Disqualification from a position is an unfortunate aspect of the job search that many job seekers face eventually. While being disqualified is never enjoyable, it’s especially tough if the position was at a company that excited you. You might find yourself wondering if your prospects of working there are over or “can I apply to the same company twice?” Is it even possible to be hired at a company you’ve already been rejected by? Spoiler alert: Yes, it’s possible.
I can say with confidence that yes, you can absolutely be hired at a company you’ve already been rejected from because I landed my current job, writing the words you’re reading right now, after being disqualified for another position at iHire. In fact, applying to a company after being rejected can work in your favor if you’re strategic about how and when you apply again. Here’s how reapplying to the same company can get you hired.
Before you start reapplying, you need to know why you weren’t chosen for the job. There are many reasons why an employer might disqualify a candidate, and your strategy for reapplying later will depend on why you were taken out of the running. Common explanations for a candidate’s disqualification are:
If you know you were disqualified for one of those reasons, then there’s good news: Most of the items on that list are fixable, and some of them may not matter if the second job you’re applying for is better suited to your current skills and experience.
The only one you won’t have any direct control over is your competition, but if you improve the other aspects, you’ll stand out among the crowd on your next attempt. In this context, being a “silver medalist” is a good thing. If you made it through several rounds of interviews and ultimately lost out to someone else, you already have a leg up on the competition for a second try. If this happened to you and you’re still wondering “can I apply to the same company again?” you should know you’re in a fantastic position. The best-case scenario is you made a great first impression and the company kept your resume on file to proactively contact you when an opening comes up again.
You probably see where this is going, but before you can apply again you need to work on your weaknesses. Otherwise, you’ll likely find the same results. From that list above, having inadequate credentials, not having enough experience, and interviewing poorly are the most directly addressable. You can take training courses or pursue further education to beef up your credentials, and practicing your interviewing skills is a great way to improve there.
Not having enough experience is tougher. You may have to wait a few years before applying again in order to give you enough time to gain more experience in your field. Being proactive in that case is key. Don’t just sit around and wait for new challenges to come to you –seek out situations that will help you improve. Alternatively, you could see if other open positions at the company require less experience and try to work your way up from the inside.
Similarly, if you were told your skills weren’t suited for the position, you might be able to find a different job at the company that fits you better. For example, in my situation, I made it to the final round of interviews for the first job I applied to but ultimately wasn’t chosen because my skills and experience didn’t match the position as well as the other candidates’ did. It didn’t feel great, but I was told that there was a position opening soon that the team thought would suit me better, and HR urged me to keep an eye out for it. So I did, and that’s how I ended up here.
One thing you should definitely not do is reuse the same resume and cover letter when reapplying to the same company. Doing so will come across as lazy and could get you disqualified from the start. Plus, if your resume didn’t make it past the company’s ATS the first time and you don’t make any changes, then it’s not likely to work this time around either.
You should always tailor your resume to the position by looking for keywords in the job description and adding them to your resume when appropriate. This will get you past the automated system and into the hands of a real person. It will also allow you to include any new skills or credentials you’ve obtained since the last time you applied or give you an opportunity to show why you’d be a better fit for this position than the previous one.
You should also mention that you’ve applied before in your cover letter – it’s a great way to highlight how you’ve improved. Don’t include too much detail about your last application, though. Only reference it briefly and then quickly move on to why you’d be a great fit for the role and restate your excitement about working for their company. However, if considerable time has passed since you applied, then you don’t need to bring it up.
Finally, staying in touch with the hiring manager or one of your interviewers can improve your chances of landing your next job. Connect with them on LinkedIn and check in occasionally to get a pulse of what’s happening at the company. When I applied for a second time, I sent one of the people who had interviewed me previously a message on LinkedIn to let them know to look out for my application. That person wasn’t directly involved in hiring for this position, but they did pass on my name to the people who were.
Keep in mind, employers won’t want to keep in touch if you didn’t handle your first disqualification well, which is why it’s always important to respond graciously to your rejection. Doing so will help you keep your foot in the door and could open up other possibilities you weren’t expecting.
If you’re questioning whether you can apply to the same company twice, just continue to work to improve yourself and apply strategically, and you’ll have a much higher chance of landing a job at a company you’ve already been rejected from. Remember to be polite and professional, and be sure to check out our Job Seeker Resource Center for more tips on excelling in your job search.