That’s a weird one. Recently I’ve applied for some summer internships along with my good friend, who shares similar expertise.

There was one company we would particularly love to work for. As the job descriptions on the website was pretty vague, we’ve sent our resumes to more than one offer as they all might have been interesting for us.

After the preliminary interview it was clear that I was more attracted to position A, while my friend was better suited for position B. We have been both invited to the second step, technical screening also for both positions.

(Please take a note that the company is situated in the different country and all communication has taken place through email/Skype.)

As questions given to me and my friend were almost identical, after the interviews we talked and it was clear that I've done better in talk regarding project A and my friend did better for project B.

Today we’ve just got an email, that we are both accepted, but for the opposite offers!

At any point we didn’t say we know each other - it could’ve only been deducted from our CVs (and I informed the recruiter that there are some people I know who are applying as well).

Question is: Is there any acceptable way to suggest/ask why not the other way round?

Disclaimer: I’m aware that:

  • We should be happy that we got the jobs after all.
  • Asking such questions can lead to very awkward situations and none of us getting the position.
  • I should not be challenging their decisions.
  • If I apply for a job, I should be willing to accept it.
  • Mentioning a friend can seem unprofessional.

But it’s just hard for my engineer mind to accept so easily the sub-optimal solution, where two people get their 2nd choices.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience.

  • Show up to work and assume each other's identity :)?
    – MrFox
    Feb 12, 2014 at 16:05
  • 2
    But it’s just hard for my engineer mind to accept so easily the sub-optimal solution I don't want to be rude about this but this is the first lesson of your internship: Work is about what's optimal for the employer, not the employee. As time goes by and you become more valuable to employers, you'll be able to make more decisions based on what you want to do but on matters like this you're rather more at the mercy of the whims of others.
    – Rob Moir
    Feb 13, 2014 at 8:50

3 Answers 3


I would not consider suggesting such a thing and I would consider that anyone who did was not a serious prospect for employment. Each manager evaluated you separately and chose the person he wanted. You might have been the 22nd choice for the other postion and your friend might have been the 17th choice for your position. In that case I might go with my 2nd choice all around if you brought up switching.


In short: No, do not raise this.

This is a sure fire way to get them to recind your offer.

You interviewed with the company against a range of positions, and based on their experiences they found you suitable for a specific position A. They may have had candidates like you before who have tried Position B and not been a good fit.

Recognise that you and your friend only have 2 perspective, each others. While your employer probably has hundreds of different perspectives on these roles. Moreso, the purpose of interviewing and testing is to identify ideal candidates for positions. You have to remember that the company has more to lose from a poor candidate than the candidates themselves.

As for your quip about an engineer being unable to support a "sub-optimal solution", you are basing that on your preference, not your skill and are working from incomplete data. I would love to be an astronaut, but would be terrible at it.

  • 3
    And in the real world, sub-optimal solutions are a daily occurance even in engineering. You need to get over this particular quirk right now. Most companies don't pay for optimal solutions for everything. Business is about making a profit not about creating perfect optimal solutions, You need to be aware that good enough is what you are shooting for not perfect. Good enough, of course, is set at a higher standard for things where there is apossiblility of endangering life such as building bridges or medical devices. For the averge business software, you are generally pretty far from optimal.
    – HLGEM
    Feb 14, 2014 at 14:20

I wouldn't bring it up. Perhaps once you are both there you may have the opportunity to naturally "swap" roles based on the interest that you show in the given areas. But generally speaking, most managers would be disturbed by someone applying for a position, being hired for that position and then expressing how they ultimately would like another position with the company.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .