I applied for a position and I did not get it. The reason given was that they found someone who better matched what they wanted. I was also invited to apply again in the future, should other positions come up.

Now a new position has been posted by this company, just 4 months later, very similar to the last. I'd like to apply again, though I'm a bit hesitant. I'm not entirely certain what part of my profile made me a less-than-perfect fit (or not as good as others), there were a few things it might have been, but I'm not sure, so I'm not sure if the interview would just be the same as before. They could have contacted me directly when this became open, but they did not, although I'm not sure if that would be normal.

I was thinking of sending them a message along the lines of:

Hi! So I see you have PositionABC open again. I interviewed for it a few months ago, and was wondering if you'd reconsider me again for this.

But I'm not sure if that would be too informal and get me rejected immediately, or if I should go through the formal process and just resubmit the same resume/cover letter as last time (because not much has changed for me in terms of experience in just 4 months).

  • Is it still open, or open again due to an offer not coming to be or open again because someone quit very soon, or a different position with the same title/description? This is important to answer your question.
    – MikeP
    Commented Mar 17, 2018 at 22:17

6 Answers 6


I'm going to disagree with the the masses here and suggest trying your luck directly with HR.

I once applied for a position and after two phone screens was told I was unsuccessful. I took their feedback on board (I knew where I had gone wrong), and polished up on my skills. Three weeks later I saw the same position was still open. I sent the following email directly to their HR person:

Dear [name],

I am writing to re-apply for your position of Systems Engineer.

If you’re having déjà vu right now, that’s because about three weeks ago you invited me to apply for this position. I spoke to [person1] and [person2] and my initial contact with [person1] was very positive; however my performance with [person2] demonstrating my scripting skills was poor.

I agree that [person2] made the right decision regarding my scripting skills. So what’s changed?

Since then I have applied dozens of hours of my own time over the past few weeks getting stuck into my PowerShell skills. They were virtually non-existent when I first spoke to [person2] (I was only capable of doing basic tasks like copying TechNet instructions for doing stuff in Exchange). Although my programming skills are certainly not in the league of what you would expect from one of your world-class developers, I have applied Power Shell daily in real-world situations since then at my day job. Everything that can be done in PowerShell shall be done in PowerShell has been my mantra.

I realise that PowerShell is just one of many scripting languages I could have chosen; I chose it based on the fact that your network is mainly Windows Server (albeit some of them 2003, which does not ship with PowerShell by default). I hope that the choice of language isn’t particularly relevant, but rather the fact that I’m hoping to demonstrate that I’m a very fast learner who can go from 0 to fluent in a small period of time.

As I mentioned in the first round, I’m actually quite happy in my current job, so I don’t take rejection hard, but I respect [your company] so much as to leave my current job, and I truly believe that I would be an asset to your company.

So with that cringe-worth last paragraph, I ask that you please re-consider my application for the position. A formal CV is attached.

I had substantially more success - they said it highlighted the fact that I saw a personal flaw and fixed it, and that I came back showed I had the kind of guts that they wanted from a person at their company.

  • Well it's good to see that it's certainly possible! :) There were a number of pieces of technology that they use that I don't get much exposure to in my current role (and personal projects are not really possible as it's expensive, proprietary technology), so I don't think I can show how much I've improved in the areas they may want since I last spoke with them. Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 15:11

I think you're going to have to apply through normal channels. I doubt HR will be comfortable telling you not to apply. There's probably something about it a lawyer told them leaves them exposed for a lawsuit.

Although the job may be similar, it could be in different departments, divisions, or just different enough that HR isn't able to compare and contrast them. There could also, be a change in managers, so you can't be sure the same people are interviewing again.

If you get any contact from HR, you may want to be upfront about your previous interview. Many websitws where you apply for jobs ask if you've ever applied before. It shouldn't be a problem unless they just don't think you qualify. It's your time.

  • Good points. In this case, I know that the job is in the same team as last time, because the last time I interviewed, they said they'd have another round of hiring at this time of year. I also know that the same HR person who ran it last time is running it this time. Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 15:40

I would recommend that you apply again normally, just as you did for the first opening. If by chance you applied online, you may be able to log into your profile and submit it without re-entering all your information (but be sure to update any part of your resume or profile that warrants it). I was hired for my current job after applying for 2 previous openings (over the course of several months) but applied to each one individually.

You were interviewed previously, so you obviously were under consideration. That you were not chosen doesn't necessarily mean that there is something wrong with you or your profile, just that they thought someone else was a better fit at that time. That other person is now out of the market, so perhaps you are the best fit this time. Focus on the positive.

As to whether you should remind them that you interviewed previously, I would not do that in place of a regular application. Maybe include that in the cover letter or mention it if you receive a phone screen.


I would definitely apply through normal channels. There may have been a middle-management "restructuring" that caused the job to be reset.

If you try to "replay" your previous application, you will at best come across as seeming inappropriately informal to the decision makers. At worst, you will come across as trying to "cut in line" in front of other applicants. Neither will win you any points.

Start off as though it were a fresh application, and have a response ready if they ask, "Haven't we seen you before?" Something along the lines of, "Yes, I interviewed for a similar position a few months ago. I am still very interested in offering my services to your company."


What you have in mind is the perfect thing, IMO.

Its only been 4 months and your application is bound to be in their database. If you go through the normal route, I personally have seen such instances and know of a few HR professionals who will discard your application because they think you are pulling a smart one and not being honest. (Guess he thought we wont reference his application from the past records, huh. Out it goes) I agree its baseless on logical grounds. You might get lucky in a few circumstances where the HR doesn't look at your past applications. Its just a pointless risk.

If I were you I will send the email from your question ditto.


There are three things that jump out at me:

  1. You're going through HR (or online). Do you have a contact within the company that could lead you to the hiring manager? You need to be 'visible' to the people you're going to work for or with. Having a resume on file with HR is only helpful if no other prospect has an 'in' with the group.

  2. In retrospect, can you think of what probably killed your chance the first time? If it's a skills issue, have your skills improved in the direction they need?

  3. Go back and look at your resume, cover letter, any information you filled out on-line, etc. to see if you have language that 'doesn't read right'. If you're telling them you like their benefits you're hinting that you're overhead and aren't necessarily focused on production. If you said SQL Database did you mean 'SQL Server', 'Oracle', or 'DB/2'? A lot of people say they programmed in C. Great - what compiler, what target computer, what operating system, what application?

The first line of your resume (with presumably the most recent experience) must have 'did this with this on that'. For me, 'C#/Winforms/PostGreSQL ETL project for Consumer Finance company'. If such specifics only show up a paragraph later you've lost the deal.

  • 1. Yes, I have direct contact (email address) with them from the last round of interviewing I did. 2. Most likely it was someone with more experience in a few very specific areas - not something I've had much chance to change in the short time frame. Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 2:55

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