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Saturday, September 19, 2009

reapplying for a job you were rejected for

A reader writes:

I applied for a job that was posted internally in my company. I was called for an interview but did not do well (I misunderstood a couple of questions and did not provide sufficient details). I did not get the job and it appears neither did any other internal candidate. The company has posted the same job externally now. I am more prepared for the interview now and would like to apply again. Would I be considered by the hiring manager?

You can give it a shot; just be prepared for it not to go anywhere. An employer might consider a candidate who was previously rejected for the same job if: (a) what they're looking for has changed, and while you weren't the right match before, you might be now, or (b) they've discovered that what they're looking for doesn't exist, so they're being more flexible.

However, if you didn't perform well in the interview last time, and so it wasn't a question of experience/skills, that's probably a disqualifier for further consideration. However, people often think they didn't do well an interview when they actually did (because people tend to beat themselves up about why they didn't get a job), so unless they're the ones who told you that, I'd say that you should try again. You have nothing to lose, right?

This brings me to a point I've been wanting to make for a while: A lot of questions I get can be answered by "What do you have to lose?" Should you tell your former boss you're interested in returning, should you reapply for a job, should you apply for a job that is slightly over your experience level, and so forth. In all these cases, why not just try? What's the worst that will happen? You could get told no, which means you won't be any worse off than you are right now. (This point was also made by the Evil HR Lady recently.)

Really. Just give it a shot. Maybe they'll say no, but maybe they won't.


Neil said...

Interestingly, the "what have you got to lose" sentiment is probably a key motivating factor in the "why are job sites encouraging people to follow up with a call." As someone who thankfully just found employment after three months of inactivity, I would say less than 2% of the time I received any communication back at any stage that I was no longer being considered for the position I had applied to.

Surya said...

I would look at it like this : will I be worse off than before?

And pissing off the HR person is part of being worse off :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response. I did seek feedback on my interview and was told of not providing a clear response for some questions. I can easily resubmit my resume without making any reference to last interview but will that $%$# off HR? I do plan to apply for other positions at the same company. Thoughts?

Ask a Manager said...

Okay, yeah, if that's feedback that they gave you, I suspect that won't reconsider you for the same position. But you never know.

I'd definitely mention in your cover letter that you applied for the same position earlier, noticed that it was still open, and wonder if they'd consider you again, since your interest remains strong. Not mentioning it would seem strange -- like you didn't realize you'd already applied for the same job or were hoping they'd forgotten. Just politely mention it and ask if they might be open to giving you another look. Good luck!

Surya said...

Lovely suggestion AAM. That way the HR person can say an outright No, or refer the candidate for further interviews.

And anonymous, if you are working for a company that posts job listings internally, chances are that you work for a big organization like me ( heck, even in the same one ;-)

Even we in HR do not know about all our HR colleagues, and we would never have hard feelings about someone who applied for the same job again with a lovely cover letter as suggested by AAM. Trust me on this one.