I'm struggling with a potential conflict of interest regarding an upcoming job interview. I'll state it in terms of the two conflicting interests:
Interest 1: I'm a software engineer (15 years commercial experience) and previous to my IT career I was a primary school teacher for a few years. I've recently been job hunting, still in IT, and was contacted by a recruiter regarding a job which sounded attractive on many fronts, at a small company making software in the education space, mainly for teachers, school administrators and parents. The company is about 5 years old, 20ish employees, recently been publicly awarded with some big contracts so are expanding. I understand part of what they require is to increase their mobile development capabilities.
I met with the recruiter, impressed him with my iPhone app DriveTime Traffic and we're heading towards an interview with the client.
Interest 2: I have had for quite a while what I think is a very good and original software idea which sits somewhere in the "school administration" area. My wife is a teacher and I regularly witness the frustration that a particular problem causes for her and her peers, and I have a potential solution which I believe could almost eliminate this frustration entirely.
I know how large a project it is likely to be, requiring app servers, database, web and mobile front ends. To that end, I'm not currently in a position to implement this myself as I work full time and don't have the financial ability to risk setting off on the grand adventure of quitting & forming a team & getting investors etc. It's the sort of software that would be a PERFECT fit for this potential employer's current suite of products.
Soooo....on the one hand given that I can't really ever see myself being able to implement it myself, I'm tempted to discuss the idea with this company - it would show interest/motivation and perhaps if they took both me and the idea on I would be able to help drive the project somewhat.
On the other hand, I'd be just giving them the idea and if they did go anywhere with it then all I get out of it at the most is my salary. And a job interview is not really the place to talk about any other sort of motivation I might have for this, e.g. having a financial stake in the project over and above the role of employee.
My gut feel is that I probably shouldn't mention it, but then if I don't get the job and nobody implements this idea, I'll be left wondering.
What should I do given this conflict of interest?