What does this mean?

Hi, this is what Einstein said when he went to see a professor to ask for a recommendation letter. In this term, he's saying "for a formality," and as a non-native English speaker, I don't seem to fully understand. Can anybody help? "I was given the impression that the job was mine but for a... show more Hi, this is what Einstein said when he went to see a professor to ask for a recommendation letter. In this term, he's saying "for a formality," and as a non-native English speaker, I don't seem to fully understand. Can anybody help?

"I was given the impression that the job was mine but for a formality. I've made many inquiries in search of answers, but I've been met with silence."

What does it mean, specially when it comes to the term for a formality? Thank you in advance!
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