why do companies post positions when they end up hiring internally?

by Ask a Manager on June 16, 2010

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A reader writes:

Another question along the lines of job rejections. I have been applying to jobs at the company for which I used to work (I left to stay home with kids). I still have great references from colleagues and managers; they pass my resume and cover along with recommendations if they know the hiring manager. While this gets me in for interviews, the jobs are invariably given to internal candidates. In the most recent case, the hiring manager called to tell me, was very apologetic, offered to help connect me for future postings, asked to keep my resume. I gained a great contact, but no offer. I emailed to thank her for calling me personally and said I would take her up on her offer.

That said, I wonder why companies post positions externally if they need to hire internally? Is it to save the time it would take to post externally if no appropriate internal candidate applies? I understand the need to give the job to someone already within the ranks, but it is really frustrating to go through the process, get one’s hopes up after a great interview, only to be told that they went with someone from inside. Can you provide any insight?

It’s true that sometimes a company plans to hire an internal candidate and is just going through the motions with others, often because their internal rules require that every job be posted, that a certain number of candidates be interviewed, etc.

But this is often not the case, and I’ve noticed that candidates — the external ones — tend to assume it’s true even when they don’t have reason to believe it is.

Often what happens is this: A job opens up. An internal candidate expresses interest. The employer welcomes their interest, but isn’t ready to anoint them and genuinely wants to consider other candidates as well. In this case, the internal candidate is one of many candidates on relatively even footing. They may get the job, or they may not. But in cases where they do, it can look like that was the plan all along, even when it wasn’t.

Other times, all the candidates aren’t on even footing. The internal candidate is the first choice — but the employer is truly open to finding someone better. It’s just that the bar is high, because the internal candidate will have a shorter learning curve and is a known quantity. That bar can be beat, but it’s a much higher jump than it would be without that candidate there.

In both these cases, the company isn’t acting with no regard for your time; they’re genuinely open to hiring you.

Now, there’s an argument to be made that companies should tell applicants when there’s a strong internal candidate, so that people can factor that into their expectations. I’ve done that in the past and never had anyone withdraw their application.

By the way, the obvious assumption is that internal candidates have a leg up because they know the people, the work, the culture, and this is true. But they may also be at a disadvantage, because the employer knows them so well that they know whatever weaknesses they bring. I’ve turned down internal candidates because of weaknesses that I knew about only through working with them, stuff that never would have come out in the interview process. Now, smart managers balance that knowledge against the knowledge that external candidates have hidden weaknesses too, ones that we just don’t know about yet, but you can’t ignore what you know.

Anyway, the point is this: Yes, sometimes companies go through the motions with external candidates, when they know all along that they’re likely to hire someone internal, and that’s rude and inconsiderate. But it’s often that’s not what’s happening; often they’re truly considering you. And remember, you can go through the process, have a great interview, get your hopes up, and lose out to an external candidate too — it’s just that when it’s an internal candidate, it’s easy to think, “Well, they must have known this all along.” But maybe they didn’t.

{ 57 comments }

Stacey June 16, 2010 at 8:52 pm

I had a really irritating experience recently when an HR person emailed me about coming in for an interview, and asked me when my availability was for the following Monday or Wednesday. I said that Monday sounded great and I was free to come in at their convenience. So I hadn't heard back by the end of the day (Friday) and sent a friendly email to check in. Nothing. I sent a curt email on Tuesday (my 3rd email back, by the way) asking if they would still like to conduct an interview and she FINALLY wrote back and said that the position had been filled internally but that they would "keep my information on file." So rude.

I don't normally like to burn bridges but in this case I wouldn't want to work for a company who treats people so carelessly anyway, so I wrote back and told her not to bother.

Rahman Ullah May 7, 2013 at 8:23 am

I just had a very similar response only elicited when I put a hint of pressure on the HR manager. Job posted on Friday and I recieved email saying “you will be considered”, and after updating them on my schedule for the week/follow up on Monday; “job has been filled”. I just let the person know I would be out of town and she was rude as well with a quick reply and no apology? Apparently being in HR is an excuse for those without human feeling to express their talents. Or the company just drops a bomb on HR and they are left twiddling their fingers.

Anonymous June 17, 2010 at 1:21 am

On the flip side, there are times that internal employees feel like they are given courtesy interviews when they know the managers want to go outside to hire. You may see the same internal people interviewed for the second, third, or fourth time for the same job.

cassie June 17, 2010 at 4:17 am

For our organization, positions must be open to the public. You can't just say "I want to hire this person", without posting the job announcement, reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, etc. Even when it's a highly technical position, they still have to solicit applicants.

On the other hand, I've seen some organizations (including our county) who has a list of job openings where anyone can apply, and then another list where only current employees can apply.

I think it's unfair for applicants who take the time and effort to apply and come in to interview, when the hiring managers already plan on hiring an internal candidate (who may not even be as qualified as other applicants). There must be a better way – though I don't know what.

I do have to say that I've been in 2 instances where I was already "chosen" for the position – one was because I was the assistant and when the person left, I was the heir apparent. In the other case, it was a new position, but one that was created essentially for me. But I feel that I was qualified for those positions (because of my familiarity with the work), unlike other situations I've seen where people at lower job titles are hired at higher titles with the understanding that they will "grow" into that position.

I'm not sure about the details regarding job openings/announcements, but some postings are open for a couple of months, while others are open only for a couple of weeks. I think in the cases with shorter application periods, they may already know who they are hiring and are just going through the procedure.

Vincent November 29, 2013 at 9:52 am

Cassie,
Sounds like you have a guilty conscience over your nepotistic company. Confessing :

“I think it’s unfair for applicants who take the time and effort to apply and come in to interview, when the hiring managers already plan on hiring an internal candidate (who may not even be as qualified as other applicants). There must be a better way – though I don’t know what.”

I suppose that is supposed to make the applicants more qualified than you, who didn’t get the job feel better? Get over it. There a teacher’s pets in every situation, you just happened to be the “little princess” who, not once ,but twice got the golden ticket handed to her. But now the nightmare of the Oompa-Loompas coming after you is too much for you to bear.haha

Anonymous June 17, 2010 at 12:38 pm

At my organization it is supposedly a requirement that all jobs be posted internally for five days at a minimum prior to beginning the interview process (jobs may be posted externally as well, if the hiring manager so chooses). The reason for this is to allow any employee who feels they are qualified for an open position to apply and be considered.

Of course, just because an employee applies does not guarantee that they are actually qualified or that they will be interviewed, but at least it gives the hiring manager an opportunity to review the potential internal applicants that s/he may not have been aware of.

What I have a problem with is when the hiring manager already has someone picked out for the position (employee, friend, colleague, whatever) and just goes through the motions of having the position posted to fulfill the policy requirements. The reason for the policy is to give all employees who are qualified the opportunity to apply and at least be considered for the position, when the decision has been made before the job is even posted it means they are just blindly following the letter of the law without regard to the spirit of why it exists.

Revanche June 18, 2010 at 2:30 am

I've been told I was up against an internal candidate and I appreciated the honesty. There was nothing I could do with the information and I put my best foot forward as I normally would have.

It was a bit intimidating but I still got the job.

It turns out that the internal candidate wasn't qualified at all, really, for the job description.

In the same job search, I was given a shot with an interview even though there were stronger internal candidates and the HM was honest with me when she turned me down as well. *shrug* Win some, lose some.

It's a frustrating process no matter who you're up against.

J.M. June 19, 2010 at 4:49 am

I work for a Fortune 500 company where there are cases that I would actually like to higher someone internally (shorter training period, etc.) from a different department, but am forbidden to "raid" that other department. Therefore, even though I have multiple applicants from within the company, I'm forced to look at external candidates.

This policy has led some of my staff to question why they are never successful when posting for an internal decision, even if they have my support.

I guess sometimes the external candidate may actually have the advantage.

ImpureScience June 28, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Actually, there are organizations (universities, for instance) that are required by law to post jobs externally regardless of their intentions.

Anonymous July 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Let's discuss this scenario. I was laid off over a year ago. With 30 years of progressive and additional college training to enhance my career. I have applied for the same position and even lower salary positions. Sent out to date, 2,324 resumes on job boards, newspapers, etc. Called the next day as a follow up on each position and have had 3 phone interviews, only by the recruiters representing the companies that they have an alliance with. And have had 3 owners/HR/Hiring Managers set up a time to have a phone interview. Also, not one, that's right not one instance where I was called into the companies office for a face to face interview. Have had resume re-tooled many times for all positions applied to. I could have walked my neighborhood that 2,324 times I sent in resumes, and sold a broken vacuum cleaner at a new cost price at those odds. Here are several questions for you folks to respond to:

1. Why are jobs posted so long on job boards and the companies webite, and never, ever get filled, or the internal candidate is selected, or a friend is selected from an employee within the company (On one of the few times on an phone interview with a staffing firm recruiter, at a certain point during the discussion, the recruiter slip and said that they had a friend that may not qualify for this same position, and in the end the friend got the job that was not qualified for, as I knew this person)?
2. After you have submitted your resume, when you call to follow up to be proactive, the recruiters act as if you are bothering them. Why would they do that? It goes against all the grain, that job posting websites say, to be persistent.
3. I am 50 years old, can that be a proven factor? This one is touchy with a lot of folks.
4. I have been to many staffing firms, consultant firms, etc. and asked what it is that I am not doing right, or what can I do to ensure much better results to get a position. All of them, say this or that is what you should do, so they are paid for their services, and the knowledge that they gave me after paying them has never worked.

*** I will stop with this, and no ask for anymore questions at this time, although I have more. Just read and join in on the topic(s)

Anonymous July 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Quite honestly. Just typical company political responses. It looks good to say you are considering external candidates, but in actuality most jobs are more comfortable with internal because there is less training and less expense. That's how business works – it's is ultimately about dollars and cents.

Anonymous October 10, 2010 at 4:11 am

Wal-Mart is the master of posting positions to external outlets with no intention of hiring externally.

DS October 24, 2011 at 10:33 am

I interviewed for a dream job at a state agency. I have a master’s degree in public policy and 3 years of related experience and the interview (which was 70 miles away, mind you) went really well. They made it sounds like they were going to check my references and let me know within a week but then made a comment about not having second round interviews- for some reason I couldn’t put my finger on, it sounded strange. They also made a few comments during the interview about how my experience would be perfect for “xyz department,” which I know is never a good sign during an interview.

Three weeks went by and nothing- then I got word that they filled the position. I found out that it was a recent college grad who had interned for them for a semester. Retrospectively, it’s obvious that they were just fulfilling a requirement by interviewing me, but I think it was treated really poorly- I took a day off work on very short notice (they wanted to interview me the next day and were “just so glad” that I was able to come in on short notice), drove over an hour, interviewed for a full hour and then completed a writing sample for another half an hour.

Sorry, I’m just bitter and frustrated. I wish companies wouldn’t do this, or would at least cut back the amount of time BS candidates would have to invest to fulfill their silly quotas.

PO March 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm

It’s happening in every field now, shame though, really so frustrated and disappointed, they just talk about equal opportunity, but in fact they lie. A person with no experience in xyz field, they hired her instead of me, who has 11 years experience. WHY? because she has a mum working there. OK fine, why bother others than, when you already had decided to hire an inexperienced person. It’s just ugly

Sharon (shazza) November 20, 2011 at 8:25 am

I would just like to say, I sympathise with those who go through this process only for it to be taken internally. I know that a job I was interviewed for recently of whom I actually was on their mailing list unknown to them. Within 1 hr of interviewing me I had a general email telling me this other person had taken the position, can you honestly tell me this wasnt the plan from the start. I find this is a typical Managers cover up.

Eric December 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm

That sort of happened to my sister once. She had a late afternoon interview for a job and received the rejection letter in the mail the next morning. I know the mail service isn’t THAT fast, so they obviously had made their decision before they even interviewed her.

Temp-to-Hire December 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm

How about we look at this topic from the other end of the spectrum? I can understand how someone may feel indifferent when a job is posted externally only to satisfy the outcome of hiring internally, however, let’s take a moment to empathize with the internal candidate(s) quandary…specifically in the case of a temporary employee working in a contract-to-hire position.

In some cases, a position will be posted externally although it is filled by a temporary employee. Sometimes the individual is brought in on a strictly temporary basis until a permanent employee is found for the position. On the other hand, many temps are brought in-house on a temp-to-hire basis. In the latter case, if a company so chooses to hire the temp (during or after the contract period), they may be required to follow a specific procedure before they can permanently hire the temp who’s already performing the job.

Imagine working for a company and wanting what you already seem to have; yet being aware of the fact that the job has been posted, resumes are being received, and interviews conducted. This type of scenario is as difficult to deal with, if not more, than that of the external candidate(s). Although one may be confident that they will get the job, interviewing external candidates could change the outcome if the right candidate were to come along. In case you haven’t guessed already, I am currently working a temp-to-hire position in the IT department of a global company.

Anonymous February 8, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I interviewed for a job that is required to relocate. They told me they only had 2 applicants they were interviewing and would let me know in 1 week if they would hire me. They even checked my references. Then the manager then emails me to say that they they have to check the other candidates references also and the applicant is an internal one. What erks me is that I put on hold school registration for my kids as I don’t know where we’ll end up……And generally school registration for Sept starts in Feb and all the good schools would be filled already by then….

Ask a Manager February 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Honestly, this doesn’t seem that egregious to me. You should never count on a job offer until you actually have it.

Anonymous2 March 1, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Hello,

Good news, it took about 4 weeks, but they offered me the position. Now I just have to wait for paperwork. Until I see the written offer I will assume nothing.
As for the delay, the manager told me that they had to interview all the internal applicants before they could off me the position. At first there was only one internal but they ended up checking the rest out first. There are also 2 temp employees that they had to interview I guess.
I guess I was the managers first choice afterall, even though I was an external applicant.

Denise June 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Congrats on the job. I think that in such circumstances, when you’re in that waiting limbo, you have to continue making sure all your bases are covered in case of any eventuality.

s February 23, 2012 at 1:39 am

hi , i too finished my 2 nd interview just today. till now they had told me there were only 2 candidates for this position,however the other guy withdrew his application because he would have to relocate., so i was over the moon . i too thought i had the nailed the job coz my both interviews went very well , but suddenly the agency lady calls me up and tells me that they are considering 2 internal applicants as well and doing interviews for them . so i would get an outcome only after they assess them. this is a joke….right? wasted my money, time, and energy for this. life is truly bitter…i badly wanted this…

Ask a Manager February 23, 2012 at 11:51 am

You didn’t waste your time, money, and energy for this. You interviewed for a job, and there are other candidates, which is normal. There’s no evidence that they’re not considering you as a real candidate along with the others.

PO March 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm

I wasted my money, time and energy as I’m pay as you earn employee, but you’ll not understand that, you just keep drinking you coffee. you’re a manager too, so you’re favoring them. I wish, you lose your job and lose your business or whatever, then noone will hire you, never endever, you might know then…….

Ask a Manager March 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Wow, that’s a really terrible thing to wish upon someone, and wholly inappropriate for this site … where the whole point is to help people like you.

Anonymous March 7, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I am an internal candidate for one of two posted positions. The other posted position was filled by an internal candidate who is part of the same Church group. In fact, this person successfully recommeded one of the members on the team and they are close friends. I was given an interview with a panel of four. One of the members of the panel will be interviewing her facebook friend. I am not aware that this has been disclosed or not. I don’t feel that I will have a fair shot at the job if one of interviewers is poart of making the hiring decision. What are your thoughts?

Liz in a library March 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

I don’t think you can assume that the interviewer will automatically choose her friend if the friend isn’t the most qualified candidate. I’ve had a friend apply for a job in my department before who was unsuccessful, and my boss had a very close friend apply for our most recent opening who didn’t even make the interview stage…

Anonymous March 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I was more concerned that the interviewer may not disclose that her best friend was the one being interviewed. It doens’t mean that the other three people on the interview panel won’t have input and recognize her qualifications for what they are (whether great or lacking). Thaks for your comment!

Anonymous March 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Thanks! Obviously, I am clearly not qualified to be a proof reader (smile)

Anonymous March 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

The next to last last sentence should read:

I don’t feel that I will have a fair shot at the job if the interviewer is trying to get her friend the job.

Is this fair?

Ask a Manager March 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Well, hiring often isn’t fair and personal connections can get people jobs. There’s not a lot that you can do about that, other than be so clearly the best candidate that the interviewer’s bias toward her friend won’t matter.

Anonymous March 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Thanks for the comment!

Joanna March 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm

I applied for a Licensed Social Worker position in early January. I received a call from the hiring manager to schedule an interview the following day. The interview went really well and she appeared very interested in my previous experience. I waited a few days before thanking her for her time, since my interview was on a Friday. I waited another two weeks before another follow up. She stated she was still interviewing, but she hopes to let me know something soon. I recently sent another email. It sounds like she things i am a strong candidate but someone else is stonger. Does it sound like the position is filled and she does not want to burn bridges with me? HELP

Ask a Manager March 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I think she’d tell you if the position was filled. That’s not considered burning bridges.

anonymous April 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Wal-mart talks a good talk when telling associates “we promote within” but in reality an associate with 10, 15, or 20 yrs service are told they’re not competent or competitive so management positions are going to college graduates with no experience.

Ter July 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Generally, HR people these days tend to be a bit cold and impersonal. They would not be this way if there were a shortage of people instead of a job shortage. They are very busy but they could be a bit less rude in that they do have people complete applications and interview with no intention to hire them. Filling out job applications and handing over personal information and references is very time consuming and they should not waste people’s time if they are just using them to cover their procedures.

Bob July 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Very true. The interview process in general is very upsetting whether you get a job or not.

Sofee September 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I am currently in a temp fill in position that I’ve been in for 9 months and am doing a good job. I have worked overtime, weekends and holidays and have always put my best foot forwards. It was my hope to be hired permanently. First I filled in for a microbiologist, then for someone out for surgury, then a lab analyst for an employee with health issues. The last position of lab analyst has opened up because the employee is not returning due to illness. Five months later I happened to see my “temp” position posted and I was never told about it. I approached the HR staff and she said to submit my resume, which I did. I guess I assumed that I would be hired because I’ve done such a good job. I don’t understand why they didn’t approach me and offer me the position before posting it. I have an interview tomorrow for the job that I have been successfully doing for 9 months. Of course, I hope they hire me permanently but I am anxious now since they didn’t inform me they were looking externally. I now have an apartment that I am 3 months into and I fear that they are not going to bring me on permanently and would not be able to understand why. Can you shed any light on what and why they may not have just offered me the position that, again, I am doing and doing well? Thanks for any input you may offer.

Kara February 12, 2013 at 5:02 am

Welcome to Permatemp Land!!!
I hope you get a perm position.
Employers just know it’s cheaper to mill people with highly technical skillsets out right now than to pay benefits.
If you have not already started doing so, network like crazy, kiss butt and document everything you do.
I made the mistake of focusing on what I had to do at my last permatemp job. The lady who schmoozed, slacked off and hardly knew how to use a computer (we were on an SAP project) got the job- not me.
I’ll never make that mistake again.

EX CSC VICTIM January 6, 2013 at 10:40 pm

I worked at CSC and every job had to be posted externally – supposedly a federal regulation. Never heard of that rule in 30 years. But we would have techs contracing in a position for 3 months to 2 years waiting for a req to be opened to come on FT. Every time I had to interview every internal/external resume I got from HR. Total waste of time and BS. I felt bad for all the canidates I had to interview when they had no chance in hell of getting the job. I resisted and complained loudly to my manager, the recruiter and HR. They didnt care. When I asked what the federal regulation number was so I could look it up…. I was told just do the interviews.

Mr. Unemployable February 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I feel the pain of all of the above posters. I’ve applied for 108 state/county/city gov jobs this year, and probably an equal amount of private ones (know number of public jobs applied for is 108 because the state HR website keeps list). I’ve applied to jobs way below my skill level to right at my skill level, and above. No offers yet.

I finally picked the brain of one of my interviewers, because I knew I wasn’t going to get that position so took the opportunity to learn as much as I could. She flat out told me I wasn’t being hired for other, similar positions (she wouldn’t comment on the job in question for liability reasons) because I was over-educated. I have a law degree. She said that when state HR managers see my degree, they instantly see me as an outsider, because they’ve never hired someone with a J.D. Sucks.

But here’s a hint she gave me which might help some people who posted above (and myself): she said it is common practice for people to “exaggerate” on their applications, and also to leave stuff out of an application. Just don’t ever straight out lie, she said. So maybe I will accidentally hit delete on my J.D.? LOL, deleting something that cost me over $100k, mind-blowing.

Jamie February 12, 2013 at 8:16 am

It sucks – and I don’t have a JD – but when I was on the market in 2008 I sent out over 100 resumes – it may have been much closer to 200 – all for jobs below the skill level from my last job.

I had the bright idea that applying for jobs at the level I got my last job I would be able to get in and then move up the way I had before.

Needless to say, I wasn’t yet an AAM reader – because my scathingly brilliant idea netted me exactly zero call backs. Zero – as in less than one.

So one day I was at a really crappy temp job with a LOT of downtime (mostly phones and door…no one called, no one came by. It was the only time I was ever criticized by a temp employer…but I’m sorry I don’t have plants, never have. Leave me a note asking me to water the plants each night I will water all of them – how the hell am I supposed to know some only get watered once a week and some you soak the dirt and some just damp. Honestly, is this information most people have? Leave me animals to care for and I’m fine – plants…less likely they will be alive when you get back. Detailed instructions, people.)

Sorry for the digression. Anyway, while there I was panicking because they had offered me to go “perm” and I was dreading it so much – it was just so not a good fit for me – but I didn’t have other options and I was leaning toward just accepting and being miserable…then I took a final stab and decided I would spend the day only applying to jobs that my old boss (awesome mentor) would hire me for. He thought the world of me so I figured I just needed to find a way to convey that value to strangers. No idea how, but I applied for 5 jobs at higher levels than I was at before – I had maybe 80% on average of requirements and the others I knew I could learn – but I was nervous…

5 resumes sent and within 48 hours or so I had 3 call-backs, 2 interviews (I canceled the 3rd interview after I’d accepted my position – it was further out.)

My really long and rambling point is that sometimes it’s caution doesn’t keep you safe – it keeps you immobile.

julie June 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Went for job in NHS hospital told very good at the interview, but given to candidate that was already acting up into the job as they has more experience , but I know she has not. Internal source tells me they intended to a point her all along, had offered her the job but Hr told them they had to externally advertise. So was fixed all along , a waste of time for every one.

Edel August 14, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I have been with my current employers for almost 14 years. I’ve had various positions and have always received great feedback from managers etc. However in my current role which I have been doing for 3 years my manager just doesn’t like me and has called me in to disiplinary meetings over really small things just to discredit me. HR seem to be aware of this and have even spoken to me off the record to say that I should fight back. Recently things have been fine and she seems to be making an effort to get along with me.
My question is, a new postion has arrisen within the company which would be a promotion if I was successful. I am qualified and have the relevant experience and the hiring manager even advised me how to lay out my cv before I submitted it. I have a feeling that I am in with a good chance, although their are external candidates also . I’m worried though the my current manager will try to ruin my chances if she finds out that I have applied – the hiring manager has advised me not to mention it to her just yet. Do you think my current manager could ruin my chances?

J August 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I just had this happen to me as well…including the placating response from the hiring manager (HR couldn’t be bothered to let me know the results of the interview). To be honest, I’m actually pretty angry about the whole situation. I feel that my time and resources have be waisted in order to “comply” with an internal policy. Sure employers might be willing to consider external applicants, but let’s be real, in a unionized environment an internal candidate almost always wins. For good or for bad. I just wish that employers and HR people would stop this ridiculousness. If you’re going to hire internally then tell all of your external applicants ahead of time. My time and resources are just as valuable as yours and I would rather meet with companies who truly want to hire the best candidate based on their skills rather than their current work affiliation.

Duranie September 4, 2013 at 8:20 am

I am at the other end of this scenario.

I was working as an Administrative Assistant “per diem” for a hospital office about 45 minutes from my home. I thought going in that I would not only help me get a foot in the door, but I could work my way to a permanent job from there. After 15 months, 40 job applications, over a dozen interviews, and nothing but rejections, I resigned from my job.

My position was one day a week, SHOULD have been 8 hours a day, but since I am the type of person who is diligent in my work ethic, most days I’d be done before lunchtime. This meant I was working half days, and really making no money after expenses. After so many job rejections for permanent positions, I started applying for temporary positions, and getting rejected for those too! Many supervisors told me that people with college degrees were being hired over skilled internal candidates. The HR department insists that this isn’t the case, that the supervisors for each department make the final decisions.

I’ve got letters of recommendation from 2 supervisors from the department I worked for, glowing reviews from everyone I worked with, and most of the managers I interviewed with said I’d be perfect for the jobs they were looking to fill. So why was I not chosen? When I brought up the question to the HR department during my exit interview, I heard the BS line “well, we are an Equal Opportunity Employer and need to consider everyone”. She eluded to the fact that those laws made it illegal to prefer internal candidates over external ones. I know better than that, those laws only ensure that people can’t be disqualified for a job due to their race, religion, sex, or disability. The laws have NOTHING to do with whether a company hires from within.

I have no intention on applying for jobs there again. It’s obvious to me that they have no interest in keeping qualified dedicated staff, they would rather have untested external applicants just because they have a piece of paper that says they went to college. BIG DEAL!!! College degrees have no equal to real world experience. No, I have no big degree to show an employer, just a medical secretarial diploma from a local high school course I took and a clerk typist diploma from a Job Corps.

So those who tell me that internal candidates have it made are WRONG!

Charmi September 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

Duranie I cannot begin to imagine your frustration at trying to secure a position in an environment which you obviously love. However, as with any job, including those in education (I’m a deputy headteacher), when interviewing for a position, shortlisting someone who has the necessary experience in the specific area we’re looking to fill, is inevitable. Appointing someone who has the academic knowledge AND the evidence of internship/training which they HAVE to do sometimes matches the needs more closely and results in them being offered the position. I’ve had the awful task of having to tell an internal applicant that although they worked in an our own education environment, the applicant who was appointed had academic knowledge as well as the experience from their various placements during their studies – brief, but valuable. My own position was achieved even though there was an internal applicant from the school at which I teach. In my case, because I had far more experience and could bring ideas from outside to assist in improvements. I hope that you will not give up on applying for the positions that you KNOW you would be good at, but I would also like to encourage you to consider studying courses which will not only provide a broader view of your medical field of interest, but which will also look great on your CV. Alongside your experience, you can’t go wrong. Good Luck!

JJR September 11, 2013 at 1:40 am

You forgot one thing, at least this happens in America. The Federal Government gives health care facilities grant money to hire American Healthcare workers, as many Nurses from the Pacific Rim(who work for half of what American nurses do) and other countries are getting in and taking jobs. Hospitals very much want that grant money…but they DO NOT want to pay nurses a real wage. So they do loads of fake interviews(there is a minimum number they must see), declare a “Lack of qualified applicants” and hire a foreign nurse, plus get the grant money.
I don’t know if other industries do it, but it happens every day in Health care
(11 year Trauma/Flight Nurse)

Mel September 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

It happens a lot in hospitals. They post the job because legally they have to but have no intention on hiring externally. I’ve applied for 2 positions in which I have ten years experience in but was not even called for an interview. Just an email that I wasn’t being considered for the position. When you apply they have two links, one for current employees and one for new. Tell me why that Is? Equal opportunity really? ?

Mel September 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Forgot to mention that I have a Bachelors degree as and certification but can’t even get an interview. I feel for you Duranie. I’m a medical secretary too and only work one day a week because my employer is a penny pincher. None the less outs impossible to get a job at a healthcare facility. It’s easier to Gerry hired at a private practice but no benefits or yearly raise

Mel September 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Forgot to mention that I have a Bachelors degree and certification but can’t even get an interview. I feel for you Duranie. I’m a medical secretary too and only work one day a week because my employer is a penny pincher. None the less its impossible to get a job at a healthcare facility. It’s easier to Get hired at a private practice but no benefits or yearly raise

tony danza October 25, 2013 at 9:42 am

Don’t believe it. They can be reshuffling to move in one of their relatives, a friend of a friend, etc.
Be cynical probe and sue, especially if they are a public company.

Ask a Manager October 25, 2013 at 9:46 am

Um, there’s nothing to sue over in that case. It’s not illegal to do what you described.

Me December 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

I have an interview coming up for a state job, and I have to travel 180 miles for it. Will this be a waste of time and should I cancel it?

Ask a Manager December 12, 2013 at 9:52 am

Why would it be a waste of time?

Me December 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Because I have read that they interview very many for these positions and most of the time they already know who they are hiring before the interviews. They mainly do it for numbers.

Ask a Manager December 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Sometimes. Certainly not always. Not even the majority of the time. It makes no sense to cancel an interview just because that COULD happen.

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