Q: Please help me understand why the same company keeps calling me to interview with them and then ignores me, rejects me, and instead hires an internal candidate?

A: I’m really sorry that you have been abused by a company’s internal recruiter.  It’s likely that the internal recruiter has been told to look at external candidates to see who else is “out there” and to justify hiring an internal candidate. Your background must be very attractive to them for them to contact you more than once, and I’ll assume the rejection message you were given was “we have an internal candidate whose skills set is stronger than yours.”

It’s unfortunate that companies either don’t trust the skill levels of their internal employees or trust the professional developmental activities that they have invested in and put these people through enough to just offer them the promotion.  While opening up and advertising a job opportunity to both internal and external candidates can allow companies to be more selective and find the most qualified individual for the role, companies should just promote their internal candidates as opposed to wasting external candidates time when they have next to no chance of landing the position.

What’s important in this situation and for all job seekers is to always ask if there is an internal candidate for the role that is being advertised and that you are applying to. That information can help you but only if you take the question a step further by asking the recruiter, “How often do you promote an internal candidate versus hiring outside candidates?” And trying to understand from them that if they do not choose to promote from within, what is it that they see is missing from those individual’s skillsets or the development opportunities that they have had within the company.

This question may seem challenging to internal recruiters but what it does give an external candidate is information and insights on whether the organization moves ahead fifty-fifty for internal and external candidates, whether the organization believes in promoting from within, and if the organization provides professional development opportunities and trainings for their employees so that they can land promotions within their organization.

There are better ways for organizations to understand the skill sets that people in the marketplace bring to jobs. There are research organizations that can give you information to help you assess a candidate’s leadership potential and the skill sets and behaviors that people in leadership roles have. The leadership assessments from MRG in Portland, Maine are valuable to every organization who has a cultural commitment to developing their people and it protects the brand your company will earn as a company who will waste an external candidate’s time and energy to serve their internal needs.

If you are contacted again by this company to interview for any role, be sure to ask them if they have an internal candidate before you consider whether it is a viable job opportunity.  And if the say yes, politely decline to meet with the recruiter and offer to meet with the hiring manager, or the CEO.  The executives at this company need to hear about the broken recruiting process. Boston.com


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