Go strong, or do not go at all

Q: I’m going for a job interview next week, and, to be honest, I’m not really sure I want it – I’ve heard mixed reports about the company. The job is a step-up from my current level (with a different company) and I’m attracted by the prospect of going up the ladder. The money is significantly better too, but I can’t really convince myself I want to work for this company. I suppose I’m between two minds. How should I approach this? (DD, email)

A: It’s a tricky situation. You can never really, truly, know what a company are like to work for until you go there and see how you get on: one man’s meat is another’s poison.

But I’d take the following approach: prepare for this interview as if it’s the job you’ve wanted all your life. Given that you are scheduled for interview, and that you’re going, it is the only feasible approach.

Otherwise, you are wasting your time.

If you go in there half-hearted, chances are they will pick up on it. I have known brilliant candidates who failed to persuade interview panels because they let the nagging doubt linger during the interview itself.

Research the company fully. Think through your examples. Make mental links between your experience and how it can be applied for the benefit of the company.

And go in there and do the best interview you can. Make them want you: that’s the primary purpose of every interview.

If they make you the job offer, you can then decide if you want it or not. The shuffling over and back at that stage will give you some insight into the company and the people therein.

If you have to turn it down, so be it: it’s not an ideal scenario, but those nagging doubts you currently harbour mean there is no ideal scenario here.

There are ways of turning down a job gracefully to minimise the chances of damaging bridges, though there is always the possibility that the company may react badly. But, from where I’m looking, you are interested enough in this job to go for the interview – and you owe it to yourself to give it your very best shot.

The only other alternative is to politely decline the offer of interview straightaway.

But if you decide to proceed, my advice would be to do yourself justice. Each-way betting rarely pays off in interview.


Navigating a career crossroads

You’ve reached a full-stop. You’re fed up with your current career or studies. You’re not quite sure what do to next.

The good news is there are some excellent resources out there to help you through a career crossroads.

Self-awareness is the key: it helps to get to know your skills, inclinations, behavioural characteristics, work style. CareersPortal.ie has some excellent free resources for people looking to find their ideal career. These includes various tests.

Here at Sli Nua Careers, we have assembled a number of tools from various sources in one handy e-pack, and we can send it onto you if you email getthatjob@slinuacareers.com with ‘crossroads resources’ in the subject line.

Sli Nua Careers offer CV preparation, interview training and mock interview services at their offices in Galway, Limerick, Dublin, and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo. Each month, they give away a free CV Makeover to a reader. Enter here: www.slinuacareers.com/cvgiveaway