By David Vigliotti

“The job spec doesn’t fit me perfectly” / “the commute is right on the border of how far I will go” / “I only want to work in the life science industry” Sound familiar?

While your time is valuable and you need to set up basic criteria around your search, I strongly advise people to be more flexible and open as it relates to taking a first interview.  I feel candidates are often overly selective about the interviews they take.  It is never a waste of time to meet with a company. Too many candidates turn down interviews based on a generic job spec, perceived commuting constraints, company size, or industry bias.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. First interviews are very non committal and informational. While candidates always need to sell themselves this is also the company’s chance to tell their story to the candidate. The story that isn’t in a job spec! Hearing how the company has grown and the direction they are going from someone on the inside may give you a new understanding and excitement for the role & company. You can’t experience passion and culture from an on-line posting. I hear it every day  “I was much more interested in the role when I left”
  1. Job specs can and do change.  More times than not job specs are created from a very boiler plate set of criteria. Once a company starts to interview they may see skills that would be beneficial in the role.  A healthy exchange of ideas in the first interview can transform the job spec to a more interesting role tailored specifically to your strengths.
  1. Everything is negotiable. I have seen time and time again clients adapt to get the right talent.   For example, a client may offer you 1 or 2 days at home or flex hours to offset a tough commute.  It’s hard to get a company to agree to those things unless they meet you and get excited about what you can bring to the table.
  1. There is no such thing as a waste of time when it comes to interviewing. .  You now have another contact in your professional network. This same company may have a need more suited for you at some point in the future. That hiring manager may move on to a new company and have a role for you at their new company.  That hiring manager may refer you to a colleague for a role that is more appropriate for you. None of this takes place without that first meeting.
  1. If you have not interviewed in a while it is important to get back on the horse. They only way to get comfortable again is to go on interviews.  While I would never use a company for “practice” you can learn from any mistake you make and apply what you have learned the next time around.

Again, I agree there needs to be some basic criteria around your job search. It can’t be all over the map. But don’t out think yourself.  I have a rule of thumb when I represent a candidate. I tell my candidates to take as many first interviews as they can but never take a second interview unless there is genuine interest.   Candidates go to work for people & companies they trust and like.   I have never met a candidate who said to me “I really don’t trust the hiring manager but I am taking the job because they wrote a great job spec” Give yourself the chance to make that connection by going on the interview.

David Vigliotti

David has over 25 years of hands-on recruiting experience on both a local and national level. Prior to founding TSP, David served as the Northeast Regional Vice President for a nationally recognized recruiting firm. Based in Boston, David oversaw technology recruiting for eight offices in five states. He also has addressed international audiences on technical recruiting trends, successful interviewing strategies, and efficient hiring techniques. His past experience affords him access to a diverse pool of candidates and a client list that is a compilation of New England’s best companies.