We want you for another position — later

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Feb 26

After a company has gone through all of the effort of recruiting you for a particular position and you’ve done well, amazing things happen. You, the desirous candidate for the position, wait for the offer decision on your fit with an organization, your skills match, and your passion for the position.

And then the company sends strange messages — if they send any at all.

This one is most insidious: we think you’re too (fill in the blank) for this position, but we have this great position opening up in a month that we think you’ll be great for in our organization. And we’ll contact you when the position opens up.

This is such a bad message:

  • Essentially, the company has told you they don’t want to hire you for the position they (and you) spent all this effort interviewing for — a rejection is what this is, hidden behind a back-handed compliment.
  • They think you’re great for another position — but they don’t tell you about the position except in the most general of terms. Which means you can’t evaluate the position to see if you would like to work it. There are, after all, two in this tango, but you were just told you don’t count.
  • You, as a candidate, now have to evaluate if they are sincere in their statements that they want you for a different position in the company later — after all, you have no offer in hand and if you were so great for the other position after going through all these interviews, why wouldn’t an offer come for that? Oh, it’s not funded yet…right. Should you wait to see if it comes about? Nope.

If you’re a company interviewing candidates, deal straight stuff. If you’re interviewing someone, give the candidate the courtesy of the turn-down for the position. If there is another position your candidate is so good for, make the offer. Either put up, or shut up. It’s simply rude to hide behind a back-handed compliment when the real answer is: No, we don’t want you for this position.

If you’re ever a candidate given this type of interview response, move on and consider yourself lucky to not get the position. If the company really does come back a month later to interview for this different position, the sales job needs to be a good one.