Do I reapply for an internal role I was nearly chosen for, but ultimately rejected from? Or do I take an external offer I have? (London, UK)

hi everyone,

TL;DR: have accepted an external offer with a significant pay rise for an interesting role, but I have some doubts overall. An internal role opened up that I really really want, applied and was second choice but ultimately rejected for it. The internal vacancy is open again. Do I try to reapply, if so, how?

The too long part:
I’m currently in the process of changing jobs, and it’s my first time doing so, so I think some advice might be useful for me. I am currently a Senior Strategy/Transformation Consultant at a large firm, completely client facing, and have been working here for just over 3 years. I joined right after university, but have had some jobs during uni that were office based and give me some relevant experience.

I have accepted and signed a contract for a job at a different company recently, and handed in my notice at my current firm. The role is interesting, and they gave me an amazing offer (slightly better benefits and around 25% annual salary increase), but I have some reservations. Primarily I’m just conscious that it is a new and completely standalone role, with no immediate team or anyone else working in the same subject area. The company and the business unit are also both wayyyyy smaller than what I’m used to (currently working in a business unit of c. 400, new job is in a business unit of c. 80), which I am a bit hesitant of. However, the people seem lovely, the actual job is exciting, and it would be a development opportunity for sure in many ways.

I applied for an internal transfer while I was interviewing for this external role (and a few other roles, but those don’t matter much). The internal role would be a promotion within the firm’s grade structure, and it’s internally focused (not client facing). The internal and the external role are similar in their subject matter, but a key difference is that the internal role has people management elements (day to day managing a team of 3), and more stakeholder management than the external role – I was very open in the interview that I have some experience in both, but not as much as other candidates might, who have been in employment for longer than i have. I did also give detailed examples of directly managing people in my current role.

I interviewed for the internal role the beginning of the week two weeks ago, and felt positive but not overly hopeful. At this point, I have verbally accepted the external offer, but had the same reservations as mentioned above. They (internal hiring managers) said they’d get back to everyone that week, so when I haven’t heard by Friday I had chased the recruiter. I also able to figure out through some digging and diary stalking that they had made an offer to someone else, but they haven’t rejected / closed my application. The recruiter said she’d follow up and let me know asap. On Monday, I asked again, and got a similar response. On Tuesday morning, the Senior Manager from my interview messaged me, and we ended up talking over a call that afternoon. She explained that they had indeed made an offer to someone already, but that person ended up rejecting the offer. They really liked me, and I was their 2nd choice (she also mentioned that they had already rejected everyone else that they had interviewed), but that she just wanted to have a think because I am more junior than they had in mind and so she wanted to be sure. We had a good conversation, and she said she’d confirm first thing wednesday morning.

They rejected me on Wednesday, and they have reopened the vacancy, both internally and externally. Now, the thing is, I really really fucking want this job, and Id be really good at it – the role is literally created based on my work and research, and was created as part of an internal transformation I worked on. it’s perfectly in line with my development goals personally and professionally, I know the company super well and I know i like it overall, and would prefer to stay at the firm (I decided to leave because of my department, rather than the firm overall). I have some great opportunities here that I’m really sad to be losing, too, which the other role doesn’t have, such as formal coaching programmes, both to be a coach and a coachee, both of which I’d have had in the internal transfer role. Lastly, I know some people in this team, all of whom love it and I know they are great people to work with too.

The reopened job posting is live for another week. Do I reach out to the recruiter or the hiring manager? If yes, what do I say? Or do I just stick with my external offer, gain some new experiences, and see how I like it?

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