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I recently applied for a position of technical management at a local company. Upon reviewing my history they determined I would not be well suited for the management position but they were very interested to have me at a technical spot.

Should I continue to entertain, and can I assume now that they are the ones actually pursuing me?

  • 3
    If you can't ask them directly, you probably don't want to work there. – user8365 Jun 13 '12 at 14:57
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    You need to determine the reason your skills are not suited for a management position at thier company. That will allow you to determine if you actually want to work there. If it is just a lack of experience then you should at least entertain the discussion. – Donald Jun 13 '12 at 18:20
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    What difference does it make who is actually pursuing whom? – pdr Jun 13 '12 at 20:04
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    @pdr - leverage. – user1220 Jun 14 '12 at 2:53
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You could entertain their other offer if you like it (you'd like to do the work, you are qualified, the compensation is good). If you really want to move into management, make sure you discuss that with them as a part of looking at this other offer. Say:

I like this technical position and I'll take it, and I'd also like to move into this other management position (or one like it) within n years. Can we do this?

If they are open to it, then it might be worth it.

Bear in mind that things change (as they always do) and after n years they may not be actually be able to move you into that position. You would have to accept that if you take the alternate offering.

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    Good proactive comment on the "Can I do X in Y years..." Companies won't always honor it, but a good manager will. – MathAttack Jun 14 '12 at 4:17
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Only you can determine if it is a position you are interested in. Some things to consider:

Is the job one you consider you are qualified for? I once got told I wasn't qualified for the job that I was very qualified for (but had not held the specific title) and they wanted to interview me for a job that I was in no way qualified for instead. The level of ignorance of the HR person who determined qualifiecations was so poor (She had no idea what programming languages they used or if that was even important) that I declined and have never applied at that paarticular place again.

On the other hand if the jobs sounds like something you can do, whether you should continue to pursue may be based on several things:

  • How urgently do you need to leave your current job or get employed?
  • Is the pay scale near what you are looking for?
  • Will it give you the chance to move up (espcially if that chance is missing in your current position)?
  • How badly do you want to move to management (or do you just want to escape your current situation)?
  • Does the work sound interesting?

If, after asking a few questions about this new job to get a feel for what it involves, you are not interested, then thank them politely, tell them that you are not interested in that position and move on.

Otherwise, feel free to pursue. Sometimes when they tell you that they have another position you qualify for, they are having trouble filling that position and then they may be very interested in you.

Usually when we recommend someone for a different position than the one they applied for, we see something about them that makes them a particularly good candidate from our perspective. If we didn't like you or your resume, it wouldn't matter that we had anopther position you could qualify for, we won't tell you then.

And sometimes it is a new postion we haven't started advertising for. And we would love to not have to pay recruiting costs.

So if you are interested in the position they want to talk about, you probaly have a decent chance at it.

  • Great points, HLGEM. It was pretty much what happened, their director of IT got interested. Chances of moving up seem pretty good. – user1220 Jun 14 '12 at 2:55
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In general this is a good sign about a company. If recruiting was HR driven, they would have eliminated you because you didn't fit all the checked boxes. When a company does this, it suggests they're looking for the best candidates first, and then finding the right spot second. It doesn't work for everyone (Denny's would have nobody to clean the dishes) but is a good sign for knowledge work.

When someone says, "I think you're a very good fit for Job X" you should ask yourself two questions:

1) Do they have a hidden agenda?

2) Are they seeing something in yourself that you don't see?

If the answers could possibly be "No and Yes", or even, "I don't know and I don't know" it's probably worth entertaining the offer. Have more discussions, talk to more people there, and do some introspection. Don't take a job you don't want, but as long as you're honest with everyone it is ok to continue the process.

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