Follow-up; interviewing is the best networking opportunity
I have an ex-colleague who keeps an eagle eye on job boards and takes the view that he always needs to know what he is worth. For me that is an extreme approach; I take the view that a job search is a job in itself. It can also be quite a distraction from the role you are currently in as well as being a sign to yourself that you are not committed to your current employer.
Having said that, interviewing is a phenomenal networking opportunity. At its best you get the opportunity to talk to senior executives in businesses you would never otherwise get to. As a minimum, it’s a neat way of finding out what your competitors are up to, of keeping up-to-date with trends in your marketplace, as well helping you understanding what you are really worth.
Also, really importantly, getting out there enables you to practice your interview skills for the role you really want. If you’re not sure about the role, you can take more risks and try different things out. You can also negotiate harder if you are not so sure you want to make the move.
An old colleague of mine was always searching for that perfect role, and so always job hunting. I was amazed he was able to avoid distracting himself from his day job with all the interviewing he did. In the process his network grew and one day he had a massive pay off. A business where he had interviewed came back to him for a much more senior role and his career leapt forward. An extreme case maybe, but he always behaved consistently well and knew everyone in our industry. Interesting approach, but fair play.
Most importantly, follow up after the interview. Even if the role was not for you or you were not for them, part with a thank you and a bit of class. You never know where you might cross paths with that business again. Their preferred candidate may change their mind or a new role might crop up. You might end up in a company that gets bought by that company. Just don’t burn your bridges and use the experience as gaining more knowledge and a wider network.
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