Career Advice

What To Do If You Interviewed For One Position But HR Offered Another

You’ve leveled up and got some things in order on the job. That means you’ve acquired new skills, maybe a few certifications or a degree, have experience under your belt, and are ready to progress in your career. Now you’re qualified to apply for other positions that can position you to do different things and possibly get more responsibilities and money in your pocket.

Applying for jobs can be tricky, and there are situations that can catch you off guard. Knowing what to do if you interviewed for one position offered another is one of them.

Once the interviews start rolling in, things start looking up. Finally, the company you’ve been working for or have applied to recognizes the contributions you can make in another capacity.

After your interview, HR follows up by requesting a meeting. At the meeting, you’re informed you’ve applied for one position offered another role that’s different. How do you handle this?

Making the Best of It

Situations like this aren’t all bad. That means the company recognizes your value and wants to capitalize on your skillset – unless it’s a demotion. Depending on how long you were in your current position or working for another company, that may be the reason why you were considered. If you’ve applied for one position offered another and will move up the corporate ladder, that’s amazing!

In most cases, it indicates the HR manager has taken the time to really look at what you’ve done and recognizes the value and insight you could bring to the role. Many companies look to hire from within, cross-promoting individuals from one department to the next.

In doing their research, they may have spoken with a few people who gave them a snapshot of how well you work, your reliability, and your growth. This also helps in positioning you for new opportunities and places you on the radar of people that would not have known how valuable you are.

If you’re facing this dilemma, you must consider all the variables:

Do you think you will like the new role?

Ultimately, it all boils down to this. Yes, you interviewed for one position offered another and don’t really know what to make of it. Now, think about whether the new role is something that appeals to you. The HR manager may have realized you have a skill set they were looking for.

What are you gaining?

This role may be your dream job that you never thought you’d attain. In addition to your dreams coming true, look at what the HR person is offering. Do you get more money? More vacation days? Do you move to an office instead of a cubicle or open space?

Can you work from home a few days a week or is it fully remote? Will you be traveling? These are things you should consider and ask about if you are thinking about taking on the role.

Know the expectations

Just because HR has decided to offer another position to you doesn’t mean you have to take it. Look at what the role entails. Are the responsibilities something that you want to do? Will you feel comfortable doing the job? Are the expectations a little too high in the beginning? Will you have adequate training?

Be very clear on what they are expecting from you before you commit. The last thing you want is to start the new role and they want to get rid of you or demote you because you ended up being someone who wasn’t the “right fit.”

Why are they offering you the role?

Now’s the time to ask all the questions you need answers to. Was this new role created specifically for you because they wanted to enhance and put your skills to good use, or is this a role they have had difficulty filling and just need someone to do the job? Yes, companies do this all the time.

You want to make sure your value is being considered throughout this process. This could be the main reason why you applied for one position offered another, and you are wondering what created this situation.


Whether the new role is in the same office, or if you need to relocate, consider the stability of the position. While the market is on its way to recovery, there are some organizations that still struggle with retaining their employees. Do your research and see where the company stands financially.

Check on this position. If it’s a new position, the company may be making some changes. If it’s a position that was already in the system, find out how many people have been in the role. You don’t want to accept a job that is known for high turnover.


It would be foolhardy not to expect some challenges if you decide to take the job. You’re being thrown into a situation where you may not be familiar with the processes. That takes time. You may also run into a situation where you may be supervising someone who wanted that position and was already doing the job. These are situations where HR doesn’t give you a heads-up.

Make a list of the objectives and goals of the new job. The HR person should be able to give you those, as well as the duties the job will cover. This will help you get a clearer picture of the challenges you may face if you need training and you don’t get it right away, if the job is working with someone you know to be difficult, and the culture of the department is not welcoming.

If the job is at a new company, the list should help you assess whether it would be worth moving to something different. Understand how your skills will be utilized and determine if you would be a good fit.

Now, you can also look at this as a blessing in disguise. Even if you don’t plan on keeping the job for a few years, you will have learned something different. This is an opportunity to network with others in a field that you weren’t exposed to before.

If you plan on taking the job, negotiate. Capitalize on the fact that your interviewed for one position offered another situation may work in your favor. Ask for what you want and tailor the role so that it will be hard to replace you. If you’ve ever wanted the chance to showcase what you can do, now’s the time.

Trust Your Gut

While it may be flattering to know you applied for one position offered another, and can choose your path, if something feels off about them offering you the job, you may be right. Do not hesitate to ask questions and do not let them pressure you into taking the job when you aren’t ready to decide. Never buckle under pressure.

If you’re being pressured to accept, that may be a red flag. Additionally, think about how you were approached. Were you in a meeting and offered the position casually, or was it formal and the HR person wanted to know if you had questions about the job? Were they prepared with all the details, had an offer letter ready, and gave you some time to think about it?

If you feel like the job isn’t a good fit, look at it this way. You were offered a job that you didn’t even apply for. That means you have some skills you haven’t really tapped into. Take the time to revamp your resume, highlighting those skills so you can look for jobs in that field.

Your future belongs to you. Relish in the fact that your hard work is paying off. After all, how often is someone interviewed for one position offered another, and has the chance to embark on a different path? You never know who’s watching and rooting for you in the background. Take this as a sign that you’re on the right track.

Take the time to start joining organizations, networking, and learning additional skills that you can utilize on your resume. Even if you take the job, you should always look to advance and move forward. A resume specialist can help you assess hard and soft skills you may have overlooked to position you for better roles, now and in the near future.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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