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Take That Interview, Even When You Are Not Looking!

Dear Stephen,

I am a sales rep at a very prestigious and talked about brand, and, well, let me just say that it could be a #Haworth, #MillerKnoll or #Steelcase dealership that treats me well and has a good reputation in our market, so for the purposes of my privacy I'll leave that out. Things are always in flux today at any dealer, but that’s just the way it is nowadays. I like my job and have no reason to want to change right now but I keep getting calls from recruiters like you, from regional managers at manufacturers & dealer managers and, well, I guess everyone is hiring! I am asked regularly to interview for sales rep positions or even for other, more grandiose, titles usually promising the “potential” to make even more money. Many times, when the manager who is calling me tells me the name of their company, my first thought is “why would I leave a good job at my prestigious dealer to work for a company like yours?” You have to admit, there are a lot of brands and companies in our industry, both manufacturers and dealers, that might sell a lot of furniture but they are certainly not admired by the A&D community or people who work inside the industry. The other thing I worry about is if my boss hears that I am interviewing... That sure could backfire on me!

So, all things considered, I am not really looking for a new job. So why waste my time? Why bother with the whole thing? My wife has a different opinion, and tells me I am crazy and I should always see what is out there. I’m caught in the middle - start to interview or stay the course I’m on.

What do you say?


Employee or Interviewee?


Dear "ee",

Your wife is right! (Yes, often partners are right because they are more objective and can look at a decision from one step removed.) There are a number of reasons why you should take the interview. One, of course, is the standard reasoning that you may make more money and build on your career path. The second reason to interview may be even more important than the first, long termYou are expanding your network when you take an interview.

Take it from me, that manager you are meeting with will most likely move to another job in 3 years or less. So, if you make a connection with her or him now, and if you graciously turn down a job offer, you will have made a great connection that may help you out in the future. An #interview is an opportunity to extend your own brand, and is rarely a waste of time. Just think of what you may learn about a competitor or another part of the industry. And, god forbid, what if you interview for a particular job and discover that you actually want the job – and then you get rejected! Look at it as an opportunity to learn about yourself, get feedback from that manager, improve your weak spots, and make it a goal to see that person again some day, maybe at a different company or in a different role but you’ll still be the better for it. Interviewing is starting to look pretty good, isn’t it?

Think of interviewing as networking and learning. This is why I tell people to never turn down an interview even for a company they have no interest in, because it is not about the brand: it is about the person you are interviewing with as a contact in the future. Assuming you make a good impression.

I have some one other wake up call for you, confidentiality is rarely an excuse to not interview in today’s job market since candidates command the market. What is the worst thing that could happen if your boss found out? You work at a dealer, right? You would mostly like get a raise! Smart dealer owners appreciate their employees and if your boss does not, hey! give me a call.

This is a unique time in the job market, and you should be interviewing like crazy. Everyone should be.

So have your #LinkedIn up-to-date, with a nice, professional looking picture, and have your #resume ready at all times. It’s time to show off and network…. or rather “Interview”!