Passed the phone what?

So I had a phone interview today for a network security engineer position. I was contacted about it a few weeks ago by a recruiter, and since it's a long term contract and I'm ready for a change, I said I'd hear him out. He sent me the job description and immediately red flags went off in my head, since most of the core competencies for the position are things that I don't have a lot of experience doing. I'm fine on the R/S side of the house but don't have much time with firewalls, IPS devices, proxies, etc. I work for the government so most of that is centralized and I don't get to do anything past acknowledging it exists.

I told the recruiter all this, and he suggested that we send my resume up anyways just in case my general experience was good enough for them. Turns out the hiring manager liked my resume enough to ask for a phone interview, which I had today. The interview itself didn't go terribly, it was mostly a bunch of questions about my experience, what I do daily, why I am looking to move, etc. All the same stuff that I had answered for the recruiter, I now had to answer for the manager (I'm assuming that he didn't trust the recruiter's judgement at all. I wouldn't either.)

As we progressed through the interview, I started to get the feeling that I wasn't really what they were looking for, and that the skill set he wanted wasn't necessarily one I possessed. At the end of the interview he asked me if I had any questions, and I reiterated what I had told the recruiter, basically that I could see what he wanted, and that I didn't have the knowledge level to walk in and do the job 100% from day 1. Then I asked him what he thought about that, and he told me that since there was some overlap between his two teams (R/S and net security) that there might still be room for me, and he would like to do a face to face interview later this week. I agreed of course, but now am left with questions.

I'm happy that I get to continue in the process, but I am not sure how to sell myself at this point. See, I can absolutely LEARN to do any job, that's not an issue for me. I am a very quick study, generally only have to do things once or twice in order to remember how to do them, and am also a voracious reader so I tend to digest information quickly. I have no doubt that I could start in this job and be proficient within a matter of two months or so. The question on my mind is whether or not I should be making that clear to the manager when I interview again later this week. I feel like if I am up front about my shortcomings, and they still press forward with me, then I have done my due diligence as far as ensuring they are aware of what they are getting.

Am I wrong in my approach to this? Should I be concentrating more on selling what I CAN do as opposed to what I CAN'T?


  • umarbhattiumarbhatti Member Posts: 67 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Never sell yourself short, go in there and concentrate on what you can do on what you can't. At the end of the day see it as career development more than anything.
    You have raised your concerns with the manager and he must still like what you can offer the company.
    if it was me, i would go ahead and do the interview and see where it takes me
  • ZartanasaurusZartanasaurus Member Posts: 2,008 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I wouldn't make it a point to cast yourself in a negative light repeatedly. Unlike the typical interviewee who likes to use the phrase "I'm a fast learner" like it's going out of style, you have actual accomplishments and experience that prove you can learn. They know, or should know, what they are looking for and are willing to settle for. They seem to be okay with bringing a guy in with R&S experience and allowing him to skill up on the Security side over time. I don't think he'd be wasting his time if they needed a Security Admin with years of production experience, no questions asked. At least, I hope so. Worst case scenario is you waste an hour of your time and brush up on your interview skills. If you get a feel from the interview that you won't be able to meet their expectations, no one is forcing you to accept the job offer.
    Currently reading:
    IPSec VPN Design 44%
    Mastering VMWare vSphere 5​ 42.8%
  • TC1TC1 Member Posts: 7 ■□□□□□□□□□
    I second the don't sell yourself short comment. You don't want to be put yourself in a negative light in an interview ever.

    I don't think the initial interview for a technical position is as serious as you think. For the most part they just want to see if you are a good fit personality-wise with the team. If you made it to the second round (a technical interview usually) you are doing fine. If you are in a technical interview don't worry if you aren't able to answer every single question. When we hire engineers we just want someone that is relatively close to ideal as we know we will be training them to do what we want them to do. A job description is typically a wish list of qualifications. Nothing to worry about.
  • jdballingerjdballinger Member Posts: 252
    Thanks for the encouragement guys, I'll take your advice to heart.

    It seems ridiculous that I feel like I don't know how any of this works, as this is most definitely not my first rodeo. It has, however, been about 7 yeras since I had to do a proper job interview so I am really nervous.

    One last question though. They said to 'dress professionally' for the interview (obvious.) Do you think that khakis, a dress shirt, tie and sport coat is professional enough? I only own one suit and it is a wee bit tight on me.

  • martawmartaw Member Posts: 38 ■■□□□□□□□□
    If jacket is too tight, maybe try a dark pair of slacks with a nice button up shirt and tie.
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