Spending Effort on the Least-Favorite Option
February 23, 2012 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Do I go for an interview when I'm not sure I'm interested anymore?

I'm trying to decide on whether it would be worthwhile to go to a second interview with this company. Scheduling it for a time that works for me is a bit tough, and I'm going to have to spend vacation time to go out there... but should I bother, given the following?

My boyfriend and I are currently exploring our options to move back to the same city again. He was transferred last summer. He also doesn't really like his job, and is planning on pursuing another career. I'm happy with my current job as a process engineer, but I'm finding the industry my office serves is rather uninteresting. Because it's a long unimportant story, I'll summarize by saying we figured out our two best options:

1) We both move to another city - I get transferred within my company and get to serve an industry I find more interesting, he quits his job and transitions into training for one of a couple careers that really interest him. We'll be very close to his family, relatively close to mine. I could also probably find a job in a different company there if mine falls through (unlikely). Timeframe: 6 months or less.

2) I move to his town and try to find a job in/near there, he keeps his current job and tries to get transitioned into a better career. Timeframe (for him): 1.5 years.

It's obvious I'm hoping for 1). The problem with 2) is the fact there aren't a lot of job opportunities for me there. The interview at hand is at a plant 1.5 hours away from his city. There is one other place in his city that just put out postings.

The place I'm interviewing for is in the industry which I currently specialize in... but want to get out of. The plant is currently undergoing expansion with a lot of neat technology. So if I did accept this job, it would be engaging despite my desire to pursue other expertise. But if anything else ever came up (like at the plant within his city), I would leave in a heartbeat. They have problems with people wanting to leave after 2 years (because of its location). They want someone who will be out there for 5+ years... I can't promise that in good faith.

A lot of you might think that 1.5 hours' commute is no big deal, people regularly make that commute. This is very uncommon where I live, a 40 minute commute is what's at the upper limit of reasonable. Everyone expects I will just get a place to live in the nearby itty-bitty town for the workweek. This job will be 9.5+ hours a day, 4 days a week. Not unreasonable, but this still means I'll spend every weekday evening away from my bf - we currently see each other ever weekend. This just shortens my drive down to 1.5 hours from 5.5-6. That's not much of a benefit.

The only reason I can see to pursue the interview is to keep my options open a while longer. My internal transfer paperwork was only submitted last week, and I think it has a great chance of success within a month or so. If an interview for the more local company comes up, it will be within the next month too.

So what do you think? Will you say I shouldn't bother, or should I go regardless and only make the final decision if an offer's made? A lot can change in a month.
posted by lizbunny to Work & Money (21 answers total)
In the interests of building, not buring any bridges, I say you should go.

No one can promise 5 years of their lives to much in good faith. I think that's understandable. So don't. Be honest.
posted by inturnaround at 12:53 PM on February 23, 2012

I'd interview, personally. It gives you more practice, it keeps your options open, and (assuming you turn them down) is a nice ego boost. You don't have to take the job, obviously.

Also, with respect to the 5-year commitment--unless they would be willing to give you an iron-clad 5-year contract (which I know you don't want), you shouldn't feel obligated to give them assurances of 5 years of service.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:56 PM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

people don't get enough practice interviewing in their normal lives. this is a good chance for you to practice for a job you really want. go, be charming, listen to their offer.
posted by nadawi at 12:56 PM on February 23, 2012

Go - interviewing is always useful practice, if nothing else, and keeping your options open is a really good idea in general, and especially in this economy.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:57 PM on February 23, 2012

Yes, go to the interview. Interviews are about both parties deciding if they are interested. If they make you an offer during this second interview, tell them that you'd like 24-48 hours to talk it over with your partner before deciding.

If you're still uninterested after the second interview and a day or two of mulling it over, politely decline the job offer.
posted by asnider at 12:58 PM on February 23, 2012

Nthing the practice! You can actually really relax and shine since you know the outcome -- you do not want and will not have the job.
posted by jgirl at 12:58 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I went to an interview for a job I thought I wasn't interested in and of all the interviews I went to, it ended up being my favorite and the one I took.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 1:00 PM on February 23, 2012

Response by poster: I have to add though, this is the second interview and it will take me 5+ hours one-way to go there for the on-site interview. Mid-week, it would be 10 hours just of driving.

I'm having trouble booking a day that's convenient for me, they effectively want me to take a whole day of vacation off, and it's not a good scene right now to ask for that at work.
posted by lizbunny at 1:01 PM on February 23, 2012

You clearly don't think it would be worth your time then. Don't go. That attitude has a nasty way of showing up in interviews.
posted by inturnaround at 1:09 PM on February 23, 2012 [6 favorites]

In my business, I'm always looking for more work. Whenever I meet a new potential client I don't even necessarily care what the interview is for because I know that even if I don't get that job, perhaps our paths will cross again down the road and they'll have something else for me. Maybe the person you'll be interviewing with will change companies and someday have the ability to offer you a job in city that's more convenient for you. I think you should go to the interview and "keep your options open". Worst case scenario is that you get offered the job and have to turn it down. As long as you do so in a polite, respectful way, you can still use this interview to create contacts for the future. Good luck.
posted by ljs30 at 1:24 PM on February 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're happy where you are now. You don't think you will be willing to commute to this job in the future. You're reluctant to take the time to go interview.

Normally I'd say, based on personal experience, go interview and pretend to be as enthusiastic as possible, just to see what happens.

But if this is a job that you can't imagine wanting even if circumstances change, which is what it sounds like? I, random Internet person, give you permission to skip the interview.
posted by chickenmagazine at 1:26 PM on February 23, 2012 [4 favorites]

If it's too much of a pain to get there, don't go. But if you have the opportunity, do it, only for the experience.
posted by mleigh at 1:53 PM on February 23, 2012

Eh, I say don't go. It's not professional to waste people's time (yours or theirs). If you're really sure you wouldn't take it, then stop now. You'd burn more bridges by turning down an offer than a 2nd interview. You can keep your options open by sending them a gracious email saying, "thank you for the opportunity, it's a great job, but I've decided to put my job search on hold for the near future. I hope you'll consider me for future positions."
posted by yarly at 2:23 PM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is a second interview? They're seriously interested then. If you are not, then tell them so. Graciously and with regard, let them know that you so appreciated meeting them and that the company is very interested but at this time, you don't think you are their best fit.

(As a side note, long commutes suuuuuuck. I wouldn't do one unless it was a stepping stone opportunity.)
posted by amanda at 2:33 PM on February 23, 2012

interested = interesting
posted by amanda at 2:43 PM on February 23, 2012

Given the 10 hour round-trip, I'll change my answer and tell you to turn down this interview. It sounds like you really don't want to do it, and that is a crazy amount of travel time for an interview that you don't even want to attend.
posted by asnider at 2:47 PM on February 23, 2012

I was going to say go, if only for the experience. But a 10 hour round trip? How much will the gas for that cost you, not to mention the time off work. No amount of interview experience is worth that.
posted by Solomon at 3:01 PM on February 23, 2012

If you do not want the job, do not waste the time of the people doing the interview.
posted by HuronBob at 3:11 PM on February 23, 2012

While you should have absolutely zero concern for the feelings or "time" of the interviewers, ten hours driving for a job you want sounds like self-torture. A lot of people won't even drive that far for a vacation. You don't need the job; you're good. Go easy on yourself.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:18 PM on February 23, 2012

job you *don't* want
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:19 PM on February 23, 2012

I think if they specifically say they want people to commit for 5 years and you know you won't do that, you should politely turn them down.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:00 PM on February 23, 2012

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