Should you interview for a job you don't want? We asked a recruiter

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When you’re eager to find a job, it’s only natural to panic and mass blast out your resume in the hopes that the numbers will skew in your favour.

But what happens when you actually get called down for an interview, only to realise you don’t actually want the job after all?

While a situation like this might be uncomfortable, especially if you don’t want to offend any prospective employers,  it’s not exactly uncommon.

So what exactly are the best practices when it comes to a situation like this? Should you still go ahead and interview just to scope out the situation in person? Or should you respectfully decline so as to save everyone’s time?

We speak to Kevin Matthews, an experienced recruiter with 15 years in talent acquisition, managing director of KR Partners, founder and CEO of Candid-Intel, a start-up utilising the power of block chain that will transform the way talent is acquired on what you should do when something like this happens.

I mass sent out a lot of applications during my job search, and now I'm being called in for jobs that may not be the most suitable. Is it still worth taking the meeting?

“Firstly, it’s probably not a good idea to mass apply to jobs during your job search. I would advise you to get into the habit of being targeted as you will achieve better results that way.

Now that you have gotten yourself in a bit of a bind with so many requests don’t panic – go through each job that requested an interview and analyze three things before declining to attend:

  • Does the company or position match your current needs or aspirations? If your answer is NO skip the interview.
  • If it is a YES however, go to the interview to find out firsthand what they have to offer and then evaluate whether you would like to proceed further.
  • Are you sure you’re overqualified or not suitable for the position? If you answer YES, what is this based on?
  • The job description, friends’ advice etc? If the job description says they are looking for two years’ experience and you have seven, then yep, you should probably skip it. Is there anything you can learn from the interview?
  • The answer should be I always can learn something new. 
  • Remember that a job interview isn’t the same as a job offer.Interviewing, even if you’re unsure about the position or the company, can provide opportunities to practice your interpersonal and interviewing skills.

If you’re still convinced that attending the interview won’t be right for you, please, please respectfully decline with a short email.

Is it ok to take an interview just to practice my interview skills even if i may not want the job?

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“Well, I would advise if you’re unsure on the job or company that it’s still OK to attend and practice.

''However, if you’re 100 per cent convinced that this opportunity is not right for you, don’t waste your time or the interviewer’s – conduct mock interviews with your friends to practice. That would be a better use of your time.”

I was presented a job offer and accepted it just before I was about to go for another interview. This interview was already set up prior to the offer. Should I still take the meeting? Or should I decline to save everyone's time?

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“My advice after spending many years in recruitment is to decline the interview and move on.

''We all love to be wanted, but sometimes you have to know when its time to focus on the wonderful opportunity you have at hand.

''Running around the city and interviewing without a purpose is exhausting. Save everyone’s time and move on.”

I've been offered multiple offers during my job hunt. Is this something I need to let a hiring manager know? Or is it better to keep this information to myself?

“You are under no obligation to disclose whether you have been offered other job opportunities, its best to keep the information to yourself until you can gauge interest or compare offers – the hiring process is a bit like poker, so remember not to reveal your hand too early.”

I've decided that the position is really not a right fit for me. How do I politely decline the interview?

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“Email is the preferable choice as many people are not comfortable declining an offer via the phone or face to face. It’s important to remember to remain courteous in the email.

Don’t be arrogant, remember you may have declined this opportunity but there could be future opportunities with the company or hiring manager that you want to be considered for.

It’s advisable to remain professional and polite in your correspondence as it will leave a lasting impression.”

This article was first published in Her World Online.