The Value of Interviewing for a Job You Don't Want
You told everyone you know that you’re in the market for a new job and are sending out applications and resumes daily. You asked your contacts to put in a good word for you and they did. All of a sudden, you get called in for an interview for a job you’re not sure you even want. Now what?
Of course, you don’t want to burn any bridges with friends or colleagues who’ve supported you and taken the time to suggest you as a candidate. How do you know if it makes sense to go anyway? Every opportunity is different, and you might be closing the door on a job you would actually enjoy if you took the time to know more.
Here are 6 reasons to go ahead and attend the interview, even if you're hesitant about the job:
1. It’s always good practice. You don’t want to waste everyone’s time, but if you’re fresh out of school or new to the job market, you can always use the practice. You’ll have a chance to see how you do under pressure, how well you present yourself and which answers are working. Don’t do it if you can’t reasonably make the time to prepare and it’s the tenth excuse you’ve given your boss this month for time off.
2. You might find you want this job. Once you’re there and get a feel for the culture, love the environment and learn more details, this job might offer more than you originally thought. Maybe you’re a great fit for this company and you would love it there. There’s only one way to find out… go to the interview.
3. You may make an important contact. You never know who you’ll meet. Maybe the hiring manager will keep you in mind for another position at the company if this isn’t the one for you. Or, it might mean you’ve now met an important industry contact who can put you in touch with another hiring manager that is looking for just what you have to offer. Keep in touch and don’t hesitate to reach out if another opening shows up.
4. When you go to the interview, be enthusiastic, honest and authentic, especially with a recruiter who represents multiple companies. If this particular job isn’t for you, you can communicate that you’re interested in other opportunities when they come up. If you’ve made a good impression, they’ll call you next time they have a position that matches your skills.
5. You might learn something new about the questions currently being asked by hiring managers for this type of position. The requirements may have changed since you were last in the job market and you could gain some important insights for future interviews.
6. You might also learn if there is anything confusing about your resume and/or cover letter. If the recruiter asks you to clarify a particular bit of experience or education, it’s an opportunity for you to go back and refine your resume before you apply for more jobs.
What if you already agreed to the interview and now you need to re-schedule or want to cancel? This could be a sticky situation and needs to be handled with finesse. If you have a perfectly acceptable reason such as illness, a family emergency or an unavoidable work conflict, chances are the interviewer will understand.
- Make sure you contact the interviewer as soon as possible to re-schedule or cancel. Use the same communication method you’ve been using so far, such as email or phone call, so you’ll be sure to reach him/her.
- If you’re cancelling because you’ve accepted another offer, be gracious and show appreciation for their interest and let them know you’re no longer looking for a position. You don’t have to provide details, but you can share that you’ve accepted another position at this time.
- If you’ve decided you cannot manage the commute, or the job represents a pay-cut you can’t afford or a loss of benefits, cancel the appointment and be honest. Hiring managers are busy and don’t want to waste time. They also won’t want you to make up unbelievable excuses… it’s unprofessional.
- Be sure not to burn any bridges by making any derogatory remarks about the company or the position. You never know what the future holds and when you may meet this person again socially, professionally, or in another hiring situation.
In the future, after considering all the reasons you should attend, you may find it’s best to politely decline an interview instead of having to cancel after the fact. You should let the recruiter know as soon as possible that you’re no longer interested and be sure to thank them for their time. If you want them to keep you in the loop for future opportunities, be sure to let them know and keep in touch.