“We’d Like To Interview You For A Different Job”

One of my clients has been searching in earnest for an Administrative Office position for about the last month with my assistance. Two weeks ago now she had an initial interview for an Office Administrative Assistant position which by all accounts went well. This was followed up by a second interview. So far so good.

On Monday of this week I recognized her name pop up on my telephone and knowing it was her calling, I answered the phone with an enthusiastic, “So you got the job?!” and she laughed and said, “Well I don’t really know, I’m confused!”.

What had happened in short was that she got a call from the employer advising her that they believe her skills would be better suited to a different position and they’d like to have her come in to interview for that. The other position is apparently an Office Administration position but specifically assisting a Marketing Manager.

Now if this scenario should happen to you, there could be a couple of reasons behind it. First of all, they may in fact think your skills would better benefit the company in another role. Or, you didn’t get the job because someone else beat you out, and they want to have some competition for another job. What it doesn’t mean is that you automatically have another job, and the interview is a formality. The new interview will surely involve the Manager or Supervisor you’ll be answering to if hired, and usually someone you’ve previously been interviewed by. So you should expect a panel style interview.

I want to share with you something that this client experienced and shared with me, and by doing so, give you a heads-up for what you yourself might experience should this happen to you. She mentioned to me on the phone, that she was shaking and unnerved, and didn’t really understand why. She had made a cup of tea for herself and didn’t even feel comfortable and confident enough to pick it up for fear of dropping it after having just got off the phone with the employer and then calling me.

I surmised that her nerves, which are always under control otherwise, are out of sorts because she’s just been presented with something she did not foresee, and her body is attempting to deal with the unexpected shock of the call. You see, when she heard the person on the other end of the phone, she was fully expecting news that she had got the job or they had hired someone else. For either of these pieces of information, she was prepared.

However, when told of a third interview, and for a position she didn’t originally apply and knew next to nothing of, she was unsettled. Basically she was literally trying to process the new information, understand what was happening, and her control over the situation was temporarily gone. Without this sense of control, her body was producing all kinds of chemical reactions to bring her back into a sense of balance.

So we talked for about ten minutes, and I could hear less anxiety and nervousness in her voice. I figured it would take her about a full two hours actually to fully process all that had happened. She would later I suggested, calm down, and be better able to start formulating a plan for the third interview. So as the position was being an Office Assistant in a Marketing setting to the Marketing Manager, I gave her a couple of things to consider.

Looking ahead to the part of the interview where typically you get to ask a few questions of your own,
I advised her to think about asking a question like this: “As I will be answering phones and greeting people in person, how would you expect and hope I would brand myself to mirror your own personal branding and that of the department?”

A question like the one above I hypothesized, would not only communicate that you have the administrative skills for the job, but that you also understand the position is embedded in a Marketing department and you are using a shared language, in this case the word, ‘branding’. It would also possibly give the Manager pause to think if he has never really bothered to consider this in the past and just looked at the role as a disconnected administrative role that could be filled by anyone. Who knows? Thinking like this could be the reason others haven’t really been a good fit – but here I’m totally guessing!

Anyhow, when you are suddenly called and offered an interview for a job you originally have never applied to, some basics tips are:
*ask if you can have the new job description emailed to you
*ask how this position compares to the previous one in the hierarchy (same level, junior, or senior)
*indicate you understandably want to prepare for the new interview and where might you locate additional information

The bottom line is to of course indicate you’ll take the interview and be sure to thank them for the opportunity. If you later discover that it’s not what you want, you can always call back and decline to attend. This is preferable to declining it immediately because your out of balance and later wishing you hadn’t.



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