Should I Interview If I’m Not Completely Interested?

Absolutely! Read on to find out why you should hang in (and also when to walk away).

If you applied as an active job seeker:

Something caught your eye initially about the opportunity, which caused you to submit your application. Before bowing out due to an imperfect hiring process or lone red flag, consider:

  • If the phone screen with the Junior Recruiter wasn’t particularly inspiring, hang in until you meet the Hiring Manager. Although a company should ensure the first point of contact is knowledgeable, friendly and responsive, sometimes this just isn’t the case and it may not be representative of the team you’ll eventually be working with.
  • If you learn in the initial interview the salary range isn’t exactly where you’d hoped (but not significantly out of range), hang in through the interview process if the role and company fit what you want. A Hiring Manager is usually willing to negotiate a little more when they find the right candidate, but that only happens AFTER they determine you’re the top choice.
  • If you’re interested in parts of the job and not others, a conversation can help you to fully understand the expectations. Often, job ads are outdated or if it’s a new role, the job description may not be completely formed just yet. Don’t underestimate your ability to shape the role in a way that better meets your interests. If you can find a win-win for you AND the employer, the Hiring Manager may be all ears regarding your ideas. It happens more often than you might think, so hang in.
  • If you have a pending (verbal) offer, you may be tempted to cancel future interviews scheduled with other employers (or turn down interviews that arise from earlier applications). Don’t! Until you have an offer in writing, anything is possible.  The company can go through a hiring freeze, an internal candidate might step forward, or the CEO’s nephew might need a job. Keep interviewing!

If you were solicited as a passive job seeker:

Employers are always on the lookout for great candidates and if you have a well-developed Linked In profile, chances are you’ll be contacted by a Recruiter. While this doesn’t mean you should dive in head first, being open to a brief discussion can have benefits you may not have considered:

  • Let’s start with the obvious. You actually may be interested in the job! It doesn’t hurt to have a conversation or two (even if you’re happy in your current role) because, hey – you never know. So, hang in.
  • You may be able to build a relationship with the Recruiter/Hiring Manager for later. Perhaps you’re not in the market now, but might be in 6 months once you finish your client project or next year if the company goes through a restructuring.  Hanging in to learn about the company, share your skills, and develop a dialogue with the Recruiter can mean being on the fast track next time a relevant job opens up.
  • You might be able to refer a friend who would be a great match for the role, which will win you major points with the Recruiter AND your friend. Helping others in their careers is one of the best ways to cultivate your network. So, hang in and take a few minutes to understand what the Recruiter is looking for, and then engage your match making skills.

Of course, there are some clear cut signals that you should probably skip the interview:

  • The salary is significantly outside of the ballpark you would accept for the role.
  • Multiple red flags (e.g., the process is completely disorganized, the people are consistently rude, etc.).
  • It requires something you’re not willing do (e.g., relocate to another state, go against your values, etc.).
  • There are signs it’s a scam or a fishing expedition to get your information.
  • There’s no conceivable way you can change your current employment situation right now.

Final thought: Remember that you’re not the only candidate that an employer is interviewing and they should reasonably expect they’re not the only opportunity you’re considering. There are no guarantees on either side, so if you have a hint of interest and are curious to learn more, by all means, GO INTERVIEW!

Happy hunting!

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