should I ask my boss why I was their second choice for my job? — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

For the last nine months, I’ve been doing a (paid) internship at a foundation that is aimed at recent graduates looking to enter the nonprofit world. It’s been a great experience, both in the kind of work I am doing and the people I am working with. I’ve also consistently gotten great feedback, to the point where my boss has said multiple times that she’d like me to return to work for them once I have the necessary degree.

However, while looking at our internal phone registry, I recently discovered that my boss originally had meant to hire someone else for the internship. While I wouldn’t rely on this information alone, I also got an accidental glance at an email from last year that referred to the area of study of the future intern. This was a very specific area and matched the person whose name I found in the registry. Not being their first choice would also help explain why their time frame for offering me the position was slightly longer than expected, especially having now witnessed from the inside how quickly my boss likes to settle these things.

Would it be reasonable to ask either my boss or my mentor (who is a separate person on the same team) about this? I know there are many potential reasons why someone else was initially chosen for the position. It could simply be that this person was able to start earlier than I could – my start date was later than they would have preferred. But if, for example, there was something that I could have handled better during my interview, that piece of information could be very valuable in future job searches.

Generally, I feel like I have a really good relationship with both my boss and my mentor. However, they never mentioned any of this to me (I was not rejected during the period of time where they apparently offered the job to someone else), which is why I would feel a bit awkward about bringing it up out of the blue. Would it be reasonable to ask one of them about this? And if it is an appropriate question to ask, how would I best frame it? Or should I just let this go?

I’ve read your previous answer to a similar question, where you said the person could bring this up related to their future interview. However, I feel like my situation is somewhat different, since they don’t know I‘m aware that I wasn’t their first choice and since there is no position with them that I would immediately be applying for, as I need to go back to school first anyway.

Don’t bring it up.

There are tons and tons of reasons why other people might be offered a job before you are, and they don’t generally mean “you sucked in specific way X but we decided to take a chance on you anyway.” They generally mean “we had four people we would have happily hired and only one slot to fill” or “you were great, which is why we ultimately hired you, but someone else was just better” or “you were good but, man, I really clicked with the person we offered it to first” or all sorts of other things that won’t be useful to you.

Asking why you were the second choice can come across as overly in need of reassurance, and as if you don’t really understand how hiring works (which, being an intern, you don’t and that’s completely OK — but it would be slightly off to ask). It also risks putting your boss on the spot. Plus, nine months after the hiring process, there’s a strong chance your boss won’t even remember anything useful about the other candidates or the decision-making process at this point.

They hired you, they’re happy with you, all is well that ends well!

Source link

Receive the latest news

Ready to find your dream job?​

Receive personalized alerts to stay up to date with the latest opportunities. Don’t miss out – start your journey to success today!

By signing up now, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use and to receive emails from us.

Skip to content