You should interview with another company every year. The entire experience of interviewing is invaluable and serves to teach several lessons:
- empathy for interviewing candidates
- the market demand for your skills
- keeping yourself sharp
Empathy for Interviewing Candidates
If you have ever done the interviewing for a new candidate, you know what I mean when I say that empathy is important. Inexperienced interviewers, often, can be rude, insensitive, or even intolerable. I believe, through minimal fault of their own, that interviewers have simply become desensitized to what it means exactly to interview. Reality flash: it’s a nerve-wracking experience.
Interviewers, after seeing the nth candidate, begins to view the interviewing process as a routine or chore. They lose their humanity in the monotony. Make no mistake, this is a failing. To lose empathy for your candidate is a death sentence for hiring at your company. What remains will be candidates who are TOO good to work at your company, or have too high a bar for recruiting.
When you flip the script and allow yourself to interview somewhere else, JP, you will feel the rush of trying to come up with answers that you struggle to remember. You will sweat and stress and overall, be nervous. This is natural and something to remember when you’re on the other side of the table. Think about how you can help your candidate instead. Make allowances for nerves. Not everyone is a seasoned veteran when it comes to interviews.
The Market Demand for your Skills
Ever heard of the allegory of the cave? In Plato’s writing, he talks about people who dwell in caves. They believe that their world is limited to the shadows on the wall. When one of the cave-dwellers manages to break free into the world beyond, he is shocked and befuddled. Aside from that questionable use of the analogy, interviewing at another company is the proverbial “breaking” of the chains. You have to see what else is out there. Everyone wants to be paid a fair wage, but you won’t know any better until you go out and look.
What if your current company is paying you 10-20k less than you could command out there on the market? I believe that is as much your fault as it is the company. In an ideal world, the company would take care of you and give you appropriate raises. But they’re a business too, trying to cut costs and increase profit margins. It is also YOUR responsibility to know what you’re worth and to ask for it. Most bosses/managers would be happy to fight for you if you ask for a raise, granted you’ve done your research and are not asking for the moon. Be reasonable.
But you have to know what you’re worth before you can be reasonable. Know first, act second.
Keeping Yourself Sharp
The last and most obvious advantage to interviewing is that it keeps you sharp. It reminds you that the little bubble that is your company existence is just that - a little bubble. You should (hopefully) have value on the market and if you don’t, interviewing is perfect for assessing that. If you are interviewing and performing at a lower level than your number of years of work experience, that means that it’s high time you level yourself up. Learn where the industry trends are going. Make a plan and execute.
I have made a resolution in my career to always interview at least once a year. It is a pain in the keister, and it is stressful most of the time. But it’s also fun, and often puts me out of my comfort zone. Challenge yourself, JP, and you’ll find that great things will follow. That’s just how things happen. More than anything, companies value people who go above and beyond and are willing to fail spectacularly. The last thing they want are sheeple. They would off-shore for that.