Does HR Share Applications?

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Do HR professionals cross reference the applications they receive with other job openings they have? Since these positions might have skills in common, does HR cross reference applicants with the openings to see if someone who applied for a role would also be a fit for some other role?

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I received a wonderful question.  “Do HR professionals cross reference applications they receive with other openings that they have?”

The person that is writing is a technology professional and they continue on by saying, “since some positions have skills in common, do HR professionals cross reference applications with other jobs they have available and of applied for a role that might also be a fit for some other role?”

I’m going to give you the most blunt direct answer because I’m in no BS kinda guy.  The answer is… It depends!

I know what they should do but here’s the practicality to it.  Each HR person is being graded on their performance against certain metrics that the firm has defined for them.  Their job is to fill positions, not refer to someone else who feels positions.

It depends on how the system was set up.  It depends on which person and which job you applied to.  Let me go back to my 1st point about contacting the firm.  Never EVER apply for a job through an applicant tracking system because that just puts you into the dreaded black hole.  That means your resume is dependent upon whether the data dictionary (the definition of terms set up in the applicant tracking system) and your resume matchup.

Assuming that they do you actually get to a human being, the next thing is whether that person will actually think of a colleague or focus on their own job 1st?  The answer is they are going to focus own their job first, then, MAYBE refer you to that other person in their HR organization for consideration.  After all, they get no points for this; the other person does.  Thus, they go sequentially rather than concurrently.  After all, they don’t want to have 2 or 3 managers competing over one person.  That makes it harder for the firm so they go sequentially evaluating for one job before releasing you for a 2nd, or possibly, 1/3. From there, it is always going to be hit or miss, depending upon your performance on the 1st interview.

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Let’s assume you do well on the 1st interview and get to the hiring manager (or get through the technical interview and being brought back to meet the hiring manager, to use the example from the original question) after getting through the technical interview and they assess you for where your strengths really are, you get to the hiring manager and then are turned down.  From there, they go back to your strengths as perceived on the technical interview and MAYBE you get referred to the other job.  MAYBE you don’t get referred because your technical skills were really best in that 1st area and not as good a fit for the 2nd or 3rd group.

Maybe you washed out on the 1st interview because you steak up the joint on what you claim to be very good at and they’ll see a reason to bring you back for something else.

As a result, there are way too many variables to count on HR to refer you for another position.  Those variables start off with:

  1. Whether your resume actually makes it through
  2. They’re going to qualify you for one job at a time rather than multiples.
  3. How your performance was on the 1st interview.
  4. The mood of the HR person as to whether or not they make the referral

I know some people would disagree with me.  “I would definitely refer.”  That is not my experience.  I have heard stories from HR people who are not going to make the referral because it is not in their interest to do so.

There are way too many variables.  I wouldn’t count on it.

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