What if a candidate wants to apply to several different roles at the same company

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Q: I have seen multiple roles for the same employer.  One is in accounting; one is in their warehouse and one is in purchasing.  I am interested in all three, with accounting being your top choice.  The way their website works, is that a candidate can only apply for one role.  How do I do this?

A: Often times a candidate is interested in a prospective employer and would be willing to take almost any role to join that employer.  The reasons are varied, and may include the location, the industry, the company’s reputation, the product or service, or the leadership team.

Job seekers have to be careful about being too flexible.  What do I mean, since flexibility is often a positive attribute?  Applying to multiple roles, particularly very different roles, can appear scattered.  If there were two roles of interest, and there may be some overlap, that may be more acceptable.  For example, assuming you were interested in both a cost accountant role, and a financial analyst role.  There are more commonalities between these two roles, vs. an accounting role and a warehouse role.

Consider researching several different employers, based on your criteria (e.g., location, industry or whatever is important to you).  Now to your question.  Research employers of interest.  You are joining a field with very specific hiring needs.  There may be more than one role, especially at a large employer, for which you may be qualified.  I quickly scanned LinkedIn using the term “accounting” in Massachusetts.  There were accounting roles available at accounting firms, as well as health care organizations and financial institutions.  They are all a bit different.  Some were hybrid, some were in Framingham, some were in Boston and some required a degree in accounting.  It is ok to apply to several of these, but I probably would not apply to all of the posted roles.  Some have different qualifications.  Some may require a CPA.  Larger companies will scan your resume and/or online application and retain your information.  This is significant benefit, as they may contact you in the future if a role becomes available at a later date.

Finally, if you are not on LinkedIn, please consider creating a profile.  Often recruiters don’t want to post a job and receive several hundred inquiries.  This happens!  Instead, we like to search using key words, like accounting, cost accounting, CPA or a specific accounting software (e.g., NetSuite or Sage).  Then, we are able to identify a handful of the most qualified candidates vs. reviewing hundreds who may just be applying to every job posting available.  There are candidates who just haphazardly apply to dozens of roles every day.  These candidate names become known to us, and it feels like these candidates are applying to any role posted online.

Be selective.  If accounting is your first choice, apply for accounting role.  If you have no interest, after a month or so, consider purchasing.  A role in a warehouse seems to be a bit of an outlier based on your interest in accounting and purchasing.  Don’t forget – don’t rely on job posting exclusively.  Your personal and professional networks will likely be a good source of leads.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.

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