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I'm interviewing for a startup/tech company (round 4 is this week) and one last round if all goes well.

I just noticed another job vacancy for a similar but senior position that I believe I qualify for.

I prefer the senior position, but I don't want to screw up and end up with zilch.

What's the best way to approach this?

  • Should I just wait until the end to see if I get offered the position?

  • Or inquire about it ASAP?

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3 Answers 3

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Should I just wait until the end to see if I get offered the position? Or inquire about it ASAP?

If you want to play it safe, then continue with the interview process. Asking about a switch to a different position may give the impression that you would not be happy if offered the current role.

It's possible that they have a set of candidates already in late rounds for that position as well, and your skillset might not be as competitive within that group. I would think if they thought you would be a good fit, they would have steered you toward that other position.

At the same time, asking a general question about the two roles and how they differ, and if there is a path to that senior role from the one you're interviewing for, could characterize you as ambitious and someone who is looking toward the longer term.

You'll have to judge based on your experience thus far if you think such a question would be welcome.

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    This seems good advice and is less risky then abandoning the chances on the original position
    – Kilisi
    Sep 21, 2020 at 0:58
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    Thank you, I really appreciate your advice and decided just to hold off unless they mention it. And I was already told theres lots of room for growth, so I’m not too worried. Sep 24, 2020 at 14:43
  • "I would think if they thought you would be a good fit, they would have steered you toward that other position." This is a reasonable inference from the situation described in the question, as startups tend to be small and not to have separate departments, but as far as generalizing this to other situations, in a large company, if you see a role in another department that you think you would be a better fit for, you shouldn't assume that anyone at the company will notice. Sep 25, 2020 at 4:28
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I completely agree with @mcknz's answer. They may tell you about this other position at the end.

I remember one time I was at an interview where they had multiple openings within the same engineering department. With my situation, I was applying to more of a software related position. At the end of the interview, they said, "You're a good fit but we have better candidates. However, we do think you would make a better fit for a hardware position instead of this position. Is this something you would be interested in?" Of course I said yes because obviously a job is better than not having one and it was more relevant to my career development.

If this is something they don't ask or mention at all after your interview and they (assuming that you do extremely well during the last round of interviews) give you a job offer, then it's up to you to accept or decline the job offer. Would you rather refuse the job offer and not be senior level for that company or accept the job offer and work your way to become one?

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It should be fine to ask about how career progression works at the company and how this ties in to things like pay during the interview process. Then you can raise this for discussion when they do make an offer.

Its not uncommon for startups to be fairly flexible about seniority of a given position. E.g. if we get a good junior person they do project a but if a good senior then they could help on project b. In these cases they'll often put out ads with different wording / titles for the same role(s) since many people will only search for senior XXX and not XXX.

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