Job searching during periods of unemployment can be rigorous and, often times, demoralizing. That feeling of defeat gets harder to overcome, so it’s natural to begin a frenzy of mass applying to any and every job posting, regardless of appeal or interest. So when an application turns into an interview, it can be tempting to blindly accept. Something is better than nothing, right? And every day without an offer is a day closer to financial trouble. The question remains, however, should you go to an interview even if the job—whether based on its description or the company’s reputation—doesn’t actually seem like a great fit?
In a word: yes.
So, why should you go to an interview even if you have a gut feeling it isn’t right?
For the Practice
The best way to get better at the interview process is to practice. What’s more practical than learning under the stress of the real deal? If you’re uninterested in the job, you’ll be emotionally unattached and more comfortable answering and asking questions. Take note of where you flailed (and why), along with what you did well. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses in the process will help you improve and nail the interview for the job that you truly want.
This also offers the added benefit of building confidence. Walking into an interview fully prepared with self-awareness makes for a confident individual, which is very appealing to employers.
For Answers to your Questions
This is the time to try your hand at asking the tough questions. Oftentimes, people don’t want to come across as money-grubbing or difficult, so they’ll avoid asking about salary, benefits, or other useful tidbits for fear of giving the wrong impression. That won’t be a problem in this situation (when you won’t be heartbroken if you’re rejected). Use the opportunity to pick up on red flags, read body language, and listen for good/bad keywords.
For the Reconnaissance
Sometimes, what you’re not looking for is just as important as what you are. Going into interviews, whether you’re employed or not, keeps you abreast of the times. Are you currently in a cubicle office and find you might prefer an open floor plan office? Does this job provide different, more appealing benefits? Is there a better office culture? Does the interviewer have something you like/dislike? Whatever it may be, going into interviews might be a helpful way of surveying day-to-day aspects that make the difference for job satisfaction.
For the Better-than-Average Potential
On paper, it may not seem perfect, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t right. You might walk into the business and love the vibe or the people interviewing you. There could be hidden gems that you wouldn’t have discovered without going into the interview, e.g., mandatory vacations, amazing parental leave policies, a fully stocked pantry, or education reimbursement. You never know; it might just be love at first sight.
Interviews are a painful process for most people, but remember: it can be a worthwhile experience even if you don’t want the job.