10

I recently found multiple job postings from a company that presumably wants to assemble a new team. While I think I would be a good fit in this team, none of the job postings really matches for me.

For example, lets assume the team has to perform tasks A,B,C and D and there is a job posting for someone to do A and B and one posting for C and D. I have experience in A,B and C, but I would prefer doing A+C more than doing A+B. This is only personal preference and, of course, every job includes tasks that you like less than others, but I know many people that really like doing B, but are less experienced in doing A than me.

So I see two options:

  1. Apply for one of the jobs or contact them directly and tell them that would prefer doing A+C, hoping they will reassign the tasks.

  2. Apply for job A+B and promote my (existing) experience in doing A and B. This would increase my chances to get the job if they are less flexible, but could lead to me doing B while I would prefer doing C.

Is choosing the first option promising or would it significantly decrease my chances to get a job at this company? How to address the topic so that I do not appear too picky, but that I will work more motivated when doing A+C?

29

As a marker for you to reject applying for jobs? Well, depends how desperate you are. I'd advise no, but if companies are fawning over you, you can afford to be picky.

In the application cover letter? No

At the start of the interviewing process? No

During the interviewing process? Yes, if it seems like you sold yourself well and it's coming to a successful end

Before the interviewing process is over? Yes.

This is like selling houses—don't start by pointing out all the things that are not according to the customers wishes. Show them the good stuff first.

First you show them that you are a good fit for the job. After you have made them interested, you can start moulding the job to fit you better—at the risk of making yourself uninteresting again.

15

Talking about what you don't like is a quite a negative message (especially when it's about tasks that they need doing) so rather than phrasing it as "I don't like doing B" instead I would apply for the role that most closely matches your desired role and in your application/interview then talk up your skills and enthusiasm for C and let them reach their own conclusions about whether they would be better off re-jigging the responsibilities of the roles.

  • 8
    You just need to show how enthusastic you are about A+C – everyone May 15 '18 at 10:17
  • 1
    I disagree, if the employer cannot handle constructive negative messages (the constructive part being that you can do C instead of B), you'd run into a problem first time you don't like something. – Tomáš Zato May 15 '18 at 17:41
4

Follow the hiring process

  • Do not apply for more than one position (this can mess up HR). Pick the one you are best qualified for and apply for that, so you can get to the interview.

  • Do not circumvent the process and call anyone to try to renegotiate the roles and responsibilities. The odds of you reaching the right person are very small, and the odds they will listen to a stranger are nil.

Never talk about what you hate

This rule applies whether you're interviewing or after you've been hired. Never talk about hating tasks. What would your workplace be like if everyone complained all the time? It's poor form. Everyone has to do tasks they dislike, and nobody wants to hear about it.

You can talk about loving the opposite, if you need to, e.g. instead of hating fixing bugs you can say you love working on new code.

Apply for the team, not the job

If they're building a team, you can bet that the same managers are looking at the resumes for both jobs. They have to fill so many head count and cover so many skill areas, and it is never a perfect fit; you can bet on it that they are looking at the whole pool of applications. So don't worry about applying for the "wrong" position. The goal is to get seen to begin with. They will put you where you need to go.

Be the wild card

By the way, when building a poker hand, the most valuable card is the wild card, and when building a team, they love applicants that can do it all. Be that ace of spades. If you end up in that position and do well, you will be able to redefine your role later.

3

Apply for both jobs, but customise your CV/resume to highlight your skills in A and C, but don't discard referencing any B/D skills and experience that you might have.

Hopefully the hiring manager will see that you have a particular AC skill set and may entertain the idea of changing the roles around if you end up being a worthwhile proposition for them.

It's unlikely that they'll reassign the roles based on an general inquiry from you.

If you get one of the roles, but they don't overtly change the roles to suit you, you might be able to work on that on the inside rather than forcing the issue before you start.

1

I'd only do so if you can sell it as some kind of advantage to carve up the roles this way (not simply because you want it this way). If they employed someone to do A+C, how hard would it be to find a B+D person? If the answer is "very hard, this combo is bad", then the company is not likely to go for it, and may well be aware of this situation, hence the splits.

+1 to waiting further through the interview process, if possible. At which point you've hopefully demonstrated your best strengths, and they're strong enough to make you still worthwhile. I have been witness to companies "morphing" roles, if someone's skills are strong enough to justify it.

At the end of the day, if they don't come up with a job that appeals, you can always decline if you really don't want to do A+B (or not for the money they're offering).

1

Yes, absolutely depending on what those items are. For example, if you don't like to travel and it is a requirement then asking how often, how far, how much, and what accommodations they have are reasonable.

Ask it in a way to determine how often, how much, and what they expect of those tasks. Then determine if it is something you can live with.

1

As others have said, apply for the position as advertised that best fits what you can do and would like to do.

And, as others have said, Don't talk about what you would prefer not to do. Show your enthusiasm for A, not your relative lack of enthusiasm for B.

Do ask about the expected balance between A and B - if the job is 90% B, and you took it, you might be more likely to leave quickly.

I think you can best sell your interest in C by using it as an example of your flexibility, your interest in the company, and your desire to be a team player.

By stating that you noticed the company had multiple positions open, and that they looked like they'd be in the same area, you're showing a level of interest in the company above and beyond simple "I need a job to pay my bills". Then, extrapolating that into how your skill set might be an even better fit for the company's needs also shows them you're thinking outside the box, and about your place in a team.

Most interviews will have a place to talk about longer term goals - that's the place to emphasize your interest in A and C. You don't need to talk down B - just emphasize that you'd like to keep working at A, and move into also doing C.

You never know - the company might have another candidate applying for one of the positions who really wants to do B and D, making you a perfect fit!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.