Go Interview for a New Job – Even if You Don’t Want It. Here’s Why

by Darwin on November 3, 2010

You might be very content in your current career situation.  Perhaps you view your job security as relatively high, your pay is fair and you like your work environment.  That’s great!  You’re in a small minority of workers globally right from the start.  However, that whole picture can change dramatically overnight.  Aside from the obvious layoff threat (see how to avoid a layoff), companies are cutting pay, bonuses, healthcare coverage and other perks across the board.  Companies are reorganizing workforces and expecting employees to do more with less.  You could get a new boss who’s a total bastard.  A lot can happen, and you may be ill-prepared to react.  Regardless of how favorably you view your current situation, it behooves you to at least complete an interview for a new job every year or two.

  • Another Company – If you’re in a white collar role, using LinkedIn and other services, or have peers that have left your company for competitors, chances are you get a call from a headhunter or old boss/peer occasionally.  If you’re like me, you’re curious, listen a bit and then turn them down.  Given my situation as sole earner in a bit of a niche industry where I don’t want to move, I’ve been hesitant to take external career opportunities too seriously.  But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done a couple interviews over the years.  See, anything could change for me due to the reasons I cited above, and I now have a few contacts at other companies and with headhunters where I could pick up the phone and say, “I’m looking to make a move; are you aware of any opportunities that I might be a good fit for?”.  With these contacts and impression of me already established, the transition process will move much more quickly.  Starting from scratch trying to establish contacts and get a foot in the door might take months to even land an interview.  With the contacts I’ve established, that process may be a matter of weeks.  Sometimes, there are lingering job openings where a company just can’t really find the right person, or they want an outsider specifically to come in and shake things up.  Sometimes, a hiring manager can just create a job, because they know they want you, but haven’t really thought through where you’d fit and you weren’t willing to accept a role earlier.
  • Another Industry – You may very well be missing the career of a lifetime and you don’t even know it!  Chances are, if you graduated with a top degree, you ended up in a related industry and feel fearful of leaving since you’re kind of doing “what you’re supposed to be doing” with that major.  Perhaps the pay’s good and you see a vibrant future ahead of you.  But maybe you don’t actually enjoy your job.  What’s the harm in checking out a role in an area you’ve always thought about and admired, but just never had the inclination or opportunity to pursue.  For me, that might entail a role in the financial industry or teaching.  Maybe for you, it’s a role in Tech or Marketing while you’re toiling away in some other career path that you’re not exactly lit up over.  Virtually everyone I know has talents and interests OUTSIDE what they’re actually doing for a living.  Occasionally, people jump career types and love it.  Sometimes they fail, but people respect that in America.  Most successful and happy people will tell you they’ve failed at something before, and that’s just part of the process of finding what really works for you.  If you’re young, you can assume some risk and you’re not tied to a career, think about it!
  • Within Your Company – While this option doesn’t go as far as the external options, I wrote more extensively about the benefits and questions to ask during an informational interview previously.  In short, you’ll get your name out there to a higher level decision-maker in the company, your interest in their area will now be solidified should a surprise opportunity arise and you’ll have advanced knowledge of whether or not you’d actually want to pursue a roll in another area before you go through the motions of a formal interview down the road.

While your company would likely frown upon interviewing externally, the reality is everyone else is doing it (probably including your judgmental peers and boss) and you’ve gotta be looking out for yourself.  You never know what’s going to happen.

Have You Benefited from Interviewing Even if You Didn’t Act On It?

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1 Ryan November 16, 2010 at 4:44 am

I’m currently working a job that is quite mediocre, but I am for the most part contempt. There are times when I think about interviewing for different positions, but don’t want to make the mistake of thinking “The Grass is Always Greener” and leave to find that pastures aren’t green at all. After reading this I think I will take it upon myself to try out a few interviews and apply your thoughts. In fact I’m going to recommend it to my coworker as well. Great points!

2 ingrown toenail pictures February 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I think this is excellent advice.

It’s really easy to get set in your ways and forget that there are other more promising opportunities available.

In many respects one of the best things that can happen from going on these sorts of trial interviews is that it can help someone realize what skills they need to sharpen to take the next step in their careers.

I spent years working a typical 9-5 type corporate existence and am now a part of the freelance community and really love the variety that it offers. The biggest piece of advice that I would give someone is to not get complacent in your skill set.

Try to get better every day as opposed to just going through the motions.

You have to find ways to make yourself valuable.

3 Lynn May 24, 2011 at 11:24 am

Exactly, you should always strive to make a good impression at any interview. It is good practice, and who knows if you may end up wanting the job in the end!

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