There are companies, and then there’s the company: your dream workplace. When this organization has several job vacancies, you find yourself struggling to limit yourself to just one application. However, sending your résumé too many times can damage your credibility. The result could be that you end up appearing indecisive and even amateur. If you can’t choose between two roles, you need to refine your approach. To help you avoid the stumbling blocks, a former double applicant and an HR manager offer their advice.
Applying for Two Positions in the Same Company: a Strategy to Avoid…
Some candidates are so eager to work for a company that they’ll apply for multiple jobs to increase their chances. Recruiters don’t necessarily like this method, as it can be seen to be counterproductive and excessive. Any interest in a company that feels more like stalking than a standard job application is likely to be rejected.
…Unless the Application is Exceptional and Thoughtful
You’ll never be criticized for having a favorite company, but you’ll need to explain what you like about it (the sector, the product, the vision, and so on). Recruiters understand that several job listings may interest one candidate, but you shouldn’t go overboard with applications. You should also anticipate recruiters’ reactions. They may find you indecisive, especially if your motivation isn’t clearly defined. Your profile may look too broad, and they may doubt your experience level, especially if they’re seeking a specialist. They may also question your staying power in a job if you’re already exhibiting uncertainty about your interests.
Conceal Your Double Application or Be Honest?
We’re not saying anything new here: What you put on the internet stays on the internet. Your job application is no exception. As a result, there’s no point in hiding a double application. The HR department often has an applicant tracking system (ATS)—software that helps with recruitment steps such as finding candidates, processing applications, and managing job listings—and keeps a record of your applications. Starting the process dishonestly will just put you at a disadvantage later. Conclusion: Carefully write your cover letter and concisely explain why you’re applying for two jobs.
Double Application: Similar or Different Jobs?
If you decide to apply for two jobs, consistency is key. It’s difficult to explain why you’re applying for two jobs if they’re completely different. Recruiters prefer candidates who target jobs in specific domains that correspond with their professional experience.
Sometimes, two job listings are so similar that it’s difficult for applicants to decide which one fits them best. Ludivine, an HR manager in a large company, accepts double applications when job listings haven’t been detailed enough: “Sometimes, job specifications are written pretty sparsely and if applicants don’t have all the information, they may apply for several positions. It must be consistent with their résumé and experience.”
Loïza is a community manager at Republik, a marketing agency in Canada. Before she was hired, she applied for two positions: community manager and content editor. Both jobs are in communications, but they require different skills. After considering the similar profiles described for both posts, she decided to apply for both.
Ludivine has also had experience of receiving double applications. One candidate applied to be both a project manager and a research manager. Both jobs required someone detail-oriented and with good management and communication skills. The research manager position also required solid experience as a manager. Ludivine interviewed the candidate because applying for both roles made sense: “Yes, the roles are different, but there’s coherence between the two. The two positions will work together often and it’s possible to evolve from one to the other.” In summary, stay consistent with job applications by applying for jobs in the same “career families.” Avoid applying for positions, for example, as a product manager and a business developer, unless you want to risk your application being moved from the in tray to the trash.
Applying for Two Jobs: One Application or Two?
It’s smart to personalize each job application, because multiple recruiters and/or managers may read them. Each cover letter can feature different points, as long as they don’t contradict each other. The more that jobs require specific, different skills, the more appropriate it is to make them different.
For Ludivine, this made sense because the two jobs she was advertising for were different and required different justifications and experience. Loïza, however, applied for two jobs with common features. She explained her reasoning at the beginning of her cover letter: “Because I’m interested in marketing, event planning, and social media, your recent listings for positions in community management and content editing caught my attention.” Therefore, we recommend drawing up two applications and explaining why in the cover letter.
“Because I’m interested in marketing, event planning, and social media, your recent listings for positions in community management and content editing caught my attention”—Loïza
How to Approach the First Interview
No matter what you’re interviewing for (one or both positions at the same time), you should mention right at the start that you applied for two different positions. Your interviewer obviously knows, but will appreciate your transparency. Loïza carefully presented her case:“The director of content agreed to interview me. During the discussion, she asked me if I understood the difference between the two jobs and why they both interested me. I responded by presenting her with my experience and relevant skills for each position.”
For Ludivine, if applicants are interviewed for two jobs, the interview helps determine which job corresponds best with their profile: “Our role as recruiter is to note their personality to see which job fits them best. We must also ensure that the person is able to justify both applications. That’s why pre-qualification is essential in this situation.”
The first interview allows you to learn more about the two jobs and see where you fit best, but it’s your responsibility to ask the questions that will determine your choice. By the end of the interview, you should know which job you prefer. Afterwards, the process should move forward traditionally, with a single application.
“During the discussion, she asked me if I understood the difference between the two jobs and why they both interested me. I responded by presenting her with my experience and relevant skills for each position”—Loïza
What a Double Application Says about You
First of all, it’s important to remember that this approach should not be the norm. Depending on your profile and cover letter, your application will be seen at best as atypical, and at worst, as indecisive. If applicants are serious and build a convincing case for both applications, recruiters are more likely to consider them. A smart double application can show confidence, an open mind, and a “Swiss Army knife” profile.
However, not being able to connect positions with your experience or fully understand a job specification are red lights for recruiters. “Specialized” profiles are popular, but recruiters also have an interest in finding general or multifaceted profiles that could thrive in multiple positions. This kind of “open” profile is ideal for internal employment evolutions or small companies, where multiple skills are highly appreciated.
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Photograph by WTTJ
Translated by Kate Lindsmith