what does it mean when a job opening is reposted with a new deadline?

A reader writes:

About a week ago, I applied to a job right before the application deadline of January 31st. I was back on a job posting site and saw that the position was just reposted today with a new deadline of February 20th. I was wondering if you have an idea of what this means? My immediate thought is they felt their current applicant field was weak and thought it was worth trying again to get a better pool to pick from. I was wondering if this means I should definitely give up hope, or if it’s worth sending them a little note. I’m not all that sure what I’d even say but the thought of hoping in vain until the 20th is just quite…sad.

I know there’s no such thing as a dream job but I’ve never read a job description that has gotten me so excited.

It might mean that they weren’t satisfied with the applicant pool they got in the first go-round and decided to try again, but there are all kinds of other things it could mean too: They might have changed the deadline because a decision-maker or interviewer is going to be unavailable until then, so they figure they might as well keep accepting applications until then. They might have initially had an early deadline because they thought they needed to move very quickly but then discovered that they have more breathing room, so they changed the date to reflect that. They might have simply put in the wrong deadline the first time. Or, both of these dates might mean nothing at all, and the jobs site where you saw it posted simply requires that all jobs have deadlines attached — which prompts employers to make up arbitrary dates to comply with the system. Or it could be something else altogether.

There’s never any way to know this kind of thing from the outside, and trying to interpret it is a recipe for driving yourself crazy. People in your shoes tend to like to know what all this stuff might mean because it’s a way of feeling more in control of a process that, unfortunately, at this stage you don’t really have any control over. All you can control is the application you submit and whether your resume and cover letter are both awesome and tailored to the opening. Beyond that … it’s a crap shoot. You could be the perfect candidate for the job and get overlooked because someone incompetent is in charge of hiring, or because they hire an internal candidate or someone’s nephew, or because the job gets restructured halfway through the process, or because the system somehow lost your application (rare, but it can happen).

That’s one of the reasons why it’s smart not to get too invested in any particular job opening. There are just way too many factors that you don’t know about and can’t control, and it’s far better for your mental health to send in the application and then wipe it from your mind and move on.

You asked about sending a follow-up note. You certainly could send an email reiterating your interest and your hope that they’ll contact you when they’re ready to begin scheduling interviews, but only if you promise me that you’ll mentally move on as soon as you do. Otherwise, you’ll be fixating on this job — a job that you don’t actually know if you’d enjoy (because the environment could be toxic or the boss a monster or the work quite different than described or the salary half of what you make now) — and fixating on such things is Not Allowed, not if you want to stay sane.

Good luck!

{ 43 comments… read them below }

  1. mimimi

    Excellent advice right here. Difficult to do, the letting go, but if you can do it it makes the whole process so much easier.

  2. Chloe

    This made me chuckle, I’ve got an image now of a mass of people writing to AAM asking for permission to email or phone about job applications: “Please Miss, may I send an email?”. “Have you sent one already?” “Yes.” *Thundering voice from on high* “NO! Move ON! Next please.”

  3. jesicka309

    This happened for a job I went for: it was at my Dad’s office. I’d pplied for it, didn’t get an interview. A month later, it was reposted. I ended up asking dad what was going on, and he said that they’d hired someone, they’d taken the job, and quit two weeks in. Instead of going back to their existing applicant pool, they reposted again.
    I didn’t bother applying again. My dad has actually decided to change recruiter companies because he found out they weren’t sending rejection emails (via me!). He didn’t like the way it made his company look.
    It doesn’t make sense to do this though. Some companies say ‘they’ll keep you on file’, but then never even sift through their existing applications. And someone who genuinuely keen about the company (like me) won’t bother resubmitting over and over again.

  4. Threeohfive

    As a person who posts job openings, I can tell you that sometimes we have multiples of the same position that may become available (usually unexpectedly) within a short time frame. The position you see posted may be filled, only to be re-posted because another person in the same position is no longer with the company, got transferred, etc. In any case, I wouldn’t read too much in to it.

  5. A reader

    Original poster here. I’m famous! Thank you so much for your great advice. I think I’m going to print it out and stick it on my desk to maintain my sanity. It will be a nice way to soothe my ego in the face of rejection. Thought my resume was awesome — incompetent hiring manager. Nailed the interview — CEO’s sister in law applied for same post :) I was busy sifting through job postings trying to move on when I saw it posted again, and I guess I got a little jealous. Job hunting can be like dating sometimes. It’s good to know that in some cases, it really isn’t me, it’s the job. Of course that doesn’t mean that my application is always perfect but I’m sure you see what I’m trying to say. Anyway, I really appreciate all your responses and no longer feel the need to write a note. If I do though, I promise to stop pining and will move on to the next one!

  6. Luis Zach

    My boss asked me to help him hire for a position we will be offering in the spring and one of the job sites we use has some type of software system that makes the job “expire” after 45 days. So if we don’t fill the position in 45 days, and we’re just hitting our busy season so we likely won’t, I will have to refresh the posting and change the deadline for our applicants.

    We’re also recruiting through a local MBA program and they “expire the postings” at the end of the school term. So if we don’t fill it, well you guessed it, we have to post it again for the “summer term” (a slight misnomer, it starts in early May) with a new deadline 90 days out. No one can say 100% for sure if this applies to your job but it’s something to keep in mind.

  7. Anon

    I recently applied for a position doing something that my education and experience make me very well suited for. I have my best references and strongest experiences from a similar job situation. Plus, my professional degree is aligned to the position.

    Initially, the deadline was 2 weeks and I applied one day after it was listed. Then, I saw that the deadline was extended another six weeks. Having been job searching for a while and reading the great comments here, I didn’t take it personally and figured that something must be up. I have a very strong application for this position.

    When I looked at the company site I could see that the people who would be the direct supervisors have less education than I do, and a different and more auxilliary level professional degree (without giving away any details). Then – I really didn’t take it personally and figured that human nature might be at work. It’s ok to not be a perfect fit everywhere, and while I believe I am a great applicant it’s important to realize that not everyone wants what we have – for whatever reason. When I do find that right spot – it will be good for me as well as for the people who hire me. No hard feelings on any side.

  8. Kara

    With companies that I’ve worked for its usually a budget issue that causes this. They don’y have an approval, but establish a pool of candidates.
    There’s a committee for a committee, endless meetings about synergies and very little is getting done. It may be a year until they get an actual hire, but not until they have tried a few highly skilled temps out. Those people will have the inside track, although they will have to contend with you for the job posting that never seems to end.
    If you see a company that is always hiring, though- RUN, run run away, unless you live in an area where the unemployment rate is low.

    1. Jamie

      If you see a company that is always hiring, though- RUN, run run away, unless you live in an area where the unemployment rate is low.

      Before I would see this as a red flag I would look to see if they are in the process of expanding. Sometimes significant expansion can lead to year + hiring for various positions.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      “If you see a company that is always hiring, though- RUN, run run away, unless you live in an area where the unemployment rate is low.”

      It depends. Some companies are always willing to make a hire if they find the exactly right person for a hard-to-fill position. I’ve had always-open positions like that, where I was always talking to people and would hire if the person was right, because the position was so difficult to fill that we didn’t want to miss out on a great candidate just because the timing wasn’t right.

      1. VictoriaHR

        Also, with the glut of candidates right now, a lot of recruiters are looking for what we call “the purple squirrel,” i.e. that elusive candidate who’s sparklingly perfect for the position.

  9. Jamie

    Make sure you look to see if the posting has changed. Sometimes during the hiring process what they are looking has amendments or changes and so even though it’s the same title on the ad, it may be different enough to expand the candidate pool.

    Or it could be any of the other reasons given and more.

  10. Chocolate Teapot

    “I know there’s no such thing as a dream job but I’ve never read a job description that has gotten me so excited.”

    Hmm. I once had an interview for a position where the job description sounded terrific. At the actual interview something seemed really off, both about the company and the interviewer (who would also be the supervisor).

  11. Sharon

    Slightly on topic, I’ve always thought that internal candidates got an almost automatic interview, and maybe even slight preferential treatment. Now I think otherwise. I recently applied to a fantastic-sounding job in my own company, for another department. First I emailed the internal recruiter (from my work address) asking a couple questions about the posting (which was emailed with a list of openings to all the employees). No reply, so I figured my questions were inappropriate. A few days later, I updated my resume, drafted a nice cover letter and submitted it through our career website. No calls. Several days after I submitted, they sent another jobs update email, so I emailed a different question to a different HR lady (not a recruiter, just HR generalist) asking her if employees should apply just like an external candidate or if there was a different process. Again… no reply.

    It kind of reinforces my belief that HR people lock themselves away in an ivory castle somewhere and you’re not allowed to talk to them. I know there are HR people here, and I don’t mean to offend. But…. why are HR people SO cliquey!?

    1. Jamie

      That is the opposite of my experience with HR people. I’ve worked with some awesome HR’s and some that, well – were less than competent – but the one thing they all had in common was inclusiveness and being really chatty.

      They all reminded me in some way of the pep squad. I was on poms in high school and there was some cliquishness between poms and cheer (since my daughter cheered I’ve since revised my personal bias and no longer see them as the enemy) – but the pep squad? They were super duper friendly to everyone – whether you wanted them to be or not.

      I’ve always wondered if HR secretly recruits from the pep squad – because they love everyone and everything is super fun!

      Interesting to read a different take on this.

      1. Heather

        OK, this is totally OT, but what is the difference between poms and cheer? We just had cheerleaders with pompoms.

        1. Jamie

          Some schools had that – ours were separate. Cheerleaders cheers – with the yelling and clapping and stuff. Poms was like dance with poms – set to music (the 80’s gave us the Go-Gos – we had awesome medleys!) – and some gymnastics.

          Funny thing is I can’t dance, never could, but I can count – and you really only need to be able to move to an 8 count without falling or whapping yourself in the face. Took a while to master, but I was okay once I got those two things down…lol.

    2. Joey

      My experience is that internals typically don’t get preferential treatment merely because they’re internal. The advantage comes when people know your reputation in the organization. But I’m curious, didn’t the job posting or website explain how to apply? And I’m wondering if your questions were more suited to the hiring manager. Typically recruiters and HRG’s have just basic knowledge of the job. Either way they should have gotten back to you.

      1. VictoriaHR

        Agreed. HR probably forwarded your questions on to the hiring manager, and it was up to him/her to reply. HR often isn’t even allowed to discuss open positions.

        1. Anonymous

          I never apply for jobs if in the description it says ‘A Strong Internal Candidate Has Been Identified and Has Applied for the Job.’ That reads shoo-in to me.

  12. Anonymous

    Honestly, deadlines are often meaningless. Even if we post a deadline, there isn’t really a deadline— the job is going to stay open until we find the right candidate. And, just because a job is reposted it doesn’t mean your application still isn’t being considered…. I renew ads on craigslist, etc. constantly to ensure the ad continues to be seen my new candidates in case people we are talking with fall through, etc…. so stop reading so much into every action that occurs with a job post; it is highly likely you are over-thinking it.

  13. Zahra

    There’s a posting in my city that’s been published for… 4 months! I had a phone screen back in November, touched base with them after their delay was expired, was told it would take couple more weeks, called back then, was told it was pushed back to after the holidays. At that point I got the name of the hiring manager, who is a part of my network, so I emailed him directly in early January to ask where their hiring process was headed. Didn’t get any news. Yesterday, I called the HR person (I don’t have her email) and asked her if I was still a candidate they were considering for the role or if I should forget about them. We’ll see if I get an answer. But, really, how hard is it to call back the potential candidates and tell them they’re out of the running, especially if they are following up with you and you have them on the phone or have an email you can reply to?

    1. Anonymous

      It’s not hard to do, but often human nature is to do as little as possible, especially if it doesn’t advance the core mission of your job. Even with automated response systems, it probably still feels to HR recruiters as if most of what they would be doing is responding to unsuccessful candidates. And that probably doesn’t feel “productive.”

      When you add to that the potential for awkward or really unpleasant communications/follow up from the applicant, it really makes it less attractive for hiring managers or others to talk to candidates.

      Case in point: some years ago, I was the chair of a search committee for an upper level staff position at a university. An alumna/us of the university applied and did NOT get an interview. Even though s/he was very well qualified, the cover letter was egregiously bad–rambling, slapped together, and an all-around shining example of poor judgment about written communication. Although I was familiar with the person’s otherwise impressive prefessional accomplishments and work ethic, the search committee could not see past the letter (collaborative hiring process at universities), and the candidate did not advance. Given that the person was a graduate, I made a personal phone call to break the news (as I did with all other alumni applicants who did not advance). I got my ear blasted off for the next 40 minutes (which I realize tends to confirm the committee’s decision), all of which certainly did not make me inclined to communicate with unsuccessful applicants in the future.

      1. QQ

        I cannot think of any circumstance in which I would want to have a phone conversation with somebody who was not offering me a job. You should let them know, but doing it by telephone just sets you up for an awkward conversation.

      2. B

        Why would you call them? That only gets an applicants hopes up. It then makes them feel quite awkward and unprepared for the reality of what you are saying. Being gracious is not at the top of immediate emotions. Emailing them is the way to go.

        1. Anonymous

          I hear you guys are saying, but at that particular institution, politically you handled alumni applicants personally and over the telephone.

          1. Anonymous

            I hear *what* you guys are saying. Too quick on the submit trigger. Also, the other alumni applicants who did not advance were perfectly appropriate with me and told me they appreciated the personal follow-up.

      1. Zahra

        I guess so, but positions in my domain are rare in my city, which partially explains my anxiety about whether or not I’m still being considered. They do have my email address from my resume (and I sent an email to the hiring manager, who is in my LinkedIn contacts. My LinkedIn profile also has my email address. The point is, it’s not hard to find my contact information.). They could very well send me their rejection by email, I wouldn’t mind. I just want to know.

        1. B

          Assume you were not chosen. If you had been they would have kept following up with you. And should they come back to you, you say wonderful I am still interested and not mention the rudeness you encountered. But honestly, you circumvented hr and went straight to a hiring manager. Not a good thing to do.

          Yesterday, I commented that I had been on a 2 1/2 hour round-robin interview. Sent a thank you note, along with a follow-up and did not hear a peep. You just have to let it go and realize companies are not into being respectful or nice of your time and energy.

        2. Wilton Businessman

          I’m not saying you’re out of the running, but if you were that strong of a candidate, you’d probably be working there already. That being said, some places are slow. They take their time, look at everybody for 6 months, and then decide.

          Keep searching. If something comes of it, great.

  14. VictoriaHR

    My company often uses a reposting software that automatically updates the job posting once a week, so that it goes to the top of search engines. For my position, I saw that he had reposted it on LinkedIn the very same day that he offered me the job. I said, “Oh … sorry, I saw the job posting today so I assumed I didn’t get it, that’s awesome!” and he replied that the software automatically reposts it. So especially if you see the same job posting every week in search engines, it’s probably being refreshed.

  15. anon-2

    It could be a number of reasons — as previously stated, they didn’t like the pool of candidates. In this day and age, there usually WOULD be at least one qualified candidate in a stack of resumes, but assuming that rarity actually took place is one possibility.

    Another is, as was said – the principals (not principles!) involved in the process weren’t available.

    Of course, another is — to “keep the req open” . I once worked in a place where we had an “open req” for four months. The salary gets into the manager’s budget. And he never fills the position. When told by HR that “we are pulling the req if you don’t fill it”, a candidate was hired – lasted 60 days and was released, and the req remained open. It’s a trick sometimes used.

    Last but not least – perhaps the company is just collecting resumes.

    Zahra’s comment – is interesting. If you’ve been through the interview cycle – a professional group would tell a candidate that he/she is still or not still in the running. As I’ve said, quite often, if your dream job was company ‘A’, and they’re dragging it out, and you have an offer from company ‘B’ — by all means, contact the hiring manager and explain your situation.

    Sometimes it results in company ‘A’ getting off their butts and making the offer you wanted. Sometimes it results in “well, good luck in your endeavors”, which is probably not the answer you wanted – BUT – you will know what direction you can, or have to go in.

  16. Stephanie

    I think AAM advice to let go once you’ve applied is sound, but at the same time, there must be some hope that the application will move forward in the process. If not, why apply in the first place? Let go about 90% but keep 10% “on” to prepare for being contacted and/or then interviewed by the company. Keep researching the company, location, job functions, your experience, your expectations. But only to 10%. Don’t obsess and don’t let this detract from pursuing new applications. This kind of preparation and research can build job-hunting and interview skills and also may lead to new paths to finding a job.

  17. Stephanie C

    I’m glad I ran across this posting because this just happened about 2 weeks ago. I applied for this position in January and then about a month later the position status said closed. I took it that I didn’t meet the qualifications and they had hired someone. I see the position is reopened again. I have an account with the company and I see if I can reapply for the position, and I see a status update that reads: you are currently being considered for the job. Is this a nice way of saying we are still looking at possibilities but you need to move on.

  18. Tara T.

    I once saw an ad for a State job I had applied for that was re-posted (marked “RE-POSTED” at the top), but they had not called me for an interview. Finally, a few weeks later, they did call, and they said, “We just have to get someone in here,” meaning they never hired anyone, but finally the work piled up and they had to. In the end, I was not the person they picked, but that is why they had re-posted the ad. They just let the work pile up and finally realized it was critical to get someone.

  19. Rider

    I applied for a position in september with closing date 10 september. I checked the online status and it say “in process” with a date 15 october next to it. Can anyone pls tell me if maybe i m still in running..?

  20. Tara T.

    Rider, if it was a state government job, you might still be in the running, if it said “in process.” I have applied for some and not been called for an interview until 2 or 3 months later.

  21. judy

    i applied at a position, they liked my professionalism, but they went with someone else and said to keep in touch if anything else should arise. i saw the position reposted, i sent a note inquiring about reapplying, and to be considered, not in this manner of course, but professional. This was sent to the person in HR that i interviewed with. She never responded. I find this rude. Take the time to respond and tell me yes or no.

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