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I'm interviewing for a senior level support escalations role at a social media company, and the interview went well. I observed that the interviewer seemed excited about my background and my answers resonated, and she'd like to move me to the next stage.

However, she mentioned offhand that I may enjoy being in a more deeply customer facing role on X team.

I agree, although I would knock both roles out of the park since my current role specializes in both, with an even split.

But I feel like I'm best served in this interview to push back and say "no I think this is the best role for me." But I don't know how to say that since I think both are good in their own way.

How to approach?

Update: To those new to job interviews like I am, here's what happened after I indicated my interest in the other role. It was met with complete positivity, and they mentioned they actually encourage this as they "want to find the best fit for you as long as you're willing to have multiple interviews. I moved on to the next round of the job I was initially pursuing."

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    I guess I don't understand the conundrum. Which role do you prefer? Tell the interviewer that. Where is the difficulty?
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 22:47
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    @joeqwerty I actually prefer X role instead of the one I'm interviewing for, but they're not actively hiring for it. I'm more interested in getting in the door than being choosy and I'm worried that sharing this with the interviewer will hurt my candidacy for the current one. Wouldn't they want someone who's focused on one role?
    – John
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 22:53
  • @John Are you SURE they are no longer interviewing? Have your contact to confirm, while mentioning the recruiters comments? Commented Jun 6, 2022 at 13:57
  • @GregoryCurrie thanks all. It looks like they posted a role for that team the day after my interview, so I'm looking into it.
    – John
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 0:12
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    Inflexibility is not an endearing trait. Declining the possibility this early is exactly what that would show sometime in an interview. Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 13:20

2 Answers 2

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If you would be genuinely interested in the other role, say so. At this stage don't shut yourself off from either role.

The response you quoted of "no I think this is the best role for me" is doing exactly that - closing yourself off from a position that you might be good at and might enjoy. Expressing interest in another position isn't going to be a negative for the position you are interviewing for. And it's not unheard of for an interviewer to not be part of the department you are interviewing for - they might be responsible for the other department, and you will have just said to them "I don't want that position".

However you also don't want to shut yourself out from the position you are interviewing. Say something like "Yes, that's a position I'd be interested in". If pushed say you'd like to know more details of both.

If it's not too late, get back to the company and say that you had heard there was an opening for the "more deeply customer facing" role, and say that you would also be interested in that. And in future I recommend never saying you are not interested in a role you might actually be interested in.

In response to comments, this is unlikely to be a test. Interviews are very rarely that devious. However it's also possible to hurt your chances of the first role by expressing too much enthusiasm for the other - for example by saying "Oh yes! That would be a much better role. I'd really much rather have that one than this one."

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  • Thanks, good thing I didn't say no to the other role yet! The paranoid part of me thought it may be some sort of test since the other role would be more fun and this role is, per them, "not that flashy." Which I don't actually care about anyway.
    – John
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 0:14
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There was no need to push back or say anything. Just concentrate on the interview. If they want you for such a role let them approach you formally when they actually have an opening.

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  • If you want the other role, then you should do something more than just sit back and hope they offer you it. They may be expecting the OP to apply, or at least express interest, before they do anything.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 13:28

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