In a previous column, I pointed out why you do NOT need to take every interview or networking meeting. But the bigger problem is that people don’t network enough. I often hear from happily employed people that they feel guilty taking an unexpected interview because if they are not genuinely looking, then they are wasting everyone’s time. That is not true. Absolutely be up front about the fact that you are not looking, but I bet the prospective employer will want to see you anyway. Even if you don’t take the job, here are 3 benefits to taking the job interview:
You expand networking connections on all sides
Even if this position isn’t right or the timing isn’t right, you start a relationship for the future for both of you. If the connection was made via a recruiter, you have deepened your relationship with the recruiter and between the recruiter and the employer.
You share market information
I’m not talking about divulging confidential information about your current company, which you should never do. By meeting a different employer, you get a sense for your market value. By meeting you the employer gets a sense for the talent market. If there is a recruiter involved, the recruiter is better able to understand what his/ her client is looking for and adjust the search accordingly. A bonus for your colleagues and the employer’s staff: if salaries are out of whack on one side, you now have ammunition or have given ammunition for change.
You share business insights
As you each talk about what is happening in your industry, you and the employer gain new perspective and insight. Maybe there is a possible collaboration on a new venture. Maybe you get inspiration for a modification or a process improvement on something your company is trying to do. Maybe you can make an introduction to someone in your network, thus passing this good opportunity forward.
A lot of good can come out of unsolicited interviews (think networking meetings!) for you, for the prospective employer and for the recruiter. Yes, they take a few hours out of your day, and ideally you also spend time preparing for them. But the benefits accruing to your career, professional development and market knowledge are worth this investment. It is very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of executing your work and postpone the proactive career management that these interviews require. These unsolicited interviews are a gift. Take advantage and enjoy.
--Posted by Caroline Ceniza-Levine