Recruiters get a lot of questions related to their candidate’s overall job search. One came my way the other day that hadn’t been presented to me in a while. Specifically, “If I applied for, interviewed for and was declined for a role over a year ago, would it make sense to revisit that employer to see if they would give me another shot?”

The short answer is yes, but with some caveats.

Let me go through some things that may determine any viability of having a successful outcome the second time around.

1.      Were you ‘officially’ declined or simply told that another candidate was selected for the role? This matters and it isn’t always a simple line to define. Oftentimes when someone else is chosen it is based on a few significant, but not huge differences. The other person may have been more immediately available and the job needed to be filled more quickly than you were available to start. If you never were told that – in a manner of speaking – that you were “not what they were looking for”, then you were likely not ‘officially’ declined. If those words were spoken in that way or a version of that – please don’t revisit.

2.      When you were turned down, did you get a phone call or an automated email? Again, these suggestions assume that you had an interview. When a recruiter or manager takes the time to meet you in-person for a specific job and then they decline you by way of an email, it is safe to say that you should not re-apply for this role. If, however, they took the time to call you after what you deemed a good experience overall, it is okay to reconnect the company.

3.      Did you get feedback about what gaps you had in your experience that you have since resolved? If you were given feedback about areas where you fell short (no degree, missing 1 year of a specific development language, etc.) or didn’t have the exact experience the employer needed. If you focused some of your time and attention on filling those voids, you can safely re-apply.

4.      Are you aware of any changes that have taken place within the leadership team with whom you interviewed? This could impact the needs of the company in such a way that your re-application could be very timely.

I work in a very narrow sliver of the overall job market – IT Professionals with a development background – primarily. That’s important to note that when reading this advice. In this vertical, there is an extreme shortage of talent. Not every segment of hiring is under the same constraints and not every employer is reevaluating their ‘criteria’ for hiring as much as they may be doing in this area. No matter what, the key to this sort of thing is to get the timing right. These recommendations are only a few of the possible ways to evaluate the timing and determine the potential successful outcome – there are more.

A few of the most important things to remember:

·        get as much information about why you were declined in the first place – again, this is all hinged on having completed an in-person interview not having sent your resume. I would like to think that employers are getting at least a little bit better at providing feedback on why folks were declined after interviewing in-person, but I recognize this isn’t always the case.

·        If you felt that the company, the culture, environment, people, etc. were all aligned with you – stay connected in some way with the people or the company. Read their blog posts, stay updated on their news, follow them on LinkedIn, connect with the people you interviewed with on LinkedIn and keep watching their careers page. Don’t lose touch in other words – don’t go into stalker mode, but do some research at the very least.

·        Use the experience you went through to learn, acquire more skills and build your network. No opportunity is a lost opportunity if you can extract something of future value – gaining more interview experience could be the only value, but it is something.

·        Don’t be too prideful to revisit an opportunity when the time is right or the opportunity presents itself.

Whenever you are going through a search or looking for advice, you will find every angle covered. These thoughts are based on the experiences I have personally had in 20 years in the industry and I know folks will disagree and I welcome all thoughts or comments. Ongoing communication will only help everyone.