What would you do in this career situation: you are gainfully employed but get invited to a job interview for a role that sounds promising, but you are not 100% certain is the best next step. Like most professionals, you’re busy at work, and this would take time out of your already packed schedule. Do you take the job interview?
I recently posted on Forbes about the importance of enthusiasm in landing the job you want, and I shared ten actions to help you demonstrate your enthusiasm. But these actions take effort, and when you’re not so enthusiastic about the role, is it worth the effort?
If you know with 100% certainty that the role isn’t right – say, you are a VP now and this is an Associate role, or you moved out of finance years ago because you hated it and this is a finance role – then don’t take that job interview. But in many cases, you will not know with 100% certainty that the role isn’t right, without at least taking the first meeting. To this end, it is absolutely worth the initial effort to take a job interview, even if you are unsure whether a role is right for you. In addition to learning more and confirming whether a job is a go/ no go, here are five reasons why you should take the job interview anyway:
You broaden your network
Taking that interview gives you exposure to the recruiter who set it up and/or the person at the company you interview with (if these are not one and the same person). The interview gives you a chance to better explain what you do, so even if this role isn’t right, there might be another one that is a better fit, and now you have the chance to explore that.
You learn about the market
In discussing this role, the company and the industry, you will learn more about all three. Even if this role isn’t right and there isn’t anything else immediately available, you have more market knowledge than you did before, which can help you with other interviews or your career management where you are.
You keep your interviewing skills sharp
You certainly want to come prepared and not seem like you’re practicing. You can practice with a mentor or a coach or even friends who are experienced in hiring. But a real interview situation provides another level of training because the stakes are real.
You add to your plan B
Even if you decide to stay where you are or to continue looking if you’re in active job search mode, taking that less-desired job interview gives you another option – more fuel for your plan B. A job that is not ideal right now may look better if you current role suddenly changes for the worse or if better prospects don’t materialize as expected.
You increase your leverage to stay put
Knowing what’s out there and that you are desirable for these roles should give you confidence that you don’t have to stay put. This doesn’t mean you have to leave, but it gives you an alternative, and alternatives give you leverage.
I still believe the best reason to take that job interview anyway, even when you’re not 100% sold on a potential new job, is because you never learn as much about a job as you do when you’re in the interview process. During the interview process, you meet the players, visit the company, and hear more detailed specifics about the role. You get information at a deeper level than you can from the outside. This enables you to make a more informed decision. It still might be a no-go decision, but at least you know you did it after careful thought and effort. Plus, you get the five interview benefits as an added bonus!