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I recently explored some job opportunities at a particular company, during which I connected with the hiring manager via LinkedIn and arranged an 'informal coffee chat'. Considering the competitive IT market in my country, I've been contemplating roles that skirt around the technical side. My objective is to secure a full-time role, which will then provide me the leeway to gear up for more technically intensive positions.

Unfortunately, my coffee chat started on a slightly awkward note due to a malfunctioning camera. Regardless, I continued the conversation, during which the manager kindly answered all of the queries that I had prepared.

I openly shared about my technical background and posed the question of whether or not it would be beneficial for me to apply for the role under discussion. Interestingly, the hiring manager suggested alternative roles within the company that they believed I would be better suited for. I perceived this as a subtle indication that I might not be a strong candidate for the original role, although they still encouraged me to apply, stating that even a potential rejection could be an enriching experience.

Here are the reasons for my concern:

My heavily technical background may not align with the needs of the position. The hiring manager's recommendation for alternate roles felt like a gentle dissuasion from the original role. Furthermore, the conversation's tone and the manager's style gave me an impression of rigidity, which made me feel somewhat uncomfortable.

However, I do understand that candidates should be open to roles that they perceive as suitable, even if these roles aren't heavily technical. Several software engineers in leading companies like FAANG started their careers in IT support, system administration, or business analysis roles.

So, I am now caught in a dilemma: Should I interpret the hiring manager's response as a subtle hint and refrain from applying, or am I overthinking the situation?

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I think you are overthinking this.

Firstly - as the old Cliche goes - you miss 100% of the shots you never take.

Secondly - they still encouraged you to apply. I had a situation recently where I had a sit down with a Recruitment agent, then had my first interview with a company, then a technical interview.

In the end, I didn't end up getting the position I interviewed for. The reason being was it was a relatively senior position and they used some technologies that although I knew what the tech was and how it worked, I had relatively little hands-on experience - fair enough.

But they reached out to me saying 'Look, we really like you, we think your skills are great and we want to find a way that we can hire you for our company' (paraphrased) - ironically I had already accepted a job offer at that point, so had to politely decline.

In addition and something to consider - an Interview is a two-way street, you are also interviewing the company and determining whether or not you want to work for them - it might be that you have your interview and decide that the company and their values don't align with yours or you just didn't get the right 'Vibe'.

Worst case scenario is you go to the Interview and you don't get the role you applied for, next best case scenario is that they come back with alternate roles that they think would be a better fit for your skills in their company, best case scenario you knock it out of the park (which I know you will, Random stranger on the internet believes in you - go get 'em!) and you get the job regardless.

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  • I think you're right. I don't have anything to lose. I will apply, thanks @TheDemonLord
    – shuberman
    Jul 1, 2023 at 2:14

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