Interviewing is always a bit uncomfortable, and if you’re lucky to have a job, interviewing is probably the last thing on your mind; but is this really the best strategy? The five reasons below highlight why right now is the best time for you to interview — whether or not you decide to take a new role is up to you. (Open Positions: https://apmpnca.org/jobs/)

Continue Good Habits. No matter how happy you are at your current position, or how much you believe you aren’t looking for a new opportunity, you should be taking at least one interview every six months. Why? First, it is important to practice pitching yourself and reminding yourself outwardly of the skills and values you bring to a team, company, and role. Second, it keeps you current on industry and market trends. Questions asked by interviewers may highlight a skill, tool, or innovation you need to practice or build upon. This way you’ll be an expert when the time comes. Lastly, you might realize there is something missing from your current employment situation and that you do in fact want to look for a new position. You don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t expose yourself.

Transparency. During the Covid-19 pandemic most companies are reducing or freezing hiring, thus businesses are only hiring critical positions. If you see an open position, this is a clear indicator of their priorities and funding. If you think your current role may be at risk of being furloughed or laid off, now is definitely the time to start interviewing.

Negotiating. It goes against our inclination to be kind and less greedy during a pandemic, but this is the time to negotiate strongly for yourself, especially if you currently have a position. As the above paragraph states, the position you are interviewing for is a company priority, and if you are their number one pick, then use it to your advantage. Think about your offer as a package that includes salary, bonus structure, vacation days, sick leave, benefits, and telework. If you want to telework every Tuesday, ask them to put it in your offer letter (don’t assume telework will be a given post-pandemic). You want to have kids, but the company’s Maternity/Paternity plan is poor; ask for an individualized plan for yourself (like three extra weeks of paid leave to care for a new child). If they can’t budge on salary, maybe they could give you an extra week of paid vacation or provide a signing bonus. Think hard about what you want, don’t be afraid to get creative, and remember the worst they can say is ‘no’.

Investigation. Interviewing when you don’t need to reduces the pressure to ‘nail it’. Instead, you are able to turn the interview into a two-way conversation, focusing less on selling yourself and more on interviewing them. Often overlooked during times of stress to secure a source of income, interviewing when you have the ability to walk away from an offer helps you to focus on characteristics other than salary. This is the time to dig deep into a company’s culture; really quiz the interviewer on challenges, department vision, telework policy, parental leave, vacation accrual over time, your would-be-boss’s management style, team dynamics, and many other things that can make or break an eight-hour work day.

Options. A general life rule: having options is good. You don’t have to take an offer you receive, but it’s always better to have the option available to you.

Author

  • Sarah Kassell was a Protege in the 2018 NCA Mentor-Protege program, and while it was very helpful, Sarah knew the program had a lot of untapped potential. Thus, in 2019 Sarah joined the Professional Development Committee to re-imagine and revitalize the program. This year, Sarah focused on bringing technology and accessibility to the forefront of the program; utilizing an internal website, webinars, and rotating in-person gatherings to accommodate all participants. One of the most rewarding experiences was helping expand the network of our proteges, especially with regards to career advancement and new opportunities. For the 2020 program, Sarah would like to implement 2019 lessons learned, give participants more input over the curriculum, and drive higher attendance rates for in-person events. Although the Mentor-Protege program is a key responsibility for this role, Sarah would like to implement two new opportunities to engage all NCA members on their professional development goals.