A lot of people here on the Dice Blogs and other career sites advocate for you, the job seeker. There is their advice, of course — some of it very specific in its intent to help you get a position. After all, we want you to succeed.
Often, though, the reaction we get isn’t about the advice, it’s about the job itself. As in, the job sucks so why try so hard? As in that company sucks, so why put out the effort?
One user on my site went so far as to call all this advice “interview heroics.” As in, “Why go through all these interview heroics to end up with a mediocre job?”
It’s a valid question. And here’s the answer.
1. You don’t have a choice about taking a job UNTIL you’ve received an offer.
Now this may seem brilliantly basic, but people still miss this point. Until a company offers you a job, you have no choice about taking a job — mediocre, sucky, stellar or not.
The goal of your resume is to get you a phone interview. The point of the phone interview is to get a face-to-face interview. And the face-to-face interview is about getting you a job offer.
Without the job offer, the job search is not a success. Only with the offer do you get the opportunity to work a different gig than the one you have now.
2. Interview skills are the poorest job skills most people have.
This makes sense — we look for jobs a lot less often than we use Microsoft Office. We’re going to do better with the job skills we use the most, not with the ones we use the least. If you interview for a job every couple of years, you won’t do as well as you do in the work you do every day. (By the way, the same is true for the hiring manager. He or she doesn’t get to practice interviewing every day either.)
Consequently, you want to take every opportunity in the hiring process to use — and improve — your job-searching skills. Can your resume be improved? How about phone interviews? Can you practice face-to-face interviews more? How about effectiveness at supporting your business network to find opportunities?
Practice makes perfect — so use the opportunities given to you to improve your skills.
Interview heroics are worth the effort
You and I may or may not agree that in the end a corporate job isn’t the best thing to do with your life. But we should agree that improving our personal skills to get the best possible employment security is worth the effort. The way you improve skills is to practice using those skills, “heroic” as they may be.