I've applied for position A at a big company. They replied that they would see me in position B (the same level, a different focus) and asked whether I'm interested.

I'm not convinced I'm interested in B. Actually, I'm quite sure I'm not. However, I figure that positions are sometimes described unrealistically. I've already had interviews during which a position that was good on paper resulted to be something totally different. So maybe it happens also the other way round?

That's why I would like to go to the interview. However, I'm not sure if by going there I don't risk being excluded from future applications for positions related to A or other areas, but not related to B.

What is the right strategy here? Should I tell them in advance that I probably won't be interested but would love to learn more anyway?

Of course the question is different from a question whether a person should go to an interview for a position they are interested in, but wouldn't accept just now. These are two different situations.

  • 2
    What do you lose by being honest to the HR/recruitment at Company A and telling them what you wrote here?
    – Isaiah3015
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:06
  • Would it be possible that after a period of time in position B, that you might be able to transfer into position A? Might be good to find out if interdepartmental transfers happen.
    – curt1893
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:13
  • @Isaiah3015, even if I'm honest, this doesn't mean everything will be fine. It's a big company with many recruiters, so even if explain the situation to one of them, another one could see in the future that I've already participated in the recruitment process for B.
    – BigMadAndy
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:20
  • With nothing to lose, you'll likely get accepted for position B since you'll be more relaxed in the interview.
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


Well, are you sure or are you not that you don't like position B?

If you are sure, then you are going to waste your time and theirs in a process you know you won't complete and reject the moment you get an offer.

If you still want to know more about position B, I suggest you carry on with the process. During the next interview learn the most you can about position B, so you can then know if you consider it taking it or not.

  • Absolutely this - my advice is to be (fairly) honest in the interview that you applied for A, and want to understand more about B. One, honesty is good, Two - getting into a proper 2-way dialogue in an interview can be fantastic for rapport.
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:27
  • Yes, honesty is good @Dan, and surely a good dialogue during interviews can be rewarding. However, I'd suggest not to disclose to B that you have applied for A (nor the other way) or at least not just like that, as that will give the impression you are taking them as the "backup option" and lose interest on OP in favor of a more engaged candidate.
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 18:03
  • My understanding was that he'd applied to the company and they'd offered him a different position, so I was working on the assumption the interviewers would know anyway
    – Dan
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 20:34
  • True, @Dan in that case there should be no problem
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 20:42

I am currently working on a position I did not apply for, and am happy it worked out this way. I do not think you risk anything, but there is certainly a lot to gain.

Originally I applied for a position A. While waiting for a reply, the company posted a new job offer B, which I was also interested in. I called HR and asked whether it was possible to send another application for B, and was told not to worry: During interviews, it is common to check if there are other, more suitable positions. In the end I decided to neither go for A or B, but for C, which came up only during the interview process. One year later, I am still happy with that.

When re-reading the job offer for my current position C even now, I would still not apply for it. Often it is not easy to describe in a few sentences what a position is about, what you will do on a daily basis, what there is to learn, what opportunities are connected to it, and so on. It is far easier to gain that kind of insight during an interview.

Additionally, there is a lot to learn about yourself from this. Why did the company think that you are better suited for B? Maybe they are correct. What do you lack to be offered position A? This is something you can work on.

And finally, I do not think there is a risk here. You stated from the very beginning that you are interested in A. Nothing changes about that, just because you state that you might also interested in B.


It is up to you (obviously). If you want to get a foot in the door, get some face time with people at the company, and get some interview practice, then go right ahead.

If you don't want any of that and are sure you don't want the role, then be honest with them and decline because it would be a waste of everyone's time if you know you don't want the spot. Let them decide from there if they want to entertain you in spot A or if they really need to fill spot B and they need to go look elsewhere.

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