Friday, April 15, 2011

Can I tag along for an interview?

I got this question at a discussion forum with friends.

Can I tag along for an interview?

Adding a little more context to the question; the person asking the question comes with a background of approx 5-6 years of work experience and has been on the look out for a another job for the last few months. He hasn’t yet received a call from any prospective employer. Another person in the forum got an interview call with a company for a job that matches the original poster’s profile. This wasn’t a walk-in interview. It was a scheduled one. Should he just tag along with his friend?

The short & quick answer is – No. Please don’t tag along with your friend for an interview.

Now, here’s a bit more explanation. There are at least three different sets of people involved in this situation. In order of priority: Your friend. Company/Firm. Yourself.

First, let’s take your friend’s situation. He’s might have known you long enough and doesn’t want to end up saying ‘No’ (which he ideally should say). Yet, you are putting him on the spot by asking to tag along. It’s his interview call and let him go for it. The best you can get from your friend would be the mail ID of either the recruiter or hiring manager to send your resume. Tagging along would put him and yourself in an awkward situation at the interview.

Second, let’s see the company perspective. Yes, they would love to talk to another candidate, but it’ll have to be on another day too. This just happened to be a ‘scheduled’ interview. It means that time and effort of the interview panel was planned. They definitely can’t accommodate another unplanned candidate into their schedule. They’ll ask you to send your updated resume to them for consideration. Save yourself and them the trouble and wait for your friend to get back from the interview.

Finally, from your perspective, this is a great opportunity. Agreed. But you’ll end up messing the opportunity it if you tag along. Typically, companies would like to review a candidate’s resume before they initiate a discussion. And possibly even have a telephonic discussion before meeting you in-person. That hasn’t happened in your case, they’ll have to say ‘No’ to you.