Interviewing is a skill and hopefully a skill most of us won’t have to put into practice that often. However, not having to put it into practice is also a disadvantage. When you start looking and applying for jobs, those interview skills tend to get rusty. This means you’ll probably attend a few interviews before getting back into your stride. If you haven’t had an interview for a while, it might just be worth attending a few before you get invited for the dream job! What are the pros and cons of interviewing for a job you don’t want!

Normally, I wouldn’t be encouraging any of my clients to interview for a job they don’t want. It may come across in the interview that you are not 100% committed and this may show in your body language.  We’ll go into this later.

However, there are rare occasions that I would encourage someone to get out there. Let me explain the pros and cons of interviewing for a job you don’t want!

Has it been a while since you’ve had an interview?

Even the most confident people get nervous. It’s understandable that you may be anxious if you like the sound of the job and it’s been a while since you’ve attended an interview.

When you’re applying for a new job, there are two main things to consider when you secure an interview; Taking the time to prepare adequately, and practicing the answers prepared.

Practicing the answers is all very well in the comfort of your own home, it’s a different scenario when you’re in the interview itself. If you want to get good at interviewing, you need to attend interviews.

The cons of interviewing for a job you don’t want!

Let’s start with the negatives and we’ll cover the advantages of attending an interview for practice later in this blog.

Recruiters are not just assessing your ability to do the job.  Throughout the interview, recruiters will be assessing your motivation and your fit with the company values.  Job fit, company fit, and motivational fit.  The 3 ‘magic’ ingredients

Proving your motivation

Recruiters pick up even subtle hints of motivation or lack of motivation; little comments about what you enjoyed, what you didn’t enjoy, and your views, and opinions about the people and company, and don’t get me started on the office politics!

If you are applying for a job you don’t want, or you’re not bothered about the outcome, some recruiters may pick up on this.  It might be your body language that gives you away.  There might be evidence of your lack of research or preparation.  It could be that you don’t understand the job or have taken adequate time to find out.  Therefore, your application is likely to be rejected on these factors.  If you don’t get any feedback following your interview, you’ll never know the reasons for being rejected.

Job interviews

Takes time to Research

If you are going to attend an interview for the practice, you have to give it your full attention.  That means researching, preparing, and practicing as you would if you wanted the job.  Otherwise, you’ll not be giving yourself the best opportunity.

Looking for a job is a full-time job.  So, it takes just as long to prepare properly for a job you want or a job you don’t.  Consider whether it’s time well spent and focus on the benefits. 

You might be able to live with this because you aren’t as emotionally invested in the role.  All you want is the opportunity to attend a couple of interviews to practise.  Who cares about the outcome!

No feedback after interview

It’s unlikely you’ll receive any feedback after you’ve attended an interview.  Not many recruiters offer or give full and comprehensive feedback these days.  Personally, I think it’s a missed opportunity to contribute to the employer’s brand and ensure everyone has a positive experience before, during, and after the interview.  However, giving feedback to every candidate can be extremely time-consuming and recruiters are busy enough.

After the interview, you’ll need to objectively review your own performance.  Try to remember the questions asked and assess your answers.  If you struggled to answer some of the questions, that’s giving you an indication that you may need to spend more time preparing.  If the example wasn’t presented well or the conversation didn’t flow, it may be an indication to practice more. 

Even if you do get feedback after an interview, it’s one person’s opinion, in relation to that job and that company.  It doesn’t necessarily mean your interview skills were poor, that you did anything wrong, or that you wouldn’t be a great ‘asset’ to another company.  Again, you’ll need to analyze carefully the recruiter’s feedback to assess whether you can make improvements.

Prepare to be rejected 

How do you normally deal with rejection?  It’s an important question to consider before applying for a job you don’t really want.  There’s a possibility you may get rejected for the job. 

Prepared to be rejected! 

Now, there are not many people who like being rejected however, some would argue that rejection shouldn’t be on the ‘cons’ list.  Rejection is feedback.  Rejection is a stepping stone to success.  And, rejection is a great learning opportunity.

This is all true and if you have a growth mindset, then you will take the rejection in your stride.  If you know you don’t deal with rejection well, consider how you are going to handle this outcome positively.

Keep a journal of your experiences and what you learned from them and how you are going to improve in the future.  How to deal with rejection is part of the recruitment process and it’s better to receive a rejection for a job you were that keen on. 

The Pros of interviewing for a job you don’t want!

If it’s been a while since your last interview, it’s worth getting out there and practicing.  Get back into the practice of talking through examples, and answering those tough questions.  It can help you build your confidence back up and start to get into the rhythm again.

Why practice your interviewing skills for a job you really want?!  It’s risky applying for that one job and hoping it all works out on the interview day.  You think you’ve prepared enough, and you’ve practiced (out loud!) your answers to the tough questions, and you’ve talked through your examples about 100 times!   

Even if you’re invited for an interview for a job you’re not so keen on or you’re sitting on the fence (indifferent!), go for the interview.

Job interviews

I’ve been working with a client who hasn’t had an interview for a long time. She’s demotivated, frustrated, and even a little angry at times.  Understandable as she’s been applying for lots of jobs and getting nowhere.

Has she missed a huge opportunity?

Until recently when she got an invitation to attend an interview for a Call Centre job. The job wasn’t really what she wanted, so after doing some research and thinking about the job for a while, she declined the interview.

My client didn’t go to the interview and in my opinion, she missed an opportunity to get out there and ‘mess up’ for a job she wasn’t keen on.   She is still demotivated and frustrated.  She is likely to take this into the next interview, and it could well be a job she really wants.  

Why practice with your dream job?  Or even I job you want…it’s risky if you haven’t interviewed in a while.  There are certain circumstances where it’s okay to interview for a job you don’t want. 

Interview practice 

This is the obvious one we’ve been discussing throughout the blog.  If you haven’t attended an interview for a while, it’s good to practice your interview techniques.

Practicing your interview skills in an interview for a job you don’t want takes the pressure off.  Just be mindful not to be too laid back during the interview.

Just be prepared to be rejected, which is actually the outcome you are looking for.

Collect sector and job market updates

Attending interviews can give you some insights into the sector and industry.  It might not be a job you are particularly motivated about, however, if it’s still in your sector take the opportunity to get up-to-date information.

Use this interview to gather some updates and help you research for the next job interview.  

Find out more information about the job and company

Don’t be too quick to judge whether it’s a job you don’t want. If you are undecided, go to the interview.  A good interview is a two-way process and an opportunity to learn about the job and the company.  That’s why it’s so important to prepare some questions to ask after the interview.  You want to be sure you are also making the right decision about the job.

Many years ago, I was invited to attend an interview in London for a Headhunting position.  I immediately said, no.  I had been an in-house recruiter and wanted to stay in a similar job role.  However, the recruiter explained the role in a little more detail and talked about the company, and encouraged me to go along to find out more.

It’s a ‘foot in the door’ as they say! If you like the company, you can start in that job and possibly move internally later.

It might not be the right job, however; it could be a fantastic company.  The company may invest in their employees and you’ll get plenty of opportunities to develop and progress.

If you have other experiences and skills, the recruiter may recognize this during the interview and put you forward for another (more suitable or relevant) job.  So, it’s definitely worth attending the interview with the aim to start building relationships with the in-house recruiters.

Another one of my clients had been receiving lots of rejections after being made redundant.  After a conversation, he was applying for all the jobs he could do with his eyes closed, even jobs that he was potentially overqualified for. 

I suggested if he was to continue applying for this level of job to be himself and don’t try to convince the recruiters this is his ideal job, just demonstrate his true motivation.  In the next interview he attended, he talked about his capabilities and what he really wanted to achieve in his career.  He was once again rejected for that job.  HOWEVER, this time he was true to his motivation and career aspirations and the recruiters offered him a more suitable and relevant job within the company.  He was over the moon and accepted their offer.

Final thoughts 

In conclusion, there are pros AND cons to consider when attending interviews for jobs you don’t want.  Understand what you want to get out of the experience and go into it fully prepared and with the expectations that you may not get any feedback, you may get rejected, and how you are going to handle this experience.

Tell me about your interview experiences?  We’d love to hear from you.