By Joe Stein
Interviewing is generally not a lot of fun (I know…he can really state the obvious). The process of having to be interviewed can actually be a lot of work. So, it probably comes as some surprise to you when I write that under most every circumstance a person should not decline an offer to interview.
If you find yourself currently employed, you still may find yourself with potential new career opportunities. This may come from a Recruiter sourcing you from a past posted resume or profile ( http://www.wnyjobs.com/Portal.aspx ) on a site like WNYJOBS.com, to just word-of-mouth leading to a call. You could automatically reject the interest being shown by stating that you are currently employed. But should you do that? My argument is that under most circumstances, you should explore further. Why? Let’s list a number of reasons below:
· Each interview is a networking opportunity. You meet not only the Recruiter, but perhaps the Hiring Manager and others in the organization. These are all individuals who may be important to know in another situation, perhaps when you find yourself very actively on the market. This interview can allow you to make a positive 1st impression for a future need. A good Recruiter makes note of individuals they may have an interest in for the future. Why not place yourself on that list?
· Practice is always good. While practicing your interview may not make perfect (doubt anyone can interview perfectly), it can certainly, however, improve your skills. Especially, when you are lifted from the pressure of interviewing for a position you really have to obtain. Interviewing under this less stressful situation can help prepare you for when the position is something you covet. If there was a technique or an example you wanted to use but were not sure what type of reaction you would receive, this would be a perfect time to try it out.
· Situations change quickly in today’s world. I don’t mean to worry anyone, but even the most stable position can change quickly. An argument can be made that everyone should be prepared for the time when their position is eliminated or changes dramatically with a moment’s notice. It can take considerable time to get a job search started, but that time can be cut significantly if you have been going out on the occasional interview.
· When you are in a situation where you don’t “have” to have the position, you place yourself in a competitive advantage. Employers often covet those passive job seekers who are gainfully employed. It can give them the impression that you are a hot, fresh candidate that has not been passed over by other employers. You may find yourself being able to negotiate something beyond what you thought possible and enough to cause you to leave your current position.
· You usually have nothing to lose (other than some time out of your calendar). You may find yourself surprised by the role or the offer and be glad you went. If you are not, you simply professionally decline and continue forward.
· The position you are interviewing for may not be the one they consider you for. You may find yourself in a situation where the position initially discussed is not a good fit, or the prospective employer knows it is something you won’t accept. A scenario may develop where they consider you for another position in the organization and it may be something that you would be interested in.
Of course there are always some exceptions to the general rule that there is value in interviewing. If you are in a situation where you don’t feel that you can interview for the position confidentially and it places your current job at risk, it makes sense to pass. You may be in a situation where you have an employment agreement that would not allow you to accept a position with this prospective employer. An example of this would be if they are a current industry competitor. If carving out the time to interview would place you at risk, perhaps with your company’s Attendance Policy, then interviewing is probably not a good idea.
For those unfortunate enough to be currently unemployed, it may seem very odd to spend this time on whether or not to go on an interview. When you are employed, however, it is a decision you have to consider, especially if it is not a position you originally actively applied for consideration. While there are a few reasons to pass on interviewing, the list of reasons to do it is longer and generally more compelling.
As always, best of luck in your job search!