Surprise Job- If The Interviewer Mentions Another Position

Interviews are challenging anyways. No matter how much time you spend preparing there can always be unexpected struggles- read Best Ways To Prepare For An Interview. One of the most challenging part is when an interviewer brings up a surprise job that you may be more interested in.  Do you jump at the chance?  Is it a test?  Do they want you to jump at it?  Below are tips to think about when presented with, “You know we have another position you could be a fit for?”

Understand The Interviewerprepare for position- surprise job

One additional way to prepare for an interview is to understand how the interviewer has prepared. Assuming you’re applying to a professional company, they have most likely carefully crafted the interview process. Also, they will have a deep understand of the position you are applying for and the expectations for it.

They take the time to work through exactly the skills needed for the position and how it is effective in the long term mission of their company. They look through your resume and develop a plan for your interview. The ask intentional questions and prompt ideas to find the best candidate for any one position.

Read More: Best Ways To Prepare For An Interview

Test The Shocking Position

You’re sitting in your interview, and you feel like things are going well. When all of the sudden, the interviewer asks if you are interested in another position they are hiring. There are a few ways to respond to this surprise job. The first thing we suggest is it test it out.

“Mike, is there something we have discussed thus far that makes you think I would be a better fit for that role?  I feel I am a fit for the role I came in for, but if you feel like I am clearly a better fit for this other role, who do I need to speak with?”  This gives them the chance to endorse you for the other role. Or they can focus back to the job you are there to interview for. It is a tricky situation to navigate so show your openness and then hand them back the reins.

confirm position- surprise jobConfirm Your Interest

“Mike, the other role may be an interesting role. However, I want to assure you I am prepared to work in the role described. I feel I could hit the floor running”.  You don’t want to forget why you are there and what role you are interviewing for.  Focusing on the current position, while listening for real suggestions, will keep the interview focused on the role you are there for. You want to show your commitment and intention to the job you went in for not the new position they are offering.


Everyone thinks they are overqualified and underpaid.  Some managers want to promote their staff while others want their staff to stay in the same position forever.  Understand what you are interviewing for and try to understand, before the interview, what this career track could look like.  When we hear, “The candidate wasn’t serious about this role. They were just interviewing in hopes of getting to a bigger position”-we know the person went in with unreasonable expectations.

If you need help preparing for an interview, please contact Executive Staffing Solutions.

Stay Up-To-Date

Select the newsletter(s) you’d like to receive and provide your email address or upload your resume to our candidate database.