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Say you’ve recently applied to a few jobs and you think you have a decent shot at your top choice. Meanwhile another, less glamorous company is wooing you. Should you politely decline their advances or see what they’re all about?
It might seem like a waste of time, but going on a job interview, regardless of whether it’s with your first choice or not, is almost always helpful. Here’s why.
Practice, practice, practice
Just like any skill, it helps to practice interviewing. Going on many interviews can help you anticipate the kinds of questions employers will ask and recognize the areas in which you need to improve. Also, the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get.
It always helps to shop around. Hopefully you wouldn’t make an immediate offer on the very first house you see. Similarly, you might not want to say “yes” to the first job offer you get without giving it some thought. If you have more than one opportunity knocking at your door, it’s in your best interest to explore them all. Finding a good job is like finding a good spouse — meeting a few frogs can really help you spot the true prince or princess.
Being courted by more than one company gives you a great sense of your value in the marketplace. But it also gives you something better: Leverage. You can make a more persuasive case for a larger salary, better job title or flexible hours if another company is willing to offer them. Plus, if an employer knows that another company is interested, it makes you seem like a more desirable candidate.
Just make sure that you don’t come across as too cocky or pushy in your negotiations. Make it clear that the offers you get play a role in your decision, but never sound as if you’re making an ultimatum.
You never know
The best reason to go on an interview for a job you don’t necessarily want is because, quite simply, you may be wrong. Humans can be notoriously inept when it comes to imagining their futures and even their own desires. We’re often too distracted by flash and prestige to recognize a good thing when we see it, or to really embrace what will make us happy.
Go and hear what they have to say. You might be pleasantly surprised. You might even find that the perfect opportunity has been hiding in plain sight until now.
Or you might find that the job is even worse than you imagined and now you’re even more resolved in what you want. Either way, it’s a win-win situation.