A year ago I was offered employment at a retail store, but within couple of days working at my new job, I turned it down (my current employer offered a raise to keep me, but that went down-hill)

This year I applied again, went through a telephone interview, and talked to the regional manager (same guy as last year). I went in yesterday for an in-person interview with the manager at that retail location. Before having the interview he showed me around the store. He seemed eager to have an interview with me.

Unfortunately, today I received an email from the HR department (automated email) saying I am not qualified for the job (even though I was offered same position last year, and got hired), and not considering me for the position.

My question is: could this be an error, since it was suggested via an automated email that it seemed my application was "inactive" (meaning the managers may have not have contacted HR to let them know that they are interviewing me, and might consider me for hire?)

I was going to call them today asking if they were going to consider me for the position, but I didn't want to be annoying (since I had my interview yesterday) .

Should I call the manager tomorrow, and ask him if I am still being considered for the position?

  • At this point, it doesn't hurt I believe, but mention to the manager that you have received the communication that you are disqualified. Maybe there is a company process disconnect somewhere – MelBurslan Jun 2 '16 at 23:11
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    You have nothing to lose by getting back in touch with the hiring manager. HR departments vary from company to company. Some are competent (even great) while others are petty and unprofessional. It is possible HR screwed up or miscommunicated with the hiring manager. – Zeejet Jun 2 '16 at 23:32
  • "even though I was offered same position last year, and got hired" - But you said in your opening paragraph that you turned the job down last time. i.e. you were not hired because you turned it down. The manner in which you turned down the position last time might even disqualify you in some cases. e.g. if they offer you a position this time maybe you'll just turn it down again. – Brandin Jun 3 '16 at 7:20
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    I disagree with those close votes. What to do when a manager is enthusiastic about your candidacy, yet HR turns you down for seemingly technical reasons, is a general question. – user45590 Jun 3 '16 at 9:20
  • @andyADD, did either of the managers clearly know that you had previously turned down a job offer? – user45590 Jun 3 '16 at 9:31

within couple of days working at my new job, I turned it down

Forget re-applying. They remember you as the person who wasted their time and money. They have no reason to believe you are any more serious this time than you were last time.

They are telling you, very clearly, that they don't want you. There is no easy way to fix this. You burned that bridge.

Apply somewhere else.

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    "Before having the interview he showed me around the store. He seemed eager to have an interview with me." That doesnt seem like someone who doesnt want to talk to the one who wasted time and effort – Raoul Mensink Jun 3 '16 at 6:24
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    He may not have remembered this person, or may have been inclined to forgive. The hr department clearly did, and wasn't. – keshlam Jun 3 '16 at 9:05
  • -1 certainly not true in all cases. – user45590 Jun 3 '16 at 9:32
  • Not all cases. However, given the explicit rejection I would move on even if this wasn't the cause -- fighting such a decision is rarely successful and often unwise -- and It sounds like my analysis is highly likely in this case. You are certainly welcome to disagree, but I would certainly hesitate to hire Andy given this history. – keshlam Jun 3 '16 at 11:53
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    @dan1111 Keshlam is our resident Simon Cowell. He gives his opinions without sugar coating them. They aren't nice but they are practical. – Old_Lamplighter Jun 3 '16 at 13:25

Get back in touch with the manager(s) and explain what happened.

There is certainly no harm in doing so. Also, I think there is a decent chance that it will make a difference.

HR seemingly turned you down for some technicality (possibly because you turned down a previous job offer, though we don't know for sure).

However, the managers may have sway with HR in such matters, and if they think you are a good candidate based on personal interaction with you and knowledge of your situation, then they may want to intervene to make sure your application progresses forward.

I would probably start by contacting the store manager, and based on the response from them, possibly contact the regional manager as well. But you might choose differently based on who you feel you had the best connection/interaction with.

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    @andyadd Note that although Keshlam's answer may be true (we don't know at this stage), you have nothing to lose with this approach. – user8036 Jun 3 '16 at 11:29

Should I call the manager tomorrow, and ask him if I am still considered for the position?

Unfortunately today I received a email from HR department (automated email) ... and not considering me for the position.

You seem to have your answer already.

You may have been offered the role last year, but things can change, the market can be more competitive now (maybe they offered you last year as best of what they had), the role may require different skills/experience, maybe new people in management and they've upped the ante.

Turning down the role last year shouldn't stop you, but might (people can take these things personally).

My question is could be an error since it was an automate email that it seemed my application was "inactive"

You've been filed, it's unlikely to be an error, whether that ruled you out automatically only they will know, but someone moved you into the list of no-hires.

I wouldn't phone to ask if you are still being considered, you've been closed out in their recruitment system, I'd just move on if I were you.

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  • Organizations are not monolithic. HR might be making a technical, rule-based decision which the managers with personal knowledge of the OP do not agree with (and may not know about). This is a common dynamic--at my organization, we are often fighting HR red tape in the hiring process. The managers may have the ability to overrule this decision. Also, mistakes can be made. Treating an automated email as definitive, when you had positive personal interaction with people at the company, is not the right answer IMO. – user45590 Jun 3 '16 at 10:59
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    Which positive interaction do you mean - "Before having the interview he showed me around the store. He seemed eager to have an interview with me", I'm sure everyone interviewed got that, if it was AFTER it might mean something, but I don't see anything to indicate any signs of landing the job this time. – The Wandering Dev Manager Jun 3 '16 at 11:05
  • @dan1111 he was probably flagged as "do not rehire" in the HR system after he left last time. It's very common in retail to have that flag to keep troublemakers from going to another store, or coming back after management changes. Since retail has such a high turnover and management being shifted constantly, it's really the only defense they have. – Old_Lamplighter Jun 3 '16 at 13:35
  • @RichardU I agree that this is most likely, but is the flag set in stone? If the manager(s) like the candidate and think they are worth a shot, perhaps they can overrule it. Precisely because of the high turnover in retail, it's hard to find good people and you aren't investing that much in any particular hire. Maybe a long shot, but at least worth a phone call in my book. – user45590 Jun 3 '16 at 14:58
  • @dan1111 at the company I worked, those flags were solid granite. It took someone at a rank higher than the one who put the flag to remove it, and it took a damn good reason. Retail doesn't tend to give second chances, and they are vicious when they flag someone – Old_Lamplighter Jun 3 '16 at 15:08

The fact that the email/letter seems to be computer generated doesn't mean that your application was rejected by a computer or by HR. At the places I have worked the system sends out these computer generated notices based on a human making a decision and entering it into the system.

  • When you apply you get a email...
  • when they read it and don't reject it immediately you get an email...
  • When they schedule a phone interview you get an email...

and if they reject you at any stage you get an email...

At no time would the hiring manager contact you to give you the bad news.

If they have enough candidates they may decide that you aren't worth the risk. In fact your best hope this time was a shortage of viable candidates. That way if they picked you they could hedge their bets. If you bailed on them they would be sure that they didn't reject a qualified candidate. Also they would probably open up the process to get more resumes, so if you quit at the last minute that would just be another opening.

I would just move on and keep applying to other companies.

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