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I recently started interviewing for a software development position. I answered all the technical questions perfectly and had a great conversation about my role with one of the senior engineers. Maybe I could have answered one question in more detail, but overall things seemed to go fine.

In a followup e-mail, the recruiter I had been talking with told me I would be continuing the interview process but for a different position than the one I originally applied.

Is this at all uncommon and does this typically mean anything? Should I ask why I'm no longer being considered for the role to which I applied? I'm not really sure how to interpret this change or course and would like some guidance.

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    Is this a higher or lower position? It could mean either they considered you were overqualified or underqualified for the position you interviewed for, or that position was taken by someone else and they want to offer you another available role. – Charmander Nov 5 '15 at 20:26
  • I believe it is more or less the same position I have now. Still, they didn't give me any reason for changing their mind (should I ask?) – user43740 Nov 5 '15 at 20:27
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    Yes, feel free to ask why they offered a different position all of a sudden. They might give you a random reason, though. – Charmander Nov 5 '15 at 20:28
  • @rookie, Thanks for the accept! While I appreciate your trust in my answer, we generally encourage people to wait at least a day before accepting an answer. You never know what others might post that could be much better than what I have! I won't be at all offended if you decide to retract the accept and save it for later. – David K Nov 5 '15 at 21:18
  • @DavidK: Sounds good! I will say that you've given me very good advice! – user43740 Nov 5 '15 at 22:02
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You mention in your comment that the new position is more or less the same as the first one. I wouldn't be too worried about it, but definitely ask what the difference is between the two roles*. My guess is that this is a similar position but within a different team or department. They probably decided that you would be a better fit there after learning more about you during initial talks. So make sure you fully understand the changes, but don't worry too much. They do still want to talk to you after all!

*Note: I wouldn't phrase it as "Why am I no longer being considered?" To me that either sounds like you're accusing them of something, or like you're panicked and worried. You want to come off as comfortable and confident while still getting the information you need.

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Any time we have done this it generally meant:

  • We had a job that was harder to fill or that we needed more urgently that you were qualified for and that we really liked your chances of getting that job.
  • We liked you in general but did not think you were qualified for what you applied for but had an alternative suggestion. You would be more on par with all the other applicants who came from other sources in that case.
  • The manager for the second job liked you more than the manager for the original job did if they both happened to be interviewing.
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