Here are five reasons why you should never turn down an interview:
It’s good practice. There’s a reason so many people are scared to fly on airplanes: We have no way to practice and most of us do it infrequently. The more we do something, the better we get at it, and interviewing is no exception. Sure you can hold mock interviews with family and friends, but nothing will prepare you like real-world experience. Since the opportunity to interview doesn’t arise frequently, embrace it when you get the chance.
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Think about the future. Even if the position you are interviewing for is not a perfect fit, another opening, one that you might be unaware of, could be floating out there. Meeting face to face with a potential employer will put you on the radar, increasing your chances of being considered for a position in the future. Even if you turn down the job—with grace and professionalism, of course—the connection you create can be helpful down the road.
Get that resume critiqued. The person peppering you with questions about past accomplishments and future ambitions can help you refine your job-searching arsenal for future positions. You might think your resume is perfect, but it’s a fluid document that regularly needs to be refined and tweaked. A gaping void can be right in front of you. An interview can help you uncover these holes and fill them in. Plus, sitting through an interview is like getting free career advice—no need to hire a professional resume writer.
Reality check. Test the commute, smell the office, meet the people—is it the right place for you? Your best opportunity to peer behind the curtain of a company is to go on a job interview. What you see might surprise you. In fact, it might even help you tweak your perspective on your current job situation.
The sell. Much to the surprise of many job candidates, the interviewer doesn’t always know exactly what they are looking for. Get in there to sell yourself and your skills, adeptly explaining why you are the person to help company X achieve goal Y. If you hit a grand slam, you might even get the employer to tailor the position to your preferences. You might also meet other decision-makers, giving you the opportunity to sell yourself to people who have the power to pay you.
From the employee perspective, there is absolutely nothing to lose by going on an interview— even if the job title and pay do not meet your requirements. Get in there, do your best, and watch new opportunities unfold. The information you acquire and new connections you forge can be a great asset in the future.