You should be interviewing

I posted this as a tweet thread, but for once I think it could benefit from being posted here where it’s linkable, etc.

I’ve been thinking lately about this guy I used to work with. He was a manager, and he coached all of his direct reports that they should be doing at least one first-round interview for a new job per quarter.

At the time I thought this was kind of loony, but I have very much come around to his line of thinking. For one thing, interviewing is a skill, and as with many other skills, you improve with practice.

And it is far far easier to practice the skill of interviewing if you’re already gainfully employed, and especially if you’re happy in your current job. The stress factor is lower & you can thus focus on your performance without the fog of excess cortisol to fight through.

It’s also an opportunity to improve your understanding of what other people in your field are doing — any interview should be as much about you learning about the company as the opposite, and it can be eye-opening to hear how other people are tackling problems in your domain.

Along the way, you can also build your network outside of your own company, which can have many positive impacts regardless of whether you leave or stay put.

But what about the employers doing the interviewing? Aren’t you wasting their time if you’re happy in your current job, and unlikely to leave? No!

For one thing, they can probably use the practice too. Some people (like me) conduct interviews for a living, but at a lot of companies, interviewers have other jobs, and only do it when there’s a pressing need.

For another thing, anyone hiring for a position should welcome the chance to talk to anyone qualified for that position — speaking to the widest possible range of candidates is the best way to set a baseline for your own expectations.

And! You may think you’re happy at your current job and aren’t thinking of jumping ship, but how do you know for sure? Giving someone the chance to pitch their opportunity to you isn’t wasting anyone’s time.

Now, the one major caveat I will include here is that first-round interviews are one thing, but going the full distance becomes increasingly expensive for both parties, and you should gauge your interest at each step.

As a hiring manager, the most painful part of my job is the offer process (although my current staffer rocks and makes it a lot easier). If you take me all the way to the offer stage with no real intention of seriously considering the offer, I will definitely be annoyed.

But any well-constructed interview process will have multiple checkpoints, so there are multiple places where you can pause and gauge interest. If you’re genuinely doing that, then you’re not wasting anyone’s time!

Which is why I’m now firmly on the side of my former colleague. Get out there and interview!

p.s. the guy I’m talking about got a new job & left the company like 6 months after he told me about his philosophy, so . . .

You should be interviewing