5 Reasons the Employer Re-Posted the Ad

5 Reasons the Employer Re-Posted the Ad

by Kerry Scott on 17 August 2009


You know what sucks?

When you apply for a job, or even interview for a job…and then they re-run the ad a week later.  Job hunting is hard on your ego to begin with, but this seems to be the thing that really makes candidate feel like crap.

The thing is, I can only think of a couple of times in my whole career when I’ve re-run an ad because I truly didn’t have a single good candidate in the whole batch.  You always think that’s the reason, but I can tell you that usually it’s something else.  Here are five reasons my corporate recruiting friends and I have re-posted ads:

  1. Something went wrong. Most of the recruiters I know are looking for jobs.  The people who are doing the recruiting at a lot of companies are not recruiters…they’re HR generalists or hiring managers.  These folks are doing the best they can, but they aren’t always experts on the technology the recruiters use to fill jobs.  Sometimes they don’t know how to use the fancy applicant database.  Sometimes the email gets screwed up.  I once knew a harried HR manager who accidentally deleted the entire Outlook folder with every applicant she’d had for the past two years.  Stuff happens.  That’s why you might need to go old school.
  2. They waited too long. As I mentioned in last week’s post on unresponsive employers, sometimes nothing happens because…nothing happens.  The manager wants an ad, so the recruiter runs the ad…and then the manager goes on vacation, or gets busy with something else, or just sits on the stack of resumes.  Weeks (and even months) go by, and by the time they’re ready to actually work on filling the job, they think the candidates must surely have found jobs by now.  Plus, truth be told, they’re a little embarrassed by the fact that they’ve kept these people hanging so long.  They’re afraid that if they call you, you’ll say something like, “Geez, I applied for that one two months ago—I’ve already accepted another job.  What took you so long?”  So they don’t.  They just start over instead, because it seems easier.  Sounds ridiculous?  Yep.  But this happens all the time.  Seriously.
  3. The person they hired didn’t work out. Hiring is not an exact science.  Sometimes they get it wrong.  Other times, a candidates accept the offer, then takes another job instead, or doesn’t pass the drug test, or fails to show up on the first day (really!).  It’s embarrassing for the employer to call the applicants they’ve already rejected (or left hanging).  Plus, it’s awkward to say, “We really liked you, and it turns the guy we thought was even better actually smokes crack, so we’d like to offer you the job instead.”  So they don’t.  They often think it’s easier to just start over.  In this market, though, you can’t be offended by being the runner up.  The competition is incredibly fierce out there, and some really good people are ending up being the second choice.  Obviously, they should have picked you to begin with, but nobody’s perfect.
  4. Something’s shady on the job board. There’s a popular job board here in Milwaukee that used to have an interesting practice.  Their account managers would “refresh” employers’ job listings “as a service to the employer.”  They claimed it was to make sure employers had lots and lots of candidates and were satisfied customers.  My take was that they were doing it to make it look like they had a lot of viable job listings when they really didn’t, and that they were pissing off my candidates by making it look like I’d blown them off and re-run the ad.  I complained bitterly, and I know a lot of my HR colleagues did too.  Eventually, they listened, and they no longer do this (and actually they’re a great job board now, which is why I’m not naming them, because this was quite a few years ago).  Unfortunately, I know there are other job boards out there that are still using this technique.  Sometimes employers accidentally refresh their own jobs (it’s easy to do when you’re cleaning up your job listings), but if you’re seeing a pattern on a particular site, it may not be the employer at all.
  5. The place is a hellhole. There are a few employers in every town who are constantly looking to fill jobs.  That’s because they suck.  If you see the same position listed over and over, and it’s not a traditionally high-turnover job (like, say, call center work), there might be a reason.  I know one employer, for example, who is constantly looking for HR people, because the HR department there is so bad that everyone quits within a month or two.  When I saw a recruiter opening listed there every other month for a couple of years, I knew something was up (and I later found out that the boss was a whack-a-doodle).  Keep an eye on your local job market even when you’re actively looking, and you’ll gain some valuable insight into which companies you should avoid.

Photo by cogdogblog

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abdpbt August 17, 2009 at 9:17 am

Sure, but that’s just a fancy way of saying they reran the ad because I wasn’t good enough, isn’t it?
.-= abdpbt´s last blog ..49 Words That Are Way Overused Either In The Blogosphere Or By Lauren Conrad And Others Of Her Ilk. Or Both. =-.

Kim August 17, 2009 at 11:11 am

So true. In fact, it’s happened to me recently but I didn’t bother to reapply. I’ve also been hearing about #4 from other sources as well.

Alexis August 17, 2009 at 11:26 am

Thanks for explaining this. I worked for a wonderful non-for-profit a few years ago that had this bizarre system of always running ads looking for teacher aides in their preschools. They were trying to built a larger substitute teacher base, but seemed to miss the boat that having an ad in the paper 365 days a year might have sent the wrong message… I am glad to know they were not alone in this misdirection.
.-= Alexis´s last blog ..Baby Stuff You Don’t NEED: =-.

Charles August 18, 2009 at 9:52 am

Yes, I’m glad that you listed #4, as I suspected that something like that was going on.

Alexis, as a corporate trainer I see ads all the time for “trainer,” which turn out to be just as you said – someone is trying to build up a database of on-call trainers. It is interesting that it is not just fly-by-night companies. Sometimes the local community colleges are the ones doing this. It does send the wrong message and some of them now have reputations as being a bit sleazy and a less than desirable employer. Good trainers don’t bother with them anymore – even in this bad job market!

Frank September 8, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Ok, I’ve had a similar situation – Went through interview/phone interview with various personnel (ie HR reps, even person who once held the position). Got to what I thought was the last ‘hoop’ and called the company recruiter only to find out they didn’t think my skills were good enough? Now the position is back up on their website and publicly – Do I re-apply stating that I really want this position (b/c I REALLY do!) and tell them that I’ve been through their interview screenings and would like to be reconsidered OR is it just a waste of my and their time??

Kerry Sandberg Scott September 8, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Frank—that’s a tough one. I think it depends on how resilient you are. If you feel like you can stand the risk of rejection (which, let’s face it, is a real possibility if they expressly told you that your skills weren’t strong enough), then go for it. I’d probably get in touch with the hiring manager directly, with a note reiterating my interest and reminding them of your relevant experience. The worst they can do is say no (or not respond), and only you know whether another “no” would be worse than doing nothing.

Personally, I give big points to people who are enthusiastic about the job. I can teach a lot of things, but I can’t teach “I want to work here.” So, for me, that enthusiasm would count for a lot.

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