Should I apply for a job I can't accept?

(49 Posts)
cheesemebaby Mon 19-Nov-12 11:41:52

A position has come up in an excellent organisation, which I am qualified for. Normally positions advertised require 3+ years more experience than I currently have.

Unfortunately, even if I were to be successful in my application, I can't back out of my current contract until a certain date. There are financial penalties and to be perfectly honest I wouldn't want to, my current employers have invested a lot in me and I'd like to fulfill the agreeement. Plus I like this job, but professionally the other job would be much more valuable for me in the long term.

AIBU to apply even if I can't accept the job? I think it would be helpful to get an insight into how their recruitment process works and give me an advantage when applying again in the future. Or would this piss off the organisation and be a black mark against me when re-applying?

Has anyone ever done this and had a good/bad experience?

HR people and people who know about this sort of thing, help!

mumblechum1 Mon 19-Nov-12 11:43:04

Why waste their time and yours? I don't understand.

squeakytoy Mon 19-Nov-12 11:44:13

You could easily be shooting yourself in the foot if you ever intend to apply to this organisation again. I wouldnt risk it.

DontmindifIdo Mon 19-Nov-12 11:45:05

If you won't accept if they offer you the job under any circumstances, then don't apply, you'll be the one who 'messed them about'. However, is there no ways underwhich you'd accept? What if they offered to buy you out of your current contract? Would they do that?

Softlysoftly Mon 19-Nov-12 11:47:16

It really won't help you in the future if you gain then reject the job, they will always think it wasn't good enough for you last time round.

The only conceivable thing I can think is to apply and be straight about when you could take it at the end of your current contract (if we are talking months not years) that way it's their choice to see you or not and you are on their radar.

WilsonFrickett Mon 19-Nov-12 11:47:53

It's a risk. If you get the job and then don't take it, you'll be the one who messed them around. If I was recruiting and someone applied, went all the way through the process and then said 'oh sorry, I can't actually accept' I'd be fuming and it would prejudice me against you in the future.

However, if you don't get it, but just get so far, a) as you say, you'll gain valuable insight into the business and b) if you were to re-apply in the future I'd think 'oh brilliant, cheese is committed and tenacious.'

So it could work either way. But it is a big risk...

TennisFan42 Mon 19-Nov-12 11:48:50

How long is your current contract due to run for? If you are the right candidate they might be willing to wait for you. Also, interviews are always good to give you experience so I'd go for it.

avivabeaver Mon 19-Nov-12 11:49:34

Do not do it.

The organisation I worked for would never interview again (kept records for 2 years? but the Head of HR had a memory like an elephant.) Really don't. If it is meant to be, a vacancy will come up when you can apply for it.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 19-Nov-12 11:52:55

Why on earth would you do that? To prove to yourself you could get the other job? Bit odd.

OhTheConfusion Mon 19-Nov-12 12:06:01

Unless you are upfront and state that you would need a financial incentive package to be bought out of your current contract then YABU.

If you are shortlisted for interview then it is at the cost of another applicant who could be currently out of work or desperate to re-locate etc. That is quite unfair.

cheesemebaby Mon 19-Nov-12 12:06:32

Thanks for all replies!

The job is super competitive and will probably have lots of applicants. Although I have the right qualifications/experience, there's a very good chance I won't get it.

So, basically, the consenus is no- or, if I must, be straight with them from the outset?

Maybe I'll email HR and ask their opinion. Good idea?

squeakytoy Mon 19-Nov-12 12:07:51

I would email your CV to them, and say that you would have love to have applied however your current role prevents you from being able to do so at the present time, and you would like them to keep your CV for future reference, or something along those lines..

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 19-Nov-12 12:09:09

I think honesty is the only policy here.

If it's a very competitive work environment, then any potential black marks against your name won't help in the future when you might be in a position to move.

There's no harm in asking, but you really do need to be open and up front with all involved in my opinion.

What squeaky says.

I think to apply knowing you won't accept it unreasonable and a waste of people's time.

Popumpkin Mon 19-Nov-12 12:14:23

It depends how you want to portray yourself to this company - presumably not as an inconsiderate timewaster?

PanickingIdiot Mon 19-Nov-12 12:19:17


You might never be offered it, but it's good CV and interview practice and might get your name noticed by the organisation. There's no guarantee that you'll get it, so no point in putting the cart before the horses.

In the event that you are offered it, you can explain your agreement with your present employer - the new organisation might offer to negotiate something with them if they really, really want you. Even if it doesn't work out, it is your right to pursue your career and explore your options. It will be very, very odd for an employer to hold it against you - if they would, that's probably a company not worth working for.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 12:20:15

I only have a very small business but in the past have interviews people who have gone on to decline the job which has caused a lot of hassle.

If they apply again I won't consider them.

PanickingIdiot Mon 19-Nov-12 12:25:49

I bet you would if you really needed their skills and had no other takers.

cheesemebaby Mon 19-Nov-12 12:34:44

inconsiderate timewaster- ouch! I know this is AIBU, but I'd like to point out that I haven't actually applied for this job!

I'm canvassing opinions about the ramifications of this course of action before I take it, which I would argue is actually pretty considerate and may well prevent me from wasting mine/other people's/ other jobseeker's time...

cumfy Mon 19-Nov-12 12:35:09

Go for it.

You never know what they might offer package, start-date wise.
You can weigh up their offer and any counter-offer your current employer make if and when they offer you the position.

PanickingIdiot Mon 19-Nov-12 12:48:29

This 'inconsiderate timewaster' argument is rubbish.

Say they get 20 people applying for the job. They only have 1 position. So the other 19 people are timewasters? How dare they apply when they aren't going to end up working for the company? Nonsense. If anything, it would be the company wasting the applicants' time who don't turn out to be successful.

An interview is a two-way process, in order to mutually explore the possibility of working together. It's not a promise of a new job and not a promise of immediate and unconditional availability for the candidate's part either.

Bottom line is, if you are interested, apply. See what happens, take it from there.

Popumpkin Mon 19-Nov-12 12:48:42

I didn't say you were an inconsiderate timewaster. I said that is how you risk portraying yourself if you apply for a job you have no intention of accepting.

PanickingIdiot Mon 19-Nov-12 12:51:24

OK, that's a fair point. Definitely don't portray yourself as having no intention of accepting it, that would be pointless.

First they have to make an offer to you. Then you can consider it, explain any constraints you may have, and see if they can be overcome.

NewKateMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 19-Nov-12 13:00:06

Hi everyone,

We'll be moving this to Employment Issues soon, at the OP's request.

toofattorun Mon 19-Nov-12 13:02:01

Hi, I worked in HR and there is no way we would offer you employment if you had previously turned us down.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 19-Nov-12 13:19:53

Is that legal toofattorun?

cumfy Mon 19-Nov-12 13:25:09

Would someone in HR ever do something unlawful ? hmm

CinnabarRed Mon 19-Nov-12 13:25:30

I must be being thick - I still don't understand what's in it for you to apply (even leaving aside the risk of pissing them off, which I would judge to be high)?

cumfy Mon 19-Nov-12 13:34:46

Don't understand the naysaying on this.

There is nothing amiss with a current employer having a good job and another employer offering a potentially better one.
A conversation ensues.

What's not to like ?

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 13:35:55

It is not unlawful

Yes an interview is a two way process but having had your offer if a job turned down there us no way I would give a second chance unless the applicant had very sting reasons for the change eg a circumstance which only came up at intervew was the reason for declining and that circumstance was no longer there

When I employ people I need to be able to rely on them. Barring sex/pregnancy and race reasons I can interview & employ who I like

If I was really really desperate I might get someone in as a temp for a couple of weeks but I wouldn't employ them permanently or waste my time interviewing them again if they had previously declined.

StillSquiffy Mon 19-Nov-12 13:36:21

Depends on the circs. I work in an area with very few specialists. Sometimes it takes up to a year to find the right person. Sometimes we'd be happy to wait for the right person, and sometimes we need the 'good enough' person in a hurry, instead. In my area it is also not unusual to see 6 mth and 3 mth notice periods.

What is absolutely bloody essential though is that if there is a deadline or if it is clear that they want to fill the role by 'x' date and you cannot make that, you must be clear in your covering letter that you are very interested in role, but are committed with your current client until whatever specific date you have in mind; you hope however that you will still be considered for the role, given your expertise in A, B and C.

That way you don't mess them around and also subliminally tell them that (a) you are an in-demand woman, and (b) you are proferssional and loyal. Win-win.

If someone applied knowing they couldn't take the job and didn't fess up till offer stage, they'd be blacklisted.

StillSquiffy Mon 19-Nov-12 13:38:38

Should have said 'if someone applied to my firm ...." it's not a generic thing that always happens (though it would happen in any of the firms I have worked for)

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 13:39:03

I recently interviews 3 people for a job to start on x date.

One if them didn't tell me until I contacted her referee thatxshecwas on holiday on the starting date and the other told me at interview she had another commitment on that date.

The third person got the job.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 13:39:38

Ps excuse typing errors. On phone.

cumfy Mon 19-Nov-12 13:43:43

But pictures what if the current employer made a better counter-offer ?

to be honest i would apply.

There is no harm in testing the waters if you are planning on moving job in the future anyway...

They can only show interest or not...

DontmindifIdo Mon 19-Nov-12 13:46:22

Counter offers are common and are a different issue - that normally ends with no hard feelings from both sides, especially if the person who accepts the counter offer does give the firm trying to recruit them the opportunity to match/beat it.

What looks like "messing you about" is pulling out of the process at a late stage (when time and money has been invested in hiring you) for reasons you could reasonably have been expected to think about before getting to the offer stage.

cheesemebaby Mon 19-Nov-12 13:49:03

CinnaberRed- to get a better idea of the recruitment process, and get feedback on interview if I get through to interview stage. So I'd be at an advantage when I apply for one of their more standard, x years of experience required, roles in a few year's time.

Although I don't think I will, given the responses on this thread....

Also, I am simply very tempted by the job. If I was offered it I'd be sorely tempted to buy my own way out of my contract and take up the new one.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 13:49:08

In all three cases there was no current employer in that it is a part time industry with people working a few days for one company and a few for another etc

Pay rates are pretty set ( we pay above most others). Not into bidding wars. I iffercwhatvi offer if that's not enough fine, bye.

ByTheWay1 Mon 19-Nov-12 13:49:49

I recently had 5 interviews for positions within a month - I was offered 3 of them.... (so much for there being no jobs out there) I made each employer aware that I was actively looking for work - and they were happy for that to be so.

I accepted the one that I wanted the most... I wrote to the other 2 declining their posts due to accepting another elsewhere - one phoned back and actually asked me to reconsider - I replied I could not - but they have said that if I do need employment in the future I should get in contact....

Do people really only look for one job at a time? If I need a job I go all out and apply to anywhere that appeals to me.... it appears to work.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 13:50:20

Dintmindifido explains my feelings well

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 13:51:13

Bytheway. I would have no problem with that other than I would know you preferred another employer to me.

cumfy Mon 19-Nov-12 14:02:11

I think the other issue to be aware of is that employers "fish" as well as employees.
Jobs are offered which aren't "really" there or only available to the perfect candidate.
"Thanks but no thanks" letters are sent to all the interviewees and the better ones are kept on file.

Go ahead and join the game!

CinnabarRed Mon 19-Nov-12 14:09:22

I guess I'm just a little surprised that you would feel any need to understand the recruitment process better - but then I work in a very established industry where all the interviews are pretty similar.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 14:15:07

And our interviews consist of me observing someone doing the job, followed by an informal chat.

PanickingIdiot Mon 19-Nov-12 14:30:32

when time and money has been invested in hiring you

That's an argument I'll never understand.

How does a company invest "time and money" in interviewing me?

The interviewers do it in their working hours, for which they are paid. Especially in the case of the HR person, interviewing IS their job, but I expect it's part of a manager's responsibilities as well. The process serves the interests of the business. It's not a favour they are doing to me.

It is actually me, the applicant, who invest time and money in the process, because I'm not paid for getting interviewed, it's not part of my job, I do it in my free time and at my own expense. The company doesn't invest anything. I do. If I don't get the job, THEY wasted MY time.

Turning down a job offer isn't any more outrageous than the company deciding not to offer it to me in the first place.

picturesinthefirelight Mon 19-Nov-12 15:02:09

Interviewing costs me a lot of time a d money. Time I could be spending running my business. Disruption to the children I work with (as I want to always observe the person working with them).

PanickingIdiot Mon 19-Nov-12 15:29:39

Interviewing IS part of running your business. The fact that you'd rather spend that time doing something else is irrelevant - probably the candidates would also rather spend their time doing something else, but then they wouldn't get a job and you wouldn't find anyone to do the work you need done.

Presumably the financial penalties you will incur for leaving early are due to a training course, perhaps a new employer would be able to meet this cost if they really wanted you and your experience. Perhaps you could mention this in your application letter and let them make the decision.

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