Should I re-apply for the job after being declined?
I receive the above question often enough that I thought it would be helpful to share it more widely. Awhile back, I received the following question via a comment from one of the posts and after answering, I emailed the reader and asked if I could share her experience via a blog post. The reader was gracious enough to say yes. Thank you, AF.
I applied to a position with ABC Company about 8 months ago. I went in for 2 rounds of interviews and met with the team and HR VP. However, despite getting a positive feedback from the hiring manager, I didn’t get the job. I was told there were other candidates that were more qualified than me. Couple of weeks ago I noticed the same position with ABC Company is available again and re-applied. A recruiter quickly reached out to me for a phone interview. However, when the recruiter called, she said she didn’t realize I had already interviewed for the same position in the past. And because of that the hiring team felt no need to bring me in for an interview, as it would be pointless. Nothing about the position has changed and I would be interviewing with the same people. I understand her explanation, but fear I may be at a disadvantage compared to those currently interviewing for the position.
I still have contact information for the hiring team I interviewed with 8 months ago. Is it acceptable for me to reach out to them via e-mail, just to say hello and put my name out there? I want to re-apply for the job. Can I say I’ve previously interviewed for the position and am still very interested in offering my service to the company? What can I do to increase my chances of being hired for this position the second time around? Thanks AF
My answer is below:
Sorry to hear that you were declined on the initial position. My short answer is that I would not reach out to the recruiter or the hiring manager. We don’t have anything to lose if we reach out, but let’s not be surprised if we don’t ever hear back. If we were declined in the past, they are probably not going to change their mind. If the recruiter explained that we shouldn’t apply, then they were being really nice by giving you the heads up. Remember, the goal of the recruiter is to fill the position and if they thought we were a potential “butt in seat” and could fill the position, they would have encouraged us to apply.
HRNasty dating analogy:
If we go on a first date and the chemistry isn’t there or there isn’t a fit, a second date is probably not going to prove our initial instinct wrong. If we have a bad first date, we generally don’t even think about giving Mr. or Ms. Wrong a second chance. You of course are gracious, got milkshake and schkills so of course he thinks the date went really well and sends you a text for a second date. We do one of two things: 1. Not respond or 2. Be very slow to respond and explain “Sorry, I am busy”. Even if we hooked up on the first date because of physical chemistry, if the emotional chemistry isn’t there, we don’t call back and let the texts and phone calls go un returned. Yes, things may change on Saturday night at 2:00 AM after a couple of bottles of wine, but you get where I am coming from.
He of course texts you a third time (Remember, he had a great time. You got game and milkshake so naturally; he thinks the date was a success.). You on the other hand will probably roll your eyes and not respond. If he were to text you one more time, you will be on the phone with your BFF and in an annoyed voice ask “Why is this guy still trying to hook up with me? Doesn’t this guy have a clue? (Uhhhhgggg and big sighhhh). Yes, first world problems.
First interviews are similar. If it was decided there wasn’t a fit / chemistry after the first cycle of interviews, unless the hiring manager is “Short handed in the department and really needs headcount” aka. 2:00 AM on Saturday night, he or she isn’t going to change their mind. We do not want to be hired under these circumstances. That first impression (we are just a booty call) will be VERY hard to overcome with the hiring manager and the rest of the team.
Dating and interviewing are very much the same:
- Both involve two parties trying to make a love connection / hire.
- We can be someone else to get through the first couple of dates (interviews) but in the long run it will end badly because facades just won’t last. This will end with a breakup / being fired.
- Dating doesn’t work when there is no chemistry. We are going to spend a lot of time together so we gotta’ be sympatico.
Real life example number 2:
The last time I and Mrs. HRNasty sold our home, I had the same conversation with our real estate agent that all sellers do. We talked about the selling price of the home. I wanted to sell for 1.10X and the agent wanted to sell for X. I suggested a compromise and said let’s try it at my price 1.10X and if nothing happens, we drop the price. (Yes, I did read Malcom Gladwells theory on real estate agents and commissions.)
Her response made a lot of sense. She explained that we do not want to take a chance of the home appearing “shop worn”. We don’t want to signal to the buyer that we had to drop the price 4 months later because that will signal to everyone know that we were not able to sell and there must be something wrong with the house. Last year’s model, summer clothes on sale at the beginning of fall, and day old bread. We listed for “x.”
If we interviewed 8 months ago and re-approach the hiring manager there are a couple of things going on with this specific relationship:
- If the job description didn’t change and / or we did not update our skills or change our personality via therapy, what didn’t work then probably won’t work now.
- We can look shop worn to the hiring manager. We haven’t landed a job so the hiring manager is thinking “Other hiring managers passed as well. It was good I trusted my gut and passed on that candidate.”
- We do not want to force this relationship. Just like the hiring manager wants the best fit possible, as the candidate, we also want the best fit possible. We are looking for the best possible fit in our LTR’s and the hiring process holds the same attitude.
I know it is tempting to reach out to the hiring manager, and in all honesty, we have nothing to lose. But I wouldn’t expect a response from the hiring manager or the recruiting department. Sad but true.
If we are REALLY interested in the position and get the “We really liked you, but we had a lot of interest in the position and found a candidate that was perfectly qualified”, then follow-up and keep in touch with that hiring manager and try to build a relationship when we are first declined. Not months later when we see the position reposted. Share the hiring manager’s LinkedIn posts, retweet their tweets on Twitter. These types of engagements don’t require a response from the hiring manager AND it shows we are still interested. Over time, we can build engagement by sending them articles of relevance to the job, company, or industry. This is what will gain the hiring managers attention. Our parents told us that their generation would show up at the employer’s office everyday to show the hiring manager they were REALLY interested in the position. The semi stalking online approach is the year 2015 version of showing up at the loading dock every day and asking for the job.
See you at the after party,
nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky, and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball.”