Is it worth applying if someone is acting?

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.

Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.