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ought to I ask my boss why I used to be their second alternative for my job? — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

For the final 9 months, I’ve been doing a (paid) internship at a basis that’s geared toward latest graduates seeking to enter the nonprofit world. It’s been an incredible expertise, each within the form of work I’m doing and the folks I’m working with. I’ve additionally constantly gotten nice suggestions, to the purpose the place my boss has stated a number of instances that she’d like me to return to work for them as soon as I’ve the required diploma.

Nevertheless, whereas our inside telephone registry, I not too long ago found that my boss initially had meant to rent another person for the internship. Whereas I wouldn’t depend on this info alone, I additionally bought an unintentional look at an e mail from final yr that referred to the realm of examine of the longer term intern. This was a really particular space and matched the individual whose identify I discovered within the registry. Not being their first alternative would additionally assist clarify why their time-frame for providing me the place was barely longer than anticipated, particularly having now witnessed from the within how rapidly my boss likes to settle this stuff.

Wouldn’t it be cheap to ask both my boss or my mentor (who’s a separate individual on the identical workforce) about this? I do know there are various potential explanation why another person was initially chosen for the place. It might merely be that this individual was capable of begin sooner than I might – my begin date was later than they might have most popular. But when, for instance, there was one thing that I might have dealt with higher throughout my interview, that piece of knowledge might be very beneficial in future job searches.

Usually, I really feel like I’ve a extremely good relationship with each my boss and my mentor. Nevertheless, they by no means talked about any of this to me (I used to be not rejected through the time period the place they apparently supplied the job to another person), which is why I might really feel a bit awkward about bringing it up out of the blue. Wouldn’t it be cheap to ask considered one of them about this? And whether it is an acceptable query to ask, how would I finest body it? Or ought to I simply let this go?

I’ve learn your earlier reply to a comparable query, the place you stated the individual might carry this up associated to their future interview. Nevertheless, I really feel like my state of affairs is considerably completely different, since they don’t know I‘m conscious that I wasn’t their first alternative and since there isn’t any place with them that I might instantly be making use of for, as I want to return to high school first anyway.

Don’t carry it up.

There are tons and tons of explanation why different folks may be supplied a job earlier than you might be, and so they don’t typically imply “you sucked in particular method X however we determined to take an opportunity on you anyway.” They typically imply “we had 4 folks we’d have fortunately employed and just one slot to fill” or “you had been nice, which is why we finally employed you, however another person was simply higher” or “you had been good however, man, I actually clicked with the individual we supplied it to first” or all kinds of different issues that gained’t be helpful to you.

Asking why you had been the second alternative can come throughout as overly in want of reassurance, and as in case you don’t actually perceive how hiring works (which, being an intern, you don’t and that’s fully OK — however it might be barely off to ask). It additionally dangers placing your boss on the spot. Plus, 9 months after the hiring course of, there’s a robust likelihood your boss gained’t even bear in mind something helpful concerning the different candidates or the decision-making course of at this level.

They employed you, they’re proud of you, all is nicely that ends nicely!

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