Should You Interview for a Job You Really Don't Want?

John Krautzel
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Job hunting is so demanding and competitive that you may be reluctant to turn down a job interview, even when you aren't interested in the position. While it's unwise to waste time on a job you have no intention of taking, it could be beneficial to keep your options open. Consider these reasons to follow through or back out when you're less than enthusiastic about an upcoming job interview.

You Don't Have Clear Goals

If you're new to job searching or confused about the next step in your career, interviewing for a job on your B-list could help you clarify your goals. Sometimes, it's easier to pinpoint what you're looking for in a job or employer once you start discussing the everyday realities of your target role. Getting a closer look at a company's operations may aid you in figuring out your priorities and communicating them to your network.
You Need Interview Practice

Practicing for job interviews is the best way to perfect your skills and build confidence. The current position may not be your dream job, but it could give you the chance to try out your answers and questions on a real hiring manager. Cold as it may seem, many employers put job seekers through the motions of a job interview when they aren't actually hiring, so don't feel guilty about doing the same.

You Can't Fake Enthusiasm

Declining the job interview is usually a good idea if you can't muster an ounce of excitement about the position. Most hiring managers can tell you aren't genuinely interested in the job, and it could do more harm than good to show up and come across as a time-waster. If you prefer to interview for a different role in the company, be honest and let the hiring manager know you want to be considered for other career opportunities.

You Could Be Pleasantly Surprised

A lot of companies do a poor job of marketing themselves to job seekers, so the best qualities about a position or company don't always come through in job postings. If you can spare the time, approach the job interview as a learning experience to find out what the company has to offer. The job could be more engaging than you initially believed, or you might be impressed by a great team and corporate culture.

You Could Make Valuable Connections

Whether a company is first or 10th on your list, there's no guarantee you're going to get the job. Yet, you can always use the experience to open doors in the right places. Interviewing is your time to interact one-on-one with leaders in your industry. Making a positive impression can help you form lasting relationships with recruiters and hiring managers, allowing you to get leads on great career opportunities in the future.

Preparing for a job interview can be stressful and time-consuming, so competing for a second-tier opportunity might not be worthwhile when you already have a good offer on the table. Thoroughly research the company and weigh your options before making a decision. Moving forward with a job interview could be the right choice if you have nothing to lose by making the extra effort.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Army RDECOM at


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