A question I am often asked is whether it is worth applying for a job if it is clear that someone is acting in that job?
As applying for a job is a labour and time-intensive exercise, understandably no one wants to waste their time and effort if the outcome is largely pre-determined.
Before dismissing an opportunity because someone is acting in a role, consider these points, some of which you will need to find out about from the contact person.
- How long has the person been acting in the role? If it’s only a few months this may not be enough time to prove one’s worth.
- How much do you want this role? Enthusiasm can carry you a long way. Plus you may end up on an order of merit, even if you are not successful.
- A person acting in a job may expect to get it and undersell themselves, thereby opening up the possibility of someone else being successful.
- A person acting in a job may not want it, but goes through the motions of applying to meet others’ expectations.
- A person acting in a job may not apply for it, but you won’t know this.
- An organisation may be looking for new blood or be open to considering new blood.
- Would it be useful experience to apply anyway, regardless of whether someone is acting?
- Do you want to give the person acting in the role stiff competition?
- While it may increase the possibility, there is no guarantee a person who is acting will win a job.
Selection panels generally aim to conduct a merit-based, professional process and will therefore give serious consideration to any competitive application.
There can good reasons for not automatically disqualifying yourself from applying for a job where someone is acting in it. Talk to the contact person. You may gain a sense of whether applying is worth the effort.