reapplying for a job you were rejected for

by Ask a Manager on September 19, 2009

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.

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{ 13 comments }

Neil September 19, 2009 at 7:53 pm

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 September 19, 2009 at 8:02 pm

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 September 19, 2009 at 9:17 pm

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 September 19, 2009 at 9:53 pm

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!

R. August 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

Something similar happend to me. A month ago I applied for a position that would have been perfect for what I am trying to get into. I believe that my experience and skills line up perfectly for the position. A few weeks after applying for the job, I was contacted for a phone interview and then a few weeks later, a job interview. I did not do well on the interview because they asked some superficial questions that made me wonder how to show case my skills and prove that I am able to do this job.

I read the article you wrote about 10 Mistakes Job Interviewers Make. In this interview, I spotted the following points you mentioned:

· Not being clear on what’s really needed to excel on the job

· Asking wrong questions.

· Not probing deeply enough.

· Not simulating job activities.

· Not being candid.

· Treating the interview like a one-way street.

A few weeks later, I received the “thanks, but no thanks letter.” I walked away from it thinking that they may not have hired the right person they needed for the job, but I am sure that with those questions, they hired a person they liked.

To make a long story short, the job is back on the market with a different contact person. I really want this job. It is ideal because it is literally a 4-minute drive from my house. I want to re-apply, but how should I handle it?

Ask a Manager August 15, 2012 at 10:56 am

Same advice as above!

R. August 15, 2012 at 11:22 am

This is what I am going to write in my new cover letter:

I was a candidate and interviewed for this position last month but did not perform well in the interview because I was waiting for questions that were never asked. I noticed that the position for “Title of Job” has been re-posted on “website” and wondered if it is a weakness in the interview process and not necessarily a reflection of me as a viable candidate. If so, I would like to reiterate my strong interest to be considered for this position.

Too critical?

Ask a Manager August 15, 2012 at 11:25 am

Whoa. Yes, way too critical. Like insanely so. Don’t criticize their hiring process at all. Just say you hope to be reconsidered.

R. August 15, 2012 at 11:29 am

Thank you!

Surya September 20, 2009 at 6:51 am

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.

Bobby February 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm

I would like to share an experience in year 2010 when I went through the process of applying for a job. I know that I am highly qualified, and initially there was an online test which included math reasoning skills and other personality tests on which I scored a hundred percent. Then I appeared for the formal interview, but I had to take another employment test on which I only missed one question. The interviewers were nice, put me at ease, and I answered all questions confidently. I had over 6 years of experience in my position of interest. The next day I was asked to take a drug test, and it is my understanding that the company does not spend money on drug test unless they are interested in hiring you. So I thought that was a positive sign. To my dismay, I waited for a few weeks for response, then a month, then 2 months. I tried to email the hiring manager, did not hear from her, then I checked to see if everything was ok with my drug test, and I was on the clear, everyone thought that it was weird that they have not gotton in touch with me. Then I found out through a reliable source that the Company hired someone less qualified than I was, and the person happened to be of the same race as the hiring manager. I do not belive in playing the race card, but in this instance, it is hard not to. Anyway, I am trying to decided whether I should reapply and how to approach this situation.

Hope to hear from you.

Bobby

Anonymous August 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I applied for a job for a customer service position. On my initial interview I was told that my skills does not meet the requirements set so I could not move forward the next step which is the exam, but to my surprise they actually told me that I could re-apply for the same position after 3 months. I am so confused and hurt, why do they ask me to re-apply for the same position if they really think I do not qualify?

altaf khan December 19, 2011 at 5:13 am

I been in accounts for a long time in healthcare area, I got a call from one of Insurance co say u are interest to join in our company I say yes, than I got interviwed but I have rejected says you are not completely fitted in Co, now same job appear online should I appled are not, kindly advice

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