Darren Tay is director of BTI Consultants Hong Kong.
Is applying for two different roles at the same company a bad idea?
I am currently on the lookout for a new job as there have been lay-offs in the company I work for. I have noticed two openings at another company, one which is about the same level as the one I have now, and another that is slightly more senior.
I am tempted to try for the more senior role, as I feel I am ready for a move up, but the other one might be more within my reach. Do you think it is possible to apply for both positions or would that show I lack the ambition to take the more senior job?
Before you decide to apply for both positions or one of the two roles, you may consider some of the following points. Firstly, how self-aware are you of your abilities and ambition? Secondly, what impression and/or doubts might the recruiter develop after receiving your application(s) – even if you have revised them individually for each role?
The recruitment process is not rocket science. Companies and recruiters tend to only shortlist and interview the best-fit candidates. To evaluate whether the candidate is ready for the next level up is usually another process, and will only happen after you are successfully shortlisted.
To build your case to become a best-fit candidate, you would have to tailor your CV and prepare to sell yourself based on the job description of one position only. Positioning yourself neither here nor there will only short-sell yourself in face of the competition. Thus, my suggestion will be to apply for one of the positions, instead of both. The question is, which one?
Carefully evaluate the two roles and work out where they differ in terms of responsibilities and expectations. Then, look at how best you fit those roles. If you are considering whether you are ready for the more senior role, thoroughly assess your fit and gaps for that role. Proceed only if the evaluation of your fit exceeds 70 per cent (e.g. certification, team leading, years of experience).
Another point to consider if you are applying the more senior role is you will be going up against “more senior” competition. They may be candidates who are making a lateral move who had “been there and done that”. Instead of being in the bottom of this pool, a more prudent strategy may put you at the top of the other pool. This may increase your chances of getting in front of your prospective employer to talk about your experience and aspirations. Allow them then to evaluate to see if you are ready for the step up or not.
Companies often consider candidates for different levels as the recruitment process progresses. They don’t only make lateral hiring but very often open to people stepping up. However, in most cases, their first instinct is to find the person who can hit the ground running.
Therefore, my best advice will be to go for the role that you fit best. A good recruiter may then consider you for a level up or down, once they are certain you are good fit for the role and company.