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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

Is it bad to apply for multiple jobs at the same company?

9 min read
Is it bad to apply for multiple jobs at the same company?
You will likely apply to plenty of jobs during a job search. But what if a company posts several job listings and you feel qualified for more than one of them? Is it bad to apply for multiple jobs at the same company?

If you work in certain business functions, it may be that you can take on different roles. With a varied skill set, you will likely have a choice of career paths. Most of the time, these potential roles will appear at different companies. Every now and again, however, you may see two interesting roles that are being advertised simultaneously at the same company. 

If you feel like you would like to explore the possibility of interviewing for both, is it bad to apply to multiple jobs at the same company?

On the face of it, if you are qualified for the roles, there is nothing wrong with applying for a couple. If you really want to work for a certain company, you may be prepared to compromise to become an employee. On the other hand, are there risks with this approach? Could you apply to more than two jobs? What if a second job becomes available while you are in the interview process for the first? Think carefully before pressing that apply button twice. You could end up causing yourself more problems than the double opportunity is worth. In this blog, we will investigate:

  • Should you only apply to one job?
  • The pros and cons of applying to multiple positions
  • Tips on applying to multiple roles

Should you only apply to one job?

Popular advice would suggest to only apply to one role at a company at a time. In theory, if they consider you a fit for another role, the HR representative may send your resume over to the respective hiring manager. 

In practice, within bigger companies, this sequential approach may mean that you are approaching the end of the hiring process for one role and only at the beginning for another. If an initial interview is with HR, they can decide if you are suited to different roles, but if it is with a hiring manager then it is unlikely that they will put you forward for another role if they do not think you are suited to their role. If they think that you are good, they definitively won’t want to give another manager the chance to hire you.

By all means, apply to the job that most suits your skills and career ambitions, but if there are a couple of roles that are closely matched, then there is nothing stopping you from applying to both.

The pros and cons of applying to multiple jobs at the same company

Applying to multiple jobs with the same company is not a decision that should be made lightly. Take a moment to weigh up your situation and consider the benefits of putting more than one egg in your basket.

5 Advantages of applying for multiple jobs

  1. Increases opportunities for employment. Applying to various roles increases your chances of being hired. Even if you are not a perfect fit for one role, you might be ideal for another.
  2. Demonstrates enthusiasm for the company. Showing interest in different roles can reflect your enthusiasm for the company, making you a more appealing candidate.
  3. Broadens skill exposure. Applying to different jobs allows you to showcase a diverse set of skills, potentially making you suitable for other roles within the company.
  4. Builds networking opportunities. Engaging with different departments during the application process can expand your professional network within the company.
  5. Brings insight into company culture. Applying to multiple jobs provides more insight into the company's culture and operations, helping you determine if it's the right fit for your career.

5 Disadvantages of applying for multiple roles

  1. Risks you seeming unfocused. Applying for various roles may make you appear indecisive or unfocused to hiring managers. It might seem like you lack a clear career direction.
  2. Dilutes application strength. Tailoring your application for specific roles shows commitment. Applying to many positions could dilute the quality of your applications.
  3. Opens the potential for negative perception. Some recruiters might perceive applying to multiple jobs as a sign of desperation rather than enthusiasm, which could negatively impact their perception of your candidacy.
  4. Increases competition. By applying to multiple roles, you may increase your competition, especially if other candidates are more qualified—thus wasting your time.
  5. Management complexity. Keeping track of multiple applications, interview schedules, and follow-ups within the same company can become complex and overwhelming, increasing the risk of errors or miscommunication.

Tips on applying to multiple jobs at the same company

If you have thought through the potential risks and rewards, it is time to come up with a plan for how to approach the situation. Closing your eyes and hoping for the best is not a strategy.

Ensure that you are overqualified

There is nothing worse than applying for multiple roles when you are not quite qualified enough for one of them. This will cause doubt in the minds of both hiring managers and you will seem desperate rather than discerning. Rate your chances of getting each role—if your percentage is not over 80% for each of them, consider just applying for one. 

There is nothing wrong with a speculative application for just one role where you don’t rate your chances so highly. You never know how you will get on with the hiring manager.

Be clear on your motivations

When you have received a couple of rejections on your job search journey, it is only natural to want to spread the net a little further. This is perfectly understandable and, by all means, ramp up the volume of applications. The issue comes when you’re considering applying for multiple jobs at the same company. Are you sure that you are equally motivated for both roles or do you just want to tip the odds in your favor? It might not work out that way if you apply for too many roles on the periphery of your career ambitions.

Consider using multiple channels

If you are applying to two roles at the same company, it is likely that your resume will be listed twice on their ATS. Ideally, you should tailor your resume and cover letter for each role, so it may be worth applying through different channels such as LinkedIn for one of the roles to ensure that each application is treated separately. It may also be worth connecting with the hiring managers on LinkedIn and letting them know that you have applied.

Personalize the applications

It goes without saying that your resume and cover letter should be personalized for each role. Sure, your motivation for joining the company might be the same, but if these documents are not suitably tailored it might seem that you are applying indiscriminately. 

Look at each job description and pick out the unique aspects of each role. Scour your career history and come up with the most unique accomplishments. If you do a good job at pinpointing your unique fit with each role you will have more chances of progressing in the application process. Ideally, you would wish to have final interviews in each role.

Don’t mention it immediately

You might choose not to mention the fact that you have applied to another role immediately. There is no need to complicate the initial stages of any interview process with a hiring manager. When it is clear that they have decided to move you forward in the process it would be worth mentioning, while at the same time reiterating just how much you want this particular job. In any case, HR should be aware of both applications.

Consider the consequences

There is a real risk that only one version of your resume and cover letter will be saved by the ATS if you apply to two different roles—probably the latest version. Active communication with the HR department may help to avoid this scenario.

There are also interpersonal consequences between hiring managers if they end up fighting for you. If you sense that you are doing well in each interview process, you should be upfront with your thoughts about each role.

Applying to multiple jobs at the same company may also make you seem somewhat desperate —why would you be hedging your bets otherwise? Some hiring managers may also be looking for unwavering motivation. Applying for a second role may cause them to wonder just how dedicated you are. 

Key takeaways

It is perfectly possible that you might wish to apply to two roles at your dream company, so don’t let simplistic advice deter you. If you have the right experience and motivations, you have every right to explore your options. Get those hiring managers fighting over you.

  • Think through the pros and cons of your situation.
  • Ensure that you are overqualified for both roles.
  • Personalize the applications—be honest with your motivations.
  • Manage the process carefully with all concerned.
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