If you’ve ever interviewed for a job before, you’re familiar with the common interview questions recruiters and HR professionals ask their prospective employees.
Softballs like “Tell me about yourself” and “What salary are you looking to make?” are a breeze to answer for most of us, but there are some questions that can throw even the most well-prepared candidate for a loop.
During the recruiting process, tough questions like “Why are you leaving your current position?” and “What’s your biggest weakness?” can be the biggest challenges you face when trying to sell yourself to a new employer.
Even if you do your best to prepare on your own, interview preparation services can help you feel completely ready for any question you’ll hear during the interview process.
But, if you’d rather do all the heavy lifting yourself, continue reading to learn how to answer the question “What other companies are you interviewing with?”
What’s the Point of Asking “What Other Companies Are You Interviewing With?”
You might find yourself wondering why a recruiter might ask a question like this. When a recruiter does ask you this question in an interview, you can rest assured that it's not to throw you off or confuse you.
The intentions behind it are usually much less worrisome than that. They could potentially utilize this methodology for any of the following reasons:
- To gauge the demands of the market and to see what jobs their competitors might currently be offering.
- To see if you have any other viable offers and to understand how quickly they need to act if they want to offer you a position.
- To see what kind of jobs you’re searching for and to see if those jobs line up with the company’s overall culture and vision.
- To better understand how in-demand you are as an applicant and to assure that you’re confident in yourself and your technical skills.
How to Answer the “What other companies are you interviewing with?” Interview Question
Now that you know your interviewer isn’t trying to pull a fast one, you can take a breath and begin to figure out how you’re going to answer the question.
It’s a great opportunity for applicants to prove they are qualified candidates and showcase how self-aware they are.
Explain Why This Job Is Your Number One Choice
Hiring managers aren’t going to be upset that you’re interviewing with other companies, but it’s best to frame any responses to this question in a way that shows how enthusiastic you are to join their company.
Be conscious of your body language, and be sure to use vocabulary that expresses excitement and passion for the opportunity.
Focus on all the things at this job that you’re excited about. Point to relevant information in your resume that makes you a perfect fit for the job, and play up the traits or skills that make you the perfect candidate for the position.
Generalize, Generalize, Generalize
You don’t want to get into anything too specific when answering, “What other companies are you interviewing with?”. It doesn’t benefit you to reveal actual company names, and it’s better to give a more general answer in this case.
Mention the industries of the companies you’re interviewing with and even the general area of your job search.
You can let your interviewer know that you respect the privacy of these companies and wouldn’t want to violate their trust.
This shows your interviewer that you have high moral character and standards, all while deflecting from actually naming the other companies you’re interviewing for.
This can also be a bonus because it lets the HR professional know that you will guard their company’s privacy in any future interviews.
Though they might want to gather some valuable market data, it is best to keep your answers general and frame them in a way that’s most flattering to you. After all, it’s an interview, not a marketing strategy session.
Even if you want to impress your prospective employer, it is never a good idea to go making up stories about other job offers to try and get yourself hired on faster. Even if you’re answering the toughest interview questions, it is always better to tell the truth.
Though you want to omit any specific details about other job offers, omission and lying are two different things.
You have no idea what connections your hiring manager has to other companies you’re interviewing with. If you lie about positions you’ve been offered, there’s a chance they could find out and then your prospects at both jobs could slip from your grasp.
What if I’m Only Interviewing With One Company?
- While you don’t want to lie – I meant it when I said be honest – you don’t want to come right out and say that you don’t have any other interview options.
- If this is your first interview, explain that it is still early in your job search and talk about the types of jobs you’ve been applying for as they pertain to your unique skill set.
- You can even talk about how excited you are to find a company so early on in your job search that fits your criteria and high expectations.
- No matter what, stay positive. Even if you’re having trouble landing interviews, never show frustration or negativity in the interview process, and use this opportunity to show how well organized and prepared you are
Final Thoughts on Answering “What Other Companies Are You Interviewing With?”
Though these tips and suggestions can be helpful, the most important thing any applicant can do is stay calm. Though the question “What other companies are you interviewing with?” can be a tough one, answering difficult questions is a normal part of the interview process.
You have to be able to adapt quickly under pressure, and you can’t let yourself get flustered.
Knowing why HR personnel asks these sort of questions can help you stay calm. From there, you can explain why the job is a perfect fit for you, avoid revealing any inappropriate information by using generalizations, and honestly showcase why they should offer you the position.
If you follow these steps, by the end of the interview they might even be eager to continue the recruitment process before you get snatched up by another company.