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Have you ever received a call from a headhunter or recruiter out of the blue? Sometimes, they’ll call your work phone and leave a voicemail you weren’t expecting. They’re recruiting for a new position. It’s one you haven’t heard about, but they want to speak to you. You don’t even know how they got your name, or your phone number. The recruiter says, “I have a new position I’m trying to fill. I wanted to reach out to see if you know anyone who might be interested.”

It’s always a strange call to receive because it’s such a surprise. If you’re like many people, you may start to run through the list of your friends ‘might be interested.’ But, here’s the thing. When the headhunter asks if you know someone who might be interested, they’re really asking if you might be interested. It’s a polite way of asking if you would want to be interviewed for the job. They only want to know if you have a friend if you aren’t interested.

Once you realize the real question, you’ll probably try to decide which response you want to give. You may initially want to say you aren’t interested. You aren’t looking for a job right now. Things are just fine at work. Or, if you are looking, you may want to say no because you don’t have enough information. You haven’t seen a job description. You don’t know how much the job pays or where it’s located. You don’t know much about the company.

But, when you aren’t looking for a job can often be the perfect time to find one. It means that things at your current job are probably going pretty well. And, if that’s the case, you’ll have more leverage if you do land a job offer. You won’t feel pressured to take something that’s not the right fit if you have a job that’s going just fine.

Still not sure if the job is for you? The best way to find out is to have the interview. When the recruiter asks if you know anyone, let them know that you would like to learn more. You would be interested to speak with the hiring manager. Then, before you interview, ask for the job description and research the company. During the interview, ask questions to learn more.

Very often, job seekers tell me that they don’t want to waste the company’s time. If the job didn’t end up being the right fit, they would feel guilty. But, why? The company will interview many candidates who won’t end up being the right fit. But, they wouldn’t know who to hire if they didn’t interview them. How is going to an interview any different? And, how will you know whether or not a job is for you if you don’t learn more?

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard is this: “Always take the first interview.” You really never know where it might lead you.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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