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NOVAK: Welcome Interview Requests, Then Decide 

        Q: A company called me to schedule a job interview, so I agreed to it without thinking. I later researched the company and decided I do not want to work there. How do I politely cancel the interview without giving the real reason? I don’t want to chance being placed on a “do not call” list if the company has such a thing, and I don’t want to look unprofessional for changing my mind. 
        A: You cannot cancel your interview. You already accepted the interview, and your reputation and credibility as a candidate relies on your follow-through. According to Dr. Valeria J. Stokes, vice president of human resources for a not-for-profit healthcare system, “Canceling your scheduled interview will derail any future opportunities with that company and more. That is because executives in the same or related industries often know each other and share their positive and negative experiences about various job candidates. And yes, you might also be placed on a do not call list of candidates, which will damage your chances for advancing in that industry. The only good excuse for canceling your job interview is because you have accepted another job,” says Dr. Stokes. When you are job hunting, your knowledge of proper business protocol and your behavior will be noted by others, so because you committed to the interview, you must follow through. 
        Increasing your connections is important to any job search. Accept all appropriate connections that pop up on your path. A good place to start is through LinkedIn. Include personal and business introductions you receive for potential referrals, friends of friends, industry experts, colleagues in your past workplaces and even blind dates friends have been wanting you to meet (if you’re single). Why? Because you want to uncover every opportunity and establish solid connections for furthering your career. Always remember, connections are a two-way street, so always extend your help when asking for help from others. Some of those connections may even turn into friendships. 
        Dr. Stokes says it is a compliment to you when you receive a referral to an industry expert. “If you refuse or ignore an interview request, you are blocking a path to other opportunities.” 
        Interviews are not just for finding out about a job. They are for broadening your network, and any connection could become meaningful at any time. Candidates should always be polite and receptive to all in recruiters’ positions, even if some recruiters do not seem polite to you. As a sample response to an interview request, Dr. Stokes suggests you greet the person contacting you with the following: “Thank you for reaching out to me with this opportunity. Is it possible for you to email me more information? I would like to explore the position and I will get back to you soon.” Now you will have a chance to review the position before committing to an interview. 
        If the company doesn’t fit with your philosophy, ethics or career strategy, you can respond with the following: “Thank you for providing this information, but at this time the position appears too junior to my role,” or, “This position doesn’t align with my future goals, but would you like me to forward you my contacts who might be interested?” 
        You don’t want to waste your time or the recruiter’s time by going on an interview that does not match with your goals, but you still want to create a relationship with the person to maintain the connection. You never know what opportunities may appear on your career path. The CEO or HR representative may only say, “We have a job we want you to consider, so it will be up to you to ask for information.” Dr. Stokes further says, “Recruiters never give the candidate the whole story on the first phone call, so never say no without more information.” 
        Email career and life coach: [email protected] Ms. Novak responds to all emails. 

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