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Recently I've been contacted by many recruiters about job openings. As of right now I am not actively looking for a new job (I'm happy with my current one) but I am interested in what other opportunities there are and I feel it's good to keep interviewing so I don't lose the practice (especially for technical interviews).

I also feel it's in my personal best interest to interview at other companies every now and then to see not only what opportunities are out there but also reflect on where I am at and how I am growing in my own company (if I find myself not being able to answer questions for roles I may be interested in, I would find that somewhat alarming and a wake up call for myself).

Overall, how is this viewed by peers and by recruiters? Is it best to be open and honest about that? Is it better to wait until I feel I am actively looking to leave my own company? I know some people may say, "If you want interview experience, you can talk to your manager and shadow people in interviews in your own company" but it really isn't the same as being the interviewee. It also does not give me insight as to what other companies may be asking or expecting in the line of work or career I hope to move towards.

  • one issue that might not be good is your current company might think you're getting ready to jump ship without informing them and start quietly downgrading your responsibilities and looking for a replacement. – Kilisi Nov 1 '15 at 8:42
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    Did you mean "As of right now I am NOT actively looking for a new job"? – Charmander Nov 1 '15 at 9:28
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    "How is this viewed by peers and by recruiters?" - Presumably the recruiter knows you are currently employed, so there's no problem there. As for your peers (colleagues), it's probably better not to discuss it with them. – Brandin Nov 1 '15 at 10:34
  • @Charmander You can go ahead and suggest edits to such typos when it's obvious from the sentence or question what the OP actually meant.. – Lilienthal Nov 1 '15 at 12:51
  • Thanks for correcting the typo and sorry I didn't see the original question. This is definitely a duplicate. – Kevin Xu Nov 1 '15 at 21:29
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Take the interviews. You owe it to yourself to improve your job finding skills. Most people don't advertise what they'll pay, so how else can you be certain where you stand in the job market until someone else offers you another job?

There are a few things in the workplace that you just don't talk about and some assumptions people make. The "are you wasting someone's time" factor goes both ways.

Recruiters: 1. Will never tell you that you're not the top choice and will interview you anyway. 2. Are sales people and will at least want the opportunity to talk you into the job. 3. Some positions are practically already filled, but for some regulatory reasons, they have to interview at least 3 people.

Rarely will you find anyone who is completely open about where you stand before having an interview.

There is always a chance you may discover during the interview process that the position turns out to be better than the one you have. If you're open-minded about the job market and are eager to advance, no job interview is a waste of time. I turned down my last offer 4 times and on the 3rd one, I really thought I would take. I think both parties learned a lesson on this one. It's only a waste of time if everyone doesn't learn something from it. If a company can't apply what they learned from failing to hire me, that's not my problem.

  • Very strong answer, covering many hard-won lessons that only come from real experience. Hard to add anything. Great answer. – Andyz Smith Nov 1 '15 at 12:42
  • Indeed, it is never wrong to participate in order to gain experience. – Karlo Mar 6 '17 at 14:59
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Unless you are honestly going to consider an interesting job offer after a successful interview, then I don't think is the right thing to do.

You are wasting other people's time. If they knew you are 100% sure you are going to reject a potential offer, they wouldn't interview you (in other words, why would they be interested in interviewing someone who's not going to join the company?). Reversing the roles, do you think it would be ethical if they interviewed you even though they don't have any open positions? They would also do it, as you suggest, to see what candidates are looking for, to assess the general level, and to train the interviewers.

There are many other ways to keep yourself updated with the latest market trends. This may vary depending on the industry (reading your question it looks like you are in IT person, maybe a Software Developer?), but these are generic things you can do: reading and practicing online, reading books, researching, etc. You can search for common interview questions as well, but learning those doesn't mean you have the knowledge or ability to use certain technologies correctly. I think it's very important to make a clear difference between knowing some answers and having real knowledge.

Regarding practicing for interviews, it will never be the same as a real interview, of course. However, I don't think going to an interview knowing you are not going to accept any offers is a real interview either, since you don't have the same pressure, whether it goes right or wrong, you don't lose anything, other than time. You may learn about some specific questions, though.

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    You'll never know for sure until you do an interview and get an offer. – user8365 Nov 1 '15 at 11:49
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    @JeffO, exactly, I totally agree with you. But in the question, the author seems to be interested in attending interviews just for the sake of practicing and checking the market. At least this is what I understood. Definitely, if you go to an interview and the offer is amazing (I'm not just talking about money when I say "offer"), you might end up taking it, but my answer was directed to his particular scenario/doubt. – Charmander Nov 1 '15 at 11:54
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    @Charmander - You may have what you think is the greatest job in the world, but it would be a mistake to go for an extended period of time without entertaining an interview or two. It is a skill that requires practice and I don't think anyone should wait until they really need another job. – user8365 Nov 9 '15 at 15:40
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It is a really good idea to interview occasionally. This is called "exploring opportunities". In the same way that corporations look into new business and markets, even when they're profitable and doing fine, individuals who are in control of their careers ALSO must explore the possibility of new jobs and career changes.

One way that people end up in miserable jobs is that they wait until their current job is unbearable or until they see layoffs before starting a search, leading to a situation where there is very limited time to find a job. Much better to always keep a passive search going and occasionally interview if the opportunity looks really good.

I don't think that you can truly say that you're 100% not intending to leave your current employer. You are trying to understand what is out there and most certainly would entertain making a jump for the right job-- anyone would.

Moreover, by interviewing and making contact with potential future employers, you are taking action on the future and not just dreaming about it, this is vital for maintaining a useable professional network. High level executives do this all the time and so do people who are actively shaping their own careers.

As for peers finding out, just be discreet about it and say that you were curious about job x and were exploring an opportunity. There is some risk that your employer will find out but if you're a productive employee in good standing that will amount to nothing more than an awkward discussion unless your employer is astonishingly petty and vindictive. Just assure them and re-iterate why you like your job.

You are not "wasting time" for yourself or anyone else, do it!

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