Most people begin interviewing for a new job when…they’re looking for a new job. Makes sense, right? Actually, there are several solid reasons to make job interviews a regular part of your professional development, whether you are actively seeking a new role or not.
“Interviewing for jobs that don't immediately excite you can still benefit you in many ways,” said Highrise member Michelle Ramadan. “Talking with the team could lead to excitement. It could open doors to new roles at that company that may pop up in the future. It is also great practice to refine your personal pitch and keep a pulse check of what recruiters are looking for, particularly for young professionals.”
Read on for our top reasons why you should always be interviewing:
Just like any skill, interviewing skills get rusty. (If you’ve ever interviewed for a job for the first time in years, you likely know this.) Interviewing regularly not only keeps those skills sharp but can also improve them. Go and interview at a place you are lukewarm about so when your dream role does come up, you’ll be ready.
Interviewing is a great way to connect with people at other companies. Down the line, you might end up hiring someone you interviewed with, or someone from her team. Or you might end up working with her at another company. Expanding your professional network is always prudent.
“I've gone back to companies and individuals I've interviewed with in the past,” said Highrise member Carolyn Philip. "It's really reinforced the value of weak ties in my professional network.”
Interviewing is an opportunity to stay up on industry trends and new developments in your field, which can make you sharper at your current job. You can learn about what another team is doing or exciting projects they’re working on and bring that knowledge to your own role.
How hard or easy would it be for you to find a new job right now? Are you making what you’re worth in your current role? Those are tricky questions to answer without getting out there and having some conversations. Interviewing will give you a sense of what you’re worth, valuable knowledge even if you’re not planning to leave your job.
Philip said of regular interviewing, “It gave me insight into my market value – not only in terms of money, but the level of role that I was being sought after for. I learned that I tend to underestimate both.”
Sometimes the best way to improve your chances of a raise or new role at your current company is to make clear there are other options out there. If you know lots of opportunities exist, you will bring more confidence to conversations with your current company. You don’t need to directly threaten to leave (in fact, we don’t suggest that), but you can communicate that you know your value.
Interviewing can help build your confidence and self-advocacy skills — again, important abilities even if you’re not looking for a new job. Interviews provide an opportunity to refine your personal pitch and practice telling your career story.
We firmly believe the upsides of regular interviewing outweigh the downsides, but there are a few things to be cautious about:
Be mindful of any cues you might be sending with your behavior. This is far less applicable in the Zoom era, but things like too many “appointments” out of the office or coming in late dressed differently than you normally would — of course these things can send signals to your colleagues you might not want to send.
A word of caution from Philip: “If you're interviewing at startups, be careful talking to fellow portfolio companies. The founder network is small and word can get around. The last thing you want is for your manager to be tipped off somehow.”
It is perfectly OK to interview for a role you’re not overly excited about. After all, companies interview lots of folks they don’t hire. They take up candidates’ time, compare them against each other, and it’s OK for you to do the same. That said, it is a balancing act.
Ramadan advises, “It is important to be cautious of everyone's time, yours and the recruiters. Be honest with recruiters about your level of interest. Recruiters will still likely want to chat with you, even if you aren't actively interviewing.”
Philip adds, “If you know you wouldn't take the job under any circumstances, you don't have to go through an entire interview process. It's a lot of time and energy for both you and the company. It's okay to withdraw from an interview process with a lot of integrity while leaving the door cracked open.”
Finally, try not to be overwhelmed by the prospect of interviewing regularly. There can be a tendency to feel like you need to do a lot of pre-legwork — completely overhauling your resume, doing lots of proactive outreach. All you really need to do is keep an open mind. If a recruiter contacts you, take the call. If you happen upon an interesting opportunity, reach out for more information. The worst that can happen is you end up in the same place you already are.