A reader writes:
I volunteer for a company and they asked me to apply for a post which I would not have applied for in the first place. I applied and they gave it to someone else. Why set me up for such a fall?
I can see how it would feel like that, but they weren't trying to set you up. Being invited to apply for a position is exactly what it sounds like -- being invited to apply, not being anointed. Otherwise, they'd just offer you the job.
Companies do this when they think you might be a strong candidate, so if nothing else you should at least feel flattered that they thought highly enough of you to reach out. But the process that follows -- interviews, etc. -- is there so that they can dig more deeply and see if indeed the match would be the right one. During that process, they may find out that the match isn't as strong as they had hoped, or an even stronger candidate might emerge. That's just the nature of it, and you shouldn't take it personally or feel that they slighted you.
That said, this is why when companies invite someone to apply for a job, especially a volunteer or current employee, they need to be careful to make sure that the person clearly understands the situation and knows that they'll be considering other applicants as well.