internal

Why Did I Waste My Time Interviewing When The Company Offered The Job To An Internal Candidate?

iStockphoto.com |  Bet_Noire

iStockphoto.com | Bet_Noire

You just walked out of an interview at a company where you really want to work. After feeling like you nailed it, you’re stunned – and not just a little upset – to learn you didn’t get the job. In fact, you heard that the person who did get the job was an internal candidate. Why did the company put you through an intensive interview process if they were always going to give the job to somebody who already works there?

Both parties involved in a job interview operate with a blind spot. A company can use every traditional tried and true method of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring staff, but still only learn a fraction of a person’s actual skills and fit before making him or her a co-worker. The outside candidate for a job knows even less; he or she has little to no visibility into the decision process that goes into corporate hiring decisions.

In most cases, there aren’t really any federal regulations stipulating any requirements in granting preference toward internal or external candidates during the employment process. Unless it’s mandated in some sort of labor agreement or government contract, companies have a lot of latitude in who they hire.

That said companies tend to have a hiring philosophy. That philosophy is most likely in a written corporate policy governing staff recruitment. There is no single approach, but many companies explicitly state that internal candidates will get preferential consideration during the hiring process, while many others state that the best candidate wins.

This can frustrate both internal and external job seekers, who aren’t playing by a single set of rules. Candidates wonder, “Why did you bother to interview me?” Here are several factors to keep in mind as to why the process can play out the way it does.

  • The process of recruiting and interviewing candidates costs both time and money. A company is not going to spend resources and dollars for practice. Even when company’s hiring philosophy favors internal candidates, the fact that the company interviewed external candidates signals that you had a legitimate chance at getting the position. Otherwise, only internal candidates would have been interviewed.

  • Many employers give internal candidates preference in the form of internally-posted job openings on the company intranet or similar platforms. Depending on the company’s guidelines, generally speaking a public job announcement shows that the company is looking to identify the best possible candidate, which sometimes means an internal candidate and sometimes and external one.

  • Recruitment policy at some companies can be governed by union contracts, which may specify internal and/or union members receive preferential treatment during the hiring process.

  • Even in cases in which preference is not given to internal candidates by default, you are still competing with employees that possess the advantage of already being a known quantity.

  • The hiring process is fluid and the candidate pool may change day to day due to unforeseen circumstances. Internal or external candidates can – and frequently do – accept offers then back out. A perceived lock for a position may have a rocky interview process that reveals they are not the best person for the job. A dark horse candidate, either internal or external, may emerge and end up with the offer.

 In the end, you shouldn’t allow the phantoms of internal candidates deter you from pursuing the job you want. How can you compete more effectively? In addition to polishing your interview skills, you can tip the scales in your favor via strategic networking. This way, you can increase your profile with hiring managers who still may have a need for you in the future.

And as frustrating as you may find the process, try to remember that companies that selected internal candidates for jobs are trying to provide additional opportunities for development and promotion to their employees. As an external candidate, take heart that this could potentially be a sign of an employee-centered culture.


Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

Why Do Companies Advertise Job Openings When They Plan to Hire Internally?

Answers to your Questions
Answers to your Questions

Question from the mailbag: "Why do companies post openings when they know they are going to hire someone internally? I have lost out to many positions because the company already had an internal candidate in mind. The companies I have applied to are big and small, public and private.  I have started to ask if there are any internal candidates applying for this role and the answer is usually yes."

I love this question, because it addresses a widespread frustration among job seekers. Remarkably, there are several reasons why a company may post a job opening to the outside world while they have an internal applicant in the wings:

  • Company policy requires them to post every job. Every. Single. One. The bad news is, this frustrates external candidates to no end. The good news is that the company values internal movement and promotion of employees over external applicants, and gives internal applicant a chance at mobility. Should you get the job, at least you know you hit a high bar and you'll get the same consideration for future opportunities.
  • Union rules. Some collective bargaining agreements have it written into their contracts with companies that all jobs be posted for internal employees.
  • The company wants to see who else is out there. Maybe the internal employee is good - but not thatgood. Often the posting rules indicate that, all qualifications being equal, the internal employee receives the nod. But if the external applicant holds better qualifications, the outsider gets the job.
  • The hiring manager hopes a specific internal employee will apply. Sometimes the internal employee may be asked to apply, but ultimately decides she's happy in her current role. It happens. And if the company hadn't advertised outside, they wouldn't have any candidates in the pipeline.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. He is a Human Resources professional and staffing expert with almost two decades of in-house corporate HR and staffing firm experience, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).

Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

Three Weekly Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Job Hunting Tips – June 22, 2015

Lemon Squeezy
Lemon Squeezy

Here are three simple job hunting tips for you to begin your week!

  1. Any time you prepare a paper résumé (yes, these still exist) to give to anybody, print it up on your printer. DO NOT make photocopies - the copier glass tends to get filthy and shows all sorts of residue, lines, and other grossness. Don't believe me? Compare for yourself. And, yes, people will notice the lines and dots that are copier artifacts.
  2. Treat an internal job application (i.e., an application for a position inside your current employer) with the same level of respect you'd treat one on the outside. This means: apply in a timely manner; dress professionally for the interview; and send thank-you notes to everyone you meet with; and should you not be selected for the job, handle the defeat with graciousness and dignity. Keeping doors open applies in your current job, too.
  3. After the interview, if you don't hear anything after repeated attempts to find out your status, know when to stop asking for feedback. It's crappy for an employer to not get back to you after an interview, but you need to recognize the line between persistence and stalking.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. He is a Human Resources professional and staffing expert with almost two decades of in-house corporate HR and staffing firm experience, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).

Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.