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How Many Times to Reapply for a Job


As recruiters we experience it over and over again, candidates who continually apply for jobs, sometimes the same jobs with the same company over and over again. In some Human Resources Offices they are often referred to as serial applicants. In other offices they are known as the people who just can’t take no for an answer. It makes one wonder, is there any particular reason they keep applying? Do they like collecting rejection letters? Why don’t they just stop applying? Are you one of those people that apply over and over for a position within a company with no success? Before you apply again, stop and do quick reassessment of the situation.

Do you keep being interviewed by the same manager? If so, what are the chances that you will be interviewed by that same exact manager the next time you apply? If the chances are pretty good, consider NOT applying this time. Take a moment and think about it. There must be some reason you keep getting rejected by the same person. Sad is the candidate who just doesn’t get it. Try this: during the interview ask the manager what the success candidate would “look like.” Not physical looks, but what skills or other attributes. Explain how your skills fit into their vision of the perfect candidate. After the interview, try reaching out to this manager for feedback on what you may be doing wrong.

Are you answering the same questions the exact same way? If the answers didn’t work the first time, the second or the third time, they won’t work the fourth time. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about other ways of answering the questions. Find the correct answer or perhaps a more appropriate answer.
The alternative to revising your interview responses is to stop applying where you’re obviously not making a good name for yourself. The more you apply, the more you tend to irritate those who have to see your name pop-up over and over again. There is more to a successful interview then just job qualifications, sometimes you have to be the total package, including having a personality that will fit into the current environment.

I once had a candidate that walked into the interview room and say down and stated, “My husband complains because I’ve applied no less than 42 times and have been rejected 42 times. He wants to know why I keep applying.” To be honest, I wanted to ask her the same question. Unfortunately, in local government, the recruiting software and the people who do the resume screening often pick the top candidates without regard to prior interviews. This means that we could conceivably see the same candidates for each and every interview for a position within our agency. This a true flaw in the system and usually a waste of everyone’s time. AS mean as this may sound, you’re not really screen through because you were picked by a human, but rather by computer software trained to search for certain skills/key words on a resume.

If you find a particularly sympathetic interviewer, send a thank you letter and ask if they have time to discuss the interview with you. If the interviewer agrees, however, be open to their suggestions and criticisms. I once met with a serial applicant who wanted to know why she was never selected for any of the positions, even though she once had a position within the company. She felt there was absolutely nothing wrong with her interviews. Despite my suggestions and tips, she kept insisting that it was the incompetent interviewers. Needless to say, I didn’t feel the need to point out that they had a job and she did not, but I definitely talked about attitudes of entitlement.

In both of these cases, the applicants finally gave up after years of reapplying, but not before many more months of fruitless applications.
So the bottom line is how many times can you reapply for a job? The answer, quite frankly, is as many times as you want. Keep in mind, however, that serial applying is often a waste of time and a sad lesson in futility unless you learn to do something different.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Dianne Walker. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Dianne Walker. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Dianne Walker for details.

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