Why I never turn down a job interview

Never Turn Down An Interview

Never Turn Down An Interview2

//Photo Courtesy: Levo League//

I’ve lost count of the number of interviews I’ve had in my career. There was a week a few years ago when I went on five different interviews. It was a miracle I was able to keep all the companies straight. By the end of that week I had a pile of dirty suit jackets and was sick to death of talking about myself, which if you know me at all, is pretty remarkable.

Even in the last year since starting Work It Web, I feel like I’m constantly interviewing. I’m always on the phone with potential clients proving my worth and value, all the while remembering to be charming and charismatic.

My point is, if I haven’t gotten good at articulating who I am and what I can offer by now, then I might as well throw in the towel.

Fortunately that’s not the case. Over the last few years I’ve mastered the art of interviewing. Being poked and prodded with questions by complete strangers doesn’t phase me at all. Even more frightening is I actually enjoy it. Of course this feeling didn’t manifest overnight. Getting good at this particular skill took patience and most importantly, a lot of practice.

But I’m not talking about the kind of practice where you talk to yourself in the mirror.

Because really, who does that?

I’m talking about my “never say no” interview policy. When I first started applying to jobs, I promised myself I would never turn down a job interview. Even if the job in question seemed a little far-fetched or the company wasn’t quite what I was looking for, I vowed I would at least interview.

I was reminded of this little promise watching an episode of this season’s GIRLS. We see Shoshanna interview with a women’s boutique and openly tell the manager she had no intention of taking the job and that this meeting was simply practice for the “real thing”.

 

Shoshanna Interview

 

I couldn’t help but chuckle at this. I immediately thought back to one of my first interviews. I literally met a team of “editors” at a dingy library in the middle of nowhere Illinois. During one of my answers they actually stopped me and said, “Oh, I don’t think you understand the question.” The icing on the cake was that one of the job requirements was I needed a car, and I didn’t even have a valid Driver’s License. I knew going in there was no realistic chance I would ever get this job, never mind accept it, but I interviewed anyway.

Interview proficiency and confidence is like a muscle, it needs to be worked in order to carry any weight. In this case, I wasn’t going to take the job, but the act of interviewing was beneficial in the long-run because I worked that muscle.

When I started my career, working that muscle was essential to stay competitive in my field. Companies expect the fresh meat post-grads to appear clammy and nervous in their first job interview. I wasn’t going to give them the satisfaction. If I got the chance to get my face in front of any hiring manager I was going to make damn sure they remembered me.

Now my interview muscle is strong and fierce, but that doesn’t mean I get lazy. Four years and countless interviews later, I still never say no, and here’s why: Every single time, no matter how pointless it seems, I learn something. No two interviews have ever been the same.

Two weeks ago, I was interviewing with a company and I was asked to describe an instance when I disagreed with my superiors and how I handled it. I hadn’t prepared for this question, and in the moment I felt unsure about my response. I was able to recover and formulate a solid answer because my interview muscles kicked in and went to work.

With interviewing you can never fully prepare for everything, but you CAN practice. And in my experience, practicing in real scenarios is the best way to learn. I’m happy I went on all those interviews, no matter how exhausting or ridiculous they were. I’m a better professional, and interviewer, because of it.

So next time you’re unsure about a job and you’re asked to interview. Go. And afterwards, buy me a drink for making you go.

Note: My views on accepting any “date invitation” aren’t quite as liberal, but that’s another post for another time!

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