interviewing for a job

Should I Interview For A Job I Don’t Want? (No, Do This Instead…)

It can be tempting to accept any offer for an interview, especially if you’re in urgent need of a new job. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a situation where interview opportunities are rare and you’ve finally been given a chance to go to an interview, but you’re not sure you want the job. If that sounds like you, you’re probably wondering, “Should I interview for a job I don’t want?” Based on our 46+ years of experience helping people find jobs that are a good fit, here’s what we recommend.

No, it is almost always an unwise choice to go to an interview for a job you don’t want. Not only is it a waste of everyone’s time, but it can also tarnish your reputation as a job candidate.

This might not be the answer you were hoping for, and if that’s the case then keep reading because we’ll explain why you should avoid interviewing for the wrong job, and what exactly to do instead. But first, it’s important to ask yourself an important question:

“Do I Really Know That I Don’t Want The Job?”

Make sure you take some time to get familiar with the ins and outs of the job, and to learn more about the company offering the job. At first glance, you may think a job wouldn’t be a fit for you because of the job title, the pay rate, or a variety of other factors. However, as you dig deeper you may find out that there are aspects of the job that would be ideal for you.

If you think the job could be an overall good fit but you’re just concerned about certain aspects of it, it’s okay to accept an invitation to an interview as long as you are honest and up front about your concerns and about things that might not make you an ideal candidate for the role. You may find out during the interview that the job is actually a better fit than you were initially lead to believe. And if you find out it’s definitely not a fit, then you at least got a clearer picture of what you definitely don’t want or need in a job.

Why Shouldn’t I Interview For A Job I Don’t Want?

Going to an interview takes your time, the employer’s time, and if you’re using a recruiter it also takes up their time to set up the interview for you. If you’ve done all the research you can about the job and about the company offering the job, and you know for sure that you would not be a good fit for the position, then don’t waste everyone’s time.

Why not? Because if the employer or your recruiter finds out that you went into the interview already knowing you didn’t want the job, it can tarnish your credibility and trustworthiness. While you might not care what the interviewing employer thinks of you right now, it’s not only inconsiderate to waste their time but doing so could also make it more difficult for you to interview at the same company in the future for another position that would be a better fit for you.

Also consider that in some industries, word can get around quickly from company to company, and your tarnished reputation may precede you at your next interview. You don’t want to ruin your chances of getting the job you want by making a bad impression at another interview.

What If I Need Practice Interviewing?

The most common reason people accept an invitation to interview for a job they already know they don’t want is that they consider it to be good practice for interviewing.

It’s still not worth wasting other people’s time just so you can get practice. So what’s the better alternative? There are many practical ways you can practice and fine-tune your interviewing skills without wasting anyone’s time. Here’s one way:

  1. Find a job listing for your ideal type of job (even if the position has been filled; this is just for practice).
  2. Study the job requirements and responsibilities to get familiar with what type of candidate the company is looking for.
  3. Get dressed up as you would for an actual interview to help you get “in the zone.”
  4. Record a video of you asking questions, answering common questions, and describing your experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. If a friend or family member is willing to help, ask them to play the role of the interviewer and have them ask you realistic questions that might come up in the interview.
  5. Watch the video recording of yourself and take note of things you did well and where you could improve. Sometimes we can be our own worst critics, so be careful not to beat yourself up if you feel like you didn’t do well. Just take note of what went poorly and practice that part again until you’re happy with how you handled it.

How To Tell A Recruiter You Are Not Interested In A Position

It’s important to be candid with a recruiter at all times. If you’ve taken the time to look over an open position and you’re confident that you would not be a good fit, be honest about it and politely decline the opportunity to go to an interview.

A good recruiter will appreciate the honestly, although they may respectfully challenge your decision if they think you may be a good fit. Make sure you explain what about the position doesn’t seem like a good fit for you so that the recruiter can keep that mind as they continue searching for opportunities for you.

Looking for a good recruiter you can trust? Call or email us today to see how we can help you find your ideal job!

What If You Don’t Want The Job After The Interview?

As long as you went into the interview believing that the job could be a good fit for you, there’s no shame in declining a job offer or in letting the company know that you are no longer interested. No employer is expecting to find the perfect fit after interviewing just one person. Finding “bad fits” is just a normal part of the process!

What’s important, though, is that you let the company know that you’re no longer interested as soon as possible after you’ve reached that conclusion, and if appropriate explain why. This way, the company will know to move on to other candidates and won’t spend any more time pursuing the possibility of you filling the position.

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