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Thread: Interview for job I may not want

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Interview for job I may not want

    I have started circulating my resume as the first stage in a job search (I finish school in December), and I've been called in for an interview by a company I don't think I want to work for.

    Going in to talk seems like a good idea, as I don't want to slam any doors at this point, and to avoid offending my contact who gave out my resume. Also, I'm not 100% positive I don't want the job.

    I don't want to come off like a diva (I'm still in training, after all ) but it seems wrong to pretend enthusiasm for a position I probably don't want.

    What is the smart, professional way to approach this kind of situation?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Why are you not interested? Perhaps you might find that those reasons would be overcome if you were to work there. Even if not, you still might gain something from the interview. Go ahead. You can always say no.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Here is what I would want to hear.

    I'm sorry but I do not feel that this position is a good fit for me at this stage of my career.

    That keeps doors open and no employer wants an employee that doesn't fit it.

    Have an answer to why it isn't a good fit ready, because I would ask.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Books and magazine articles often say that the interview is not just a time for the employer to ask questions but is also a time for the employee to ask some questions. I haven't really done that, in part because when I was interviewing I didn't have enough work experience to have any idea what to ask, and I would probably be too scared of screwing things up to do so in an interview where I really wanted the job. If I were facing the kind of situation you describe, I would read up on some of those suggestions as to what types of questions the employee is supposed to ask and come up with some meaningful, situation-specific questions to ask during the interview on the theory that any doubts I have may be due to lack of information and if I blow it, no big loss.

  5. #5
    If at all possible, go to the interview. First, they might suprise you and it will be a better offer than you think. Second, never turn down an interview. If nothing else, it will help hone your interviewing skills. As you will find out in planning, keeping your interview skills sharp and your resume current is vital.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Future Planning Diva View post
    What is the smart, professional way to approach this kind of situation?

    The only reason I would think you would not go at this point is if there is considerable expense in making a trip. Like you said, not a good idea to "slam the door".

    My only question is, what are you going to call yourself when you get a job? The 'Future" portion of your Cyburbia name will no longer apply.
    ...my lifestyle determines my death style!
    - Metallica

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Whose ur planner hit the nail on the head. I recently went through the interview process (multiple times, in multiple cities and states, in person and over the phone).

    Even if it's not your ideal position, the practice will let you know what kind of questions to expect in your future interviews as well as give you a chance to formulate questions about things that are important to you.

    And remember - you can always decline the position...IF they offer it to you.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I agree in general with whose yur planner, but, you may have a harder time than you think in hiding your inner thoughts of dis-interest in the job and remember, we planning directors talk, so be careful and don't act cavalier because that will give you a bad rep - if I knew I wasted an hour interview with someone just practicing when I was interviewing about 30 people, which takes up a lot of time (I know, i did it a year ago) , I wouldn't be too happy about it - but I do think (and hope) you might be surprised

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Is this more of a entry-level grunt job?

    Try to be more optimistic, even if it's something you are not too crazy about. A negative attitude can show through your facial expressions and body language in an interview. Wait until after the interview to decide if this job is really a good fit (and if it is an entry level grunt job, you might need to consider their offer especially if it's a foot in the door).

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for the advice!

    All of your points are well taken.

    I do have an open mind to this job, but the grains of salt come from people I know who have previously worked at this company and left unhappy. The company doesn't have a terrible reputation, but it isn't considered a great place to work, either.

    I am also trying to order my own priorities in this job search. I want to continue to build general planning experience, both technical (software, analysis methods, graphics skills) and knowledge-based (policy, politics, best practices), so a job that is too narrowly focused wouldn't be a good fit.

    The company's website gives lip-service to professional development, and they say that they pay AICP, etc., which seems like a good start. But my experience so far indicates that it is relationships with peers and supervisors that are key for professional growth, as well as a willingness to delegate responsibility to junior staff. These might be harder to suss out in an interview context.

    The fact is that I haven't applied for a position. My resume ended up in their hands, and they contacted me. Under these circumstances, I think it is fair for me to approach the interview with lots of questions. I will also try to link my questions to my core skills and apptitudes: I am sincerely trying to find a good fit.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    ' My Momma told me, "You'd better shop around"...'
    Interviewing is kind of like dating, really.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    I would agree with all of the above, except I would not pay for travel over one hundred miles .
    I have interviewed for organizations that I thougnt that I would like to work for and was surprised at the interview, it has also go the other way and it became a job that I wanted. You always learn from every interview.
    I have also been lied to at interviews which I never understood. I was offered one job that I accepted and was promised flex time,which was very important to me at that time. On my first day on the job I was told that I could not have flex time, and that I would have to follow this other person around for a few months and then "we would see". The amazing part was that the other person that I was supposed to follow around, had less experience than me and that person got flex hours and I was expected to work traditional hours, Made absolutely no sense, but after I was there a couple of weeks I realized why everyone had Dilbert calendars on their desks. It fit that organization. Naturally I started sending out resumes immediatley.
    So if you get the chance to visit the work place, observe the interactions among the employees and observe the work areas, If I had the chance to do this I would have seen the Dilbert calendars and politely turned the offer down.
    The amazing thing is that this organization used to have a good reputation as a place to work. Needles to say it no longer has that reputation. A good number of employees have left that organization.

    It may be helpful if you can talk to others who have worked for that organization and if they are honest ask them to tell you the good and the bad.

    Best wishes as you start your career,

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Dilbert calendars! I love it! (Too bad my current position is a satellite office and I never met any existing employees beforehand...)

    Diva, don't try too hard to live up to your handle. It's not easy to tell if a job is a "good fit" from an interview. (I've known quite a few people who accepted one position, and within a few weeks -- or days-- entertained a better offer.) Sometimes you have to stay there a while (several quarters) to make the job fit you.

    You mentioned that the company isn't held up as a great place to work. By former employees? Understandable. They've sought you out; they are trying to mend their evil ways, no?

    HTH

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    Go for the practice, even if they offer the job you don't have to take it.
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

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