Due to the experience on my resume, many potential employers feel that I would be a better fit in analytics rather than an engineering position. This is usually communicated to me either during the interview or through e-mail prior. However, I would strongly prefer to do software engineering (hence why I am applying for that job). What is the professional way to communicate this fact?
When people suggest that you are better fit for a different position, they are generally saying one of two things:
- I have a job that is harder to fill and you are qualified for it and may not be aware there is an opening.
- I don't think you are as strong a candidate as other people I have interviewed and are not likely to get this position but I like the way you think and There is something else you could have a greater chance of being the top candidate for.
While the polite response, of "Thank you for considering that but I am currently only interested in engineering positions." will be acceptable to reasonable hiring officials, you are not likely to get the job if you are in the second group.
It's still the best thing you can do in the interview or pre-interview stage when faced with the suggestion.
Another tactic is to tell them that you are interested in moving to engineering, but would be willing to consider the other job to get your foot in the door if there was a specific plan for how you could make the transition in six months or so. This might be the most effective if you are truly a much stronger candidate for the position you don't want and are not likely to get offered what you want immediately anywhere.
What you also need to do is think if there is some way to improve your chances of being the top candidate for the position you want rather than the top candidate for the position you don't want. Maybe you need to stick with your current position for longer or get additional qualifications or education. Maybe you need to do a better job of demonstrating that you have what they want for the position you want. Maybe you need to weed out the things you don't want to do from your resume.