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I attend technical IT interviews to check if personal techical skills are good and for marketing research (what technologies are popular at market at this moment, what tech. gaps do I have etc.).

The real purpose of an interview isn't actually obtaining a job.

So,

  1. If I were to be offered a job, how can I appropriately and politely reject it?

  2. Should I be upfront with the interviewers on my real intentions?

marked as duplicate by gnat, Mister Positive, JasonJ, Michael Grubey, Draken Jul 6 '17 at 9:47

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  • I agree with @Erik. Many specialists and even companies do just that. At least in my country. Both sides explore the market this way. Noone cares if it's unethical. But noone tells about their true intensions. If you get an offer you don't plan to take, you should behave like if you were truly seeking for a job and had better opportunities (your job). But it can turn out you can actually find a better job. – Amberta Jul 5 '17 at 9:21
  • BTW, you don't have to go to interviews to know about popular technologies, just look through vacancies, sort them by skills mentioned. Some websites allow that. – Amberta Jul 5 '17 at 9:27
  • point 1, "I have decided not to proceed with your offer" point 2, no, of course not. – Fattie Jul 5 '17 at 9:44
  • Seems like a lot of work for little gain. Much easier to just look at the numerous websites specialising in IT jobs, which will give much wider coverage than the number of interviews you can reasonably manage. – peterG Jul 5 '17 at 10:36
  • You could be given an offer you shouldn't refuse. Along with seeing what skills people want, you can also find out how high they're willing to go in salary. Just because they're not willing to meet your extremely high salary request to change jobs doesn't necessarily mean you are unethical. – user8365 Jul 5 '17 at 17:02
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I strongly advise you not to do this. You are using other people's valuable time for personal gain without taking into account they won't be getting anything in return. What you are proposing to do is unethical.

There are many other ways to obtain what you want without tainting your reputation. If you are selective about an opportunity and are open to accepting an offer if it suits your needs, that is one thing, but to lead interviewers on without any intention to accept an offer is unethical and unprofessional.

Depending on what field you are in, personal integrity can be an essential asset and if you gain a reputation as being dishonest, it can severely limit your professional development.

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    I can't really agree with this. It's totally standard practice in many regions/fields. – Fattie Jul 5 '17 at 9:43
  • @Fattie Going to interviews when you're not looking for a job and have no intention of ever accepting an offer if you get one is standard practice? Do you have examples of fields where this is the case? It sounds highly unlikely and a waste of time for everyone involved... – Cronax Jul 5 '17 at 11:36
  • If you mean companies doing this (ie, when companies just scatter interview to get a sense for who's out there, what's happening with competitors and what's being paid, with no intention at all to hire) it's widespread in technology. If you mean persons doing this (ie to get a sense of who's hiring, what they are like, etc) it's pretty common in the major tech regions in the US, yeah. The downside for companies is nothing; the downside for persons is you may actually want to work at the place later! But, in software / startups everything is so fast-moving, it's generally a non-issue you know? – Fattie Jul 5 '17 at 12:00
  • @Cronax I'm sure it's very different in different fields/countries, as you say – Fattie Jul 5 '17 at 12:46
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I'm going to ignore the ethical part for a bit, and answer the questions posed directly first.

If I were to be offered a job, how can I appropriately and politely reject it?

You are under no obligation to accept a job, and an offer is not a gift, it's a contract that both sides must be okay with. It's perfectly okay to respond with "Thank you for your offer, however I find that at this time your company would not be the correct fit for me."

Should I be upfront with the interviewers on my real intentions?

No, because if you tell them beforehand that you're not actually considering their opening, they have no reason to interview you and they'll know you're wasting their time, which will probably reduce their opinion of you quite a bit. You might get a half-assed interview, or you might just be shown the door immediately.

With that out of the way; don't do this. It's acting under false pretenses, and it's rude to the people whose time you are effectively wasting. And, to top it off, it's unnecessary. It's not like you need to trick engineers into talking about their work, their favorite tools, what they want to work with, etc.

Just look around for meetups in your area and visit them, and you can talk to all the engineers directly without having to go through the motions of interviews, talking with HR people, having to do silly coding tests, etc.

You can even just email companies directly; many smaller studios (who are often working with the latest tools simply because they started more recently) are perfectly fine with inviting people over for a coffee and a chat just to network and spread their name. Some will say so directly on their website. For the others; you've got nothing to lose with a quick email. People enjoy talking about what they do.

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    "No, because if you tell them beforehand that you're not actually considering their opening, they have no reason to interview you and they'll know you're wasting their time..." Which is another indication that this is a bad idea. The company will probably not be willing to help if they knew, so why would deceiving them into helping be a good thing? – wildbagel Jul 5 '17 at 14:12

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