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Can You Reapply After Rejecting A Job Offer?

Can You Reapply After Rejecting A Job Offer?

Second Chances Can Happen!

By Mark Swartz
Monster Contributing Writer
There's an old quote credited to Groucho Marx: "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member."
It's a whimsical reminder to those who'd reapply to a company after rejecting their job offer. Yet there are people who go back and do just that. Tamlin Obisha and Jared Wellstone are two such job seekers.
For Tamlin, it was the offer's timing that prevented her from accepting first time around. Jared, on the other hand, thought he could do better by going elsewhere. We talked to each of them about why they re-applied after turning down offers originally.
Interviews With Tamlin Obisha and Jared Wellstone
Monster.Ca:  Tamlin, why did you reject an offer as Supervisor, Customer Service at a well known national call center?
Tamlin Obisha:  In my case it was pretty simple. When I got the offer about a year ago, it was for a full-time position. I had just finished caring for my one year old girl as a stay-at-home mom. But the daycare I'd lined up fell through. So I couldn't accept the offer as it stood.  The employer wouldn't accommodate your request for part-time work instead?
Tamlin Obisha:  Not at the Supervisor level they couldn't. I explained that I could only put in a max of maybe 20 hours a week until I found replacement daycare. They said they were just too busy to wait, since it might have taken up to two months for me to find suitable care.  So you rejected their offer. How did you do it?
Tamlin Obisha: By thanking them a lot for choosing me in the first place. I also tried apologizing for how my plans got spoiled, except the company stopped me in my tracks. They said they understood my decision, and that I should consider reapplying if thing got stable in the future.  It sounds like the employer was willing to leave the door open for you.
Tamlin Obisha:  They were. It really impressed me. That's why a year later, when my baby was more settled and I had the daycare sorted out, I called the company back. Lucky for me they'd been growing and needed another full-time Supervisor. Now I was ready, able and willing to accept their offer.  Jared, your situation was very different. You rejected a job because you figured you could do better somewhere else. Ultimately though you chose to reapply.
Jared Wellstone:  That's right. I actually feel a little silly about it in hindsight. When they first told me I got the job, I'd really just started my search. I was looking for a Senior Technical Analyst role in manufacturing. The position I interviewed there for was a bit more junior and paid a little less.  You thought that if you continued your job hunt, you would find a role with the better title and a higher salary.
Jared Wellstone:  Frankly I hadn't done my homework. Also I was being kind of arrogant. Turns out the market was softer than I thought for someone with my level of experience and education. After I turned the offer down, I spent three miserable months getting rejected by other companies.  What was it like swallowing your pride and reapplying?
Jared Wellstone:  It was pretty humbling, as you can imagine. I e-mailed the HR person who'd made the initial offer and asked if a position like the old one was available. There was, but they asked me to explain, in detail, why I'd want it this time around.  How did you handle the employer's hesitancy?
Jared Wellstone:  Let me tell you this wasn't easy for me. I basically admitted my error. Here I was telling them how I'd overestimated myself, that I had learned a hard lesson in doing my homework before letting my ego speak for me.
The guy I spoke to laughed and said "I was wondering if I'd hear from you again." He thought I'd be great for the job but was worried earlier about my inflated sense of self. Now that I'd come down to reality he was willing to re-engage. Fortunately the job they had was right for me.
Whether To Reapply Or Not
How about you, have you ever turned down an offer, then thought about changing your mind later? If you let much time go by the job will probably already be filled. If it isn't, that might be a red flag suggesting there's a problem at the employer.
Even if there is a similar position available later, you've triggered your own red-flag to the hiring folk. They'll remember you as the person who rejected their perfectly good offer. Unless you can come up with a darned good reason to be reapplying, expect suspicion on their part.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't bother. As we've seen with Tamlin and Jared, personal situations can change. However if you declined because the job wasn't a fit, you didn't like the people there, or the company has a bad reputation, don't expect things to be different simply because you may be.

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