; if your goal is just to write code in an environment you love, starting a company (itself rewarding and something I want to do at one point in my life) is neither the only, nor the best way of getting there.
Here's my suggestion: interview at a bunch of places, receive offers, "save the best for last" (don't interview for your dream job first). You may not get an offer for the perfect job, but you're also coming straight from college so the bar is considerably higher, in that you don't have a resume.
Technical interviewing is a very imperfect art, it's just (much) better than the conventional approach of hiring warm bodies based on traditional metrics (the name of the school they went to, etc...). There often isn't a great correlation between one's interview score and one's performance on the job, so once you have people who've worked with you and who can vouch for you, along with examples of your work, you're much less likely to be passed over because you didn't do well enough on a single whiteboard coding exercise.
Out of the offers you do receive, pick the one where the people who've interviewed you seemed the smartest and most passionate: interested in same things as you are, willing to mentor you. Disregard everything else.
Once you're working, don't settle. Don't give up on your asoirations, code OCaml in your evenings, keep up with computer science, hack on open source projects. In a year, try the companies you'd want to work at again.
Also, consider what you've learned doing programming problems Jane Street: quite honestly, I am envious of having an excuse like that to solve interesting puzzles in a language I love. That should give you a boost interviewing at other places.
By the way, have you looked at: http://cufp.org/jobs ? There seem to be several OCaml offerings there.
Maybe one big problem with interviewing at a bunch of places is that I'm most proficient with Python and not Java. I learned to use it as my primary language because a very intelligent friend of mine was using it all the time, and he worked at Google. Although, the most technical interviews I've ever had were with Amazon where they let you use whatever language you want to come up with algorithms to answer their questions. It seems there aren't many companies that use Python.
Anyhow, I'll definitely apply around to a bunch of places even if I don't find them entirely appealing. They can't be much worse than what I've already endured through my internships, and I've learned to make the best of my time at my jobs by now anyway. I was thinking of doing the Y Combinator Common App today, so maybe I'll do that.
And you're right, it was loads of fun having an actual reason to solve some problems in OCaml. Actually, I'm not so passionate about the language, I just thought it was really cool that they were looking for sysadmins who also knew about functional programming. But I will check out that link anyway.
I finally quit this past May and joined a former co-worker on his new startup, so it all worked out in the end.
And like you, I'm now at a startup, that I love (heh, most of the time), where I've been for the past 11 months. It's all about timing, I guess.
In reality it's because you don't check a checkbox, and the value for you is to: a) develop resilience to rejection (always great) and b) ascertain what you didn't articulate that meant that you didn't check the appropriate checkbox. Finding out how is quite hard, but insanely valuable. (eg: we once got rejected by an investor for reasons of our market being perceived as too small, after hearing this it was obvious there was confusion in our story, we iterated on our story a few times and that concern was removed)
The kind of rejection that'll make you give up is when users reject your product, I'm blown away this isn't discussed ever here.
"It takes brass balls to sell real estate."
Then he turns around and he is holding brass balls. A-B-C is the best pitch ever in a movie, after greed is good of course.
If you want a great example of how to deal with rejection, come to Haight Ashbury and watch the homeless people ask for change. Sometimes if they have a good enough pitch, I'll give them a dollar. There was one guy giving "bad advice" and he told me to give him my credit card and to have unprotected sex with an intravenous drug user.
I gave him a dollar.
And jokes aside...it works!
"Simple enough, right? A brush-off. No biggie. But as I turned away and slumped back across the room toward our table, I felt like the outcast kid in the lunchroom who trips and dumps his tray on the linoleum in front of the whole school. Rejection sucked.
"Rejection is a staple for guys," said Curtis, laughing as I crumpled into my seat with a humiliated sigh. "Get used to it."
That was my first lesson in male courtship ritual. You had to take your knocks and knock again. It was that or wait for some pitying act of God that would never come. This wasn't some magic island in a beer commercial where all the ladies would light up for me if only I drank the right brew.
"Try again, man," Curtis urged. "C'mon. Don't give up so easily." "
She hadn't realized the sheer amount of rejection most men experience on a day-to-day basis in interacting with women. I suspect most women don't; I also suspect that most men don't understand how many implicit or explicit sexual offers many women get every day, and how that can become wearying too. In dealing with what I'd call the facts of dating life, Vincent says this:
"How do you handle all this fucking rejection?" I asked Curtis when we sat back down for a postmortem.
"Let me tell you a story," he said. "When I was in college,
there was this guy Dean, who got laid all the time. I mean this guy had different women coming out of his room every weekend and most weeknights, and he wasn't particularly good looking. He was fat and kind of a slob. Nice guy, though, but nothing special. I couldn't figure out how he did it, so one time I just asked him. 'How do you get so many girls to go out "with you?' He was a man of few words, kind of Coolidge-esque, if you know what I mean. So all he said was: 'I get rejected ninety percent of the time. But it's that ten percent.'"
And this isn't true only of dating life, but of startup life and many other fields (including my own: writing). I actually teach a chapter of Self-Made Man to my freshmen (I'm a grad student in English at the U of Arizona), and part of the reason I do it is for what she says about rejection (and about empathy).
Most of the comparisons between men and women in startups, ability, and so forth are, I think, complete bullshit. But I do wonder if men don't have an advantage in persistence because of early dating experiences, where if they're to have any success whatsoever they must learn to accept and cope with rejection. This isn't because men are somehow born to be more persistent, but I think that, by the time they've been through at least a couple of relationships in which they have to be the ones who make the first move, they begin to get the idea that a) rejection is okay and b) they need a thick skin.
(See the Amazon link to Self-Made Man if you're curious: http://www.amazon.com/Self-Made-Man-Womans-Year-Disguised/dp... . If you want the chapter I teach to my freshmen, from which the above quotes are drawn, send me an e-mail -- seligerj [at] gmail [....dot...] com)
I think this supports two of the most important qualities of a entrepreneur..resilience and persistence.
You gotta get back up when you get knocked down and you gotta keep going after you get up.
Say you are a programmer, how any opportunities do you have to get rejected 100 times
Also, just FYI, there's a typo in the title:
"If you’re aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough."
Just something to keep in mind.
If anyone wants to try it, it's here: http://rejectiontherapy.com
It's not finished, it's very stripped down, but it works.
It works too, which is even better (though I failed to get a rejection yesterday). Once I've thoroughly tested it, I'm going to introduce it to my employees.