Bad Fit for the Job; Good Fit for the Company
October 3, 2011 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Recruiters and hiring managers: do you ever tell unsuccessful job applicants that despite not being a right fit for the job, they're a right fit for the company and you want to look for a way to place them?

I'm wondering if this is simply an accepted social nicety when it comes to interviewing and letting down a candidate easy, or if you say it when you do mean it.

I've had hiring managers non-committally say "Sure, apply back if you see something posted that you like" but I don't really know what to make of this "We love you and think you're XYZ company 'material.'" My (current, obviously disappointed) inclination is to think that that is just a gentle thing to say - is there ever truly intent to "find a place" for someone down the line?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Recruiters (that is an external entity paid by the hiring company on successful placement) have a great interest in keeping candidates engaged with the recruiter by whatever means.

What they say doesn't need to be totally discounted but you can apply a large pinch of salt.

In a few weeks time you may find that they've got a position at a company which is "very similar to that other company you interviewed with"
posted by southof40 at 1:54 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had this happen at the last place I interviewed at - interviewed for one position on Wednesday, heard that I didn't get it on Friday, and Monday got a call asking if I'd do a phone interview for a different position. (Turned that one down, and a couple months later they called me again to see if I was interested in yet a different position.) So yeah, it's totally possible.

(And that was internal HR, not a recruiter.)
posted by restless_nomad at 1:59 PM on October 3, 2011

I worked at an employment agency for three years. People got turned down for jobs all the time, only to later pop up for another job. Basically, Company X had an opening and wanted to see five resumes, so we called five people and asked them whether they wanted the job and then sent the resumes to Company X. Company X then chose one, which means that four got turned down.

There was no official back-burner, but the fact that the recruiters already interacted with the remaining four people and had a positive opinion of them put them on the metaphorical speed-dial when Company Y called and wanted a person with the same skills.
posted by griphus at 2:00 PM on October 3, 2011

It depends on the recruiter/company. Some will just blow smoke up your arse and never contact you again. Others will want to develop a genuine professional relationship with you and will keep in touch.

I've experienced both.
posted by Anima Mundi at 2:12 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would frequently send resumes to other hiring managers in the company (with the applicant's permission) if I thought they would be a fit there as well, or a better fit there. I was internal HR, not a recruiter.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:14 PM on October 3, 2011

When I worked as a consultant doing recruitment for the labor movement this would happen a lot, mostly with entry-level (or close to) candidates. Folks with a lot of smarts, commitment, and self-organization but not a lot of confidence or verbal skills would often apply for organizer jobs a lot when they would clearly make great researchers (the reverse did happen, but not often). Also, sometimes someone would apply for a job working with, say, janitors, when they would clearly do much better with, say, nurses, and we would encourage them to reapply for a similar job title in a different section of the union.
posted by crabintheocean at 2:42 PM on October 3, 2011

At my company this happens all the time. It's totally typical for someone to interview for role A; not be chosen for role A; but get role B later. However, I think it's atypical for the company to call candidates back if they haven't checked back in (it does happen, but usually only if the candidate is really hot stuff or the interval is short.) I tell candidates in this situation to keep an eye on posted openings and/or check back at the start of the next quarter or whenever I think it is likely I might have openings.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:08 PM on October 3, 2011

Depends on the company. The only person I know who got told this didn't get called, for what that's worth.

I would interpret this as:
(a) Hey, we wouldn't mind if you applied elsewhere here.
(b) There is a slight chance we might call you, but don't hold your breath about it. Odds are just as likely that we're saying this as a token thing here.

I would assume they aren't going to call you, unless they actually call you. Don't get your hopes up.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:36 PM on October 3, 2011

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