Can I reapply after being rejected?

by Alison Green on May 2, 2009

A reader writes:

I don’t know if this is a scenario that happens very often, but I had what I believed to be a successful initial phone interview with a company in a similar field. The HR manager I interviewed with had been very enthusiastic about continuing the interview process. I felt confident that I had all the qualifications and skills needed for the job, and was waiting for news on an interview with the hiring manager, but two weeks later, I received a fairly formulaic “thanks, but no thanks” email.

I assumed they had found someone else for the position, but to my surprise a month later, the same job has been re-posted. Should I contact the HR manager again, and what should I say? I don’t want to be a pest but I don’t want to give up on this opportunity either. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

I think you should give it a shot. There’s no harm in contacting them and saying that you noticed the job has been reposted and that you’d like to reiterate your interest in it.

They may have reposted it because their chosen candidate didn’t work out for some reason, or because they ended up dissatisfied with all of their finalists. Of course, it’s also possible that they rejected you earlier for reasons that still stand — that the match isn’t right in some way. But you won’t know unless you try, and in some situations they may be glad for the opportunity to consider you again (for instance, if they’ve reconfigured their ideas about what they’re looking for, or if you were earlier a runner-up to someone else who ultimately didn’t work out).

I wrote a few weeks ago about the usual futility of appealing a job rejection, but this is a bit different. You’re not writing back right after your rejection and asking them to reconsider; you’re saying you noticed that the job has reappeared and are wondering if circumstances might have changed.

Good luck!

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{ 6 comments }

Kerry May 2, 2009 at 1:09 pm

I agree. I have filled jobs this way, and it can’t hurt to try.

Often, the recruiter is glad to hear that you’re still interested…they just didn’t call you because it’s awkward to call someone you’ve already rejected.

Good luck

Lewis, AKA Seattle Interview Coach May 2, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Excellent tip! It doesn’t hurt to try and see if they’ve changed their mind.

The HR Store May 4, 2009 at 7:14 am

Great post!

Worth giving it a shot. Maybe the recruiter’s applicant tracking system is archaic and your name didnt reappear in recent searches. It’s bad, but possible.

Also, dont forget to add a line about why you still feel your skillset match the job profile.

Rick Saia May 4, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Nice post and excellent advice! Always assume you’re in the running unless told otherwise. If they hold your persistence and interest against you, it’s their loss.

Anonymous May 15, 2009 at 9:11 pm

DEFINITELY re-apply. I landed a job myself after losing out the first time. See….they hired someone they felt obligated to hire, but who was not a good fit. She was fired 5 months later for stealing.

They should have hired me in the first place. lol

As was already said, you have no way of knowing how close you were to being chosen (or rejected) the first time. If they call you for an interview, you were probably 2nd or 3rd on the first go-round.

curiouscat May 24, 2009 at 10:58 pm

We hired someone for another opening (for the same position) at a later time. They have been great and been with us awhile now. So while I imagine often, if you were turned down you would not be reconsidered it is worth a shot. We just made a mistake on our first decision. It happens.

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