Before I begin, I don't think this is a duplicate of either of these questions, because the scenario is slightly different:

Should I go to an interview I don't intend to accept the job (if offered)?

Is it a good idea to take part in a transfer interview if I have no intention of accepting the job?

My scenario is different because I DO intend to take a new job at some point, and not an internal transfer.

Here's a bit more context:

I'm unhappy in my current role. They don't give me enough work to do (it's been over three weeks since I've had an assignment to work on), and the new manager is less than stellar since the old one quit. In addition, I recently completed a master's degree in a related field, and they refused my request for a raise. (They also did not pay for the degree--there was no tuition reimbursement).

As a result, I've started applying to other jobs. I've applied to several that don't exactly meet my criteria for what I'm looking to do in the process.

I would consider taking these positions if the offer was right. However, I don't anticipate either of the offers being in line with what I would want if I were to do the job.

Should I continue with the interview process and see if these positions offer me what I would require if I was going to accept?


4 Answers 4


An interview is a two way process. Not only is the company interviewing and gathering information about yourself but it is also an opportunity for you to interview the company. By all means continue the interview process if you are simply unsure about those specific companies and find out if these positions offer what you would like. What you should not do, however, is apply to or attend interviews for positions that you knowingly have absolutely no interest in. Doing so is simply wasting the company's and your own time.


I don't think there's a hard and fast rule for how to behave in your situation, and arguably, it depends on your intent.

Your question was,

Should I continue with the interview process and see if these positions offer me what I would require if I was going to accept?

Based on your text, it sounds like there's at least a chance of these jobs working out, and that chance depends on information you don't currently have. It's hard to tell if you're referring to compensation, benefits, type of work you'd be assigned, or some other detail - but it's important to note that interviews are meant to allow two parties to sufficiently understand each other well enough to make an employment decision.

Both the candidate and the employer have things that they're unsure about - the hiring process, but specifically the interview, is designed to make things clear, and remove doubt or hesitation.

So - if you're applying for these jobs and you're thinking to yourself, gosh, I wish I knew X, because then I'd know if I would be happy in this job - then, yes, you should continue until you know enough to determine if you're actually interested or not.

But, if your hesitation is more along the lines of, I already know X, and I'm unhappy about it, and would never take a job that had X then you should probably stop, in order to prevent wasting anyone's time.


Yes, go to as many interviews as you can handle.

You don't have to answer to anyone other than yourself and your own motivation. Similarly the company is under no obligation to hire you or anyone else.

If the job has some interesting feature, go ahead, it doesn't hurt to talk. Moreover, it is very common for employers to make accomodations for candidates they find particularly interesting. The job description is just a guide. Your job will start changing the day you start working. By the same token, the job may also change (because of your candidacy) before you even accept. You won't know unless you put yourself before them.

Even if the interview is just practice for talking to professionals in a particular domain, that is also just fine. As long as you're diplomatic with your rejection, it's fair game.

  • 3
    Even if the interview is just practice for talking to professionals in a particular domain I know it's common on The Workplace to treat interviews as fair game for "practice." But, speaking as a hiring manager, when I'm trying to fill a position, I'd rather people not waste my time practicing! If you really want practice, hook up with a recruiter, a career counselor at your alma mater, or look for another avenue where you can work with people who are trying to help you practice vs. people who are actually trying to hire someone.
    – dwizum
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 17:09
  • @dwizum, No replacement for the real thing, but it should be pretty much impossible to tell if the candidate is just practicing. And anway, it's not like there aren't time-wasting practices on the other side as well such as silly tests, grueling interview gauntlets, and rude behaviors such as ghosting.
    – teego1967
    Commented Apr 23, 2019 at 19:03

You are fine going to these interviews based on the fact that you will take the job if you can negotiate the right offer AND that it is conceivable that the right offer can be negotiated.

The first angle of that is be cautious about wasting your time with companies and roles that you aren't interested in. Eventually you may end up in a "I need something to keep food on the table" situation where any job will do but don't spend much energy on jobs that don't interest you until that point.

The second angle of that is assess if it is conceivable to negotiate an acceptable offer (as opposed to the initial offer will be acceptable). The more niche the required skills the more leverage you have in negotiation. If they require any degree you are very unlikely to be able to negotiate them far from their starting position as they likely have many options. If they require unusual combinations of skills (and you have them) then you have much more leverage to get them to move their offer into a range that you'd find acceptable as you may be the only qualified candidate.

Every job that you put effort into applying for will use up some of your emotional energy. Be conservative with how you use that energy; only bother with jobs that you think you can come to an agreement on.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .