This article will give the definition of a courtesy interview, will explain how to recognize a courtesy interview, and will discuss how to respond to a courtesy interview. A courtesy interview is a job interview that is conducted with a job applicant who has little or no chance of being hired for the job.
Such an interview might be granted for many reasons. One reason, for example, might be because an important person, especially an important person within the hiring company, has recommended that the job applicant be interviewed. These recommendations happen more often today because of web sites such as LinkedIn. Another example of a reason for a courtesy interview might be because an employee who works for the hiring company wants to be considered for the job and might become resentful if he or she is not interviewed. Still another example of a reason for a courtesy interview is that the company interviewing might have an important client who has requested that a certain person be interviewed. These are only a few of the many possible reasons for the conducting of courtesy interviews.
There are several ways that job applicants can discover that they might be in a courtesy interview. One way is to recognize that the interview in which they are participating has some or all of the characteristics just described. Another way is for the job interviewer to discover, during the interview, that there is not a good match between his or her qualifications and the requirements of the job. Yet another way is for the interviewer say that they presently have no job openings, but they will keep the job candidate in mind if a job opens up in the future.
How should a job applicant react to an obvious or suspected courtesy interview? Instead of resentfully viewing the interview as a waste of time, the job applicant could view the courtesy interview as an opportunity. The job applicant cannot always be sure that they are in a courtesy interview. Thus, in case it is not a courtesy interview, the job applicant should give the best interview possible. Also, even if the job applicant is not selected for the present job, the interviewer might know of another job, now or in the future, that the job applicant can apply for, either in this company or in another company.
Another opportunity that the courtesy interview gives the job applicant is a chance to find out more about the company and the industry in which the available job is located. The job applicant could ask some of the same types of questions as he or she would ask during an informational interview.
Still another opportunity for the job applicant is to practice his or her interviewing skills. Instead of becoming depressed about not being selected for the job, the job applicant should think, “Practice makes perfect.” and, “A baseball player who never steps up to the plate will never get a hit.”
Have you ever suspected that you were in a courtesy interview? How did you react?