Let's start with some research data to put the "job interview secret" (which I'll share in a moment) into context.

The online insurance broker NetQuote recently surveyed 800 people "who are currently or have been responsible for interviewing job applicants." They discovered that 7 out of 10 of respondents have interviewed an applicant "with no intention of hiring them."

Why would they do this? Boredom? Curiosity? A deep-seated need to psychologically torture hapless job-seekers? Nope. The real reason they interview folks they're not going to hire is so that they can say to their bosses something like this:

"We interviewed 10 qualified candidates and the best was..." [checks sheet of paper] "...Bob Harrelson, who entirely by coincidence is also [my brother-in-law | my college roommate | my future girlfriend ]."

They leave that last part out but you get the point.

Sadly, when you go to a job interview you might have 1) gotten your hopes up, 2) researched a company, 3) drove to the interview, 4) were interviewed, 5) drove home, 6) sent a thank-you note, and 7) waited expectantly... all for for a call that never comes.

And, in fact, was never going to come, because somebody else already had a lock on the job and the interviewer felt it was appropriate to waste your time and energy, just to make themselves look good. 

I'm telling you this not to make you angry, but because the secret I'm about to tell you--the secret no recruiter will EVER share--seems manipulative unless you realize that chances are you're being manipulated, too.

So, then, what's this big secret? This: to make yourself as hirable as possible, you should go ahead and interview for jobs you have no intention of accepting.

Why? Simple. Interviewing for a job is like any other skill: practice makes perfect. But unlike most skills, interview skills can only be developed in real-life situations. Simulations just don't cut it.

The more jobs you interview for, the better you get at answering questions, and asking them. And if you're not really interested in the job, you can relax and observe the process. Heck, you might even end up enjoying yourself!

Then, when you finally interview for a job you really want, you'll be more confident and polished.

Does this work? Oh, mai oui.

I know a woman who--at my advice--interviewed for jobs in her field during the years she was a stay-at-home mom. When she was finally ready to re-enter the workforce, with two weeks she interviewed for, and landed, her dream job.

As an aside, she also interviewed for, and was offered, another job--actually a pretty good one--all in that two-week period.

That was four years ago. Since then she's been promoted, makes more money, and was recently nominated for a prestigious award.

All because she had the good sense to hone her interview skills when she wasn't really on the job market.

Go you forth and do likewise. You'll never regret it.