How to answer a tricky interview question: Are you interviewing with other companies?

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During a job interview, if asked whether you are interviewing with other companies, it is important to respond honestly. The interviewer asks this question to assess your commitment and interest, plan their hiring timeline, and manage internal processes. However, it is advisable to avoid revealing specific company names, making negative comments, or overemphasizing other opportunities.

If you are an active job seeker, there is a high possibility that you have applied for multiple job openings simultaneously to increase your chances of getting hired. There is nothing wrong with that. But what if during an interview, the interviewer asks “are you interviewing with other companies”.

If you wish to respond with a firm “yes”, get ready for a series of inquisitive questions. If you say “no”, you may get labelled as a passive job seeker.

So, how to tackle this tricky interview situation?

Before we learn to frame a suitable answer to this question, let’s first understand the interviewer’s intention for asking it.

Murali Santhanam, CHRO of AscentHR, a comprehensive HR operations services provider, says employers ask about competing job interviews to assess the candidate’s commitment, gauge the genuineness of their interest, plan hiring timeline, make competitive offers and manage internal processes. This question also helps them understand the talent market and the prevailing market salary.

He advises candidates to answer the question honestly, emphasising their interest in the role and the company.

Responses hiring managers often come across

He says candidates respond in numerous ways to this question. Some are transparent, openly sharing details about other companies and stages of interviews, while others are not that forthcoming.

“Some use it for negotiation, while others seek to buy time. Reassuring commitment is another approach. Responses depend on individual circumstances and strategies. Regardless of the response, professionalism and a positive impression are key,” says the CHRO of AscentHR.

What should interviewees not say while answering this question?

The trick to addressing any tough interview question is to not only figure out what you should include in your answer, but also how to frame the answer.

According to Santhanam, candidates must avoid revealing specific company names, making negative comments or providing excessive details. In addition, he says they must refrain from over-emphasising other opportunities, being uncertain or solely focusing on compensation.

So, the next time you go for an interview, keep these points in mind to confidently address this common yet mind-boggling question.

What is an ideal response to this question?

In Santhanam’s opinion, an ideal response to this question should reflect a balance of transparency, professionalism and genuine interest.

Individuals should present themselves as suitable candidates for the position concerned. Besides, expressing genuine interest and commitment to the current role and company will also offer clarity on how the position aligns with your career goals. This approach ensures a favourable impression, adds Santhanam.

Hope you now will be able to effortlessly deliver the right answer to this delicate interview question. Let us know in the comments what tricky interview situations you would like us to cover next.

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