Interview Tip: Tell Them You’re Interviewing Elsewhere

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There will come a time in your interview when you’ll sit down with someone from human resources and discuss with them certain requirements you expect out of them, we’ll discuss more of those later, and inevitably one of the questions they’ll ask you is whether you’re actively interviewing with another company. I’ve found that telling them yes will often expedite a response.

Don’t lie. If you aren’t actively interviewing elsewhere, don’t lie and say you are. But if you are actively interviewing elsewhere, don’t lie and say you aren’t. It is in your best interest to put forth the image that you’re a hot commodity, whether it’s true or not. It won’t affect whether or not you’re hired because your technical or behavioral interviews will decide that but it will expedite a response which is always a positive.

Last Monday, I interviewed with a small software company less than four miles away from where I live. When asked, I told them I had an interview the next day with a consulting company. When asked in the second interview, I told them about having talked to the first company the night before. In driving from the second interview to work, the first company called with an offer. At around 3 that afternoon, the consulting company called with an offer. I am absolutely certain that they moved so quickly, on both counts, because they knew I was actively interviewing with another company.

I interviewed with at least a dozen companies back in college when I graduated and in each one I told them I wasn’t actively interviewing (I interpreted that to mean on-site interviews, of which I only had three). There were companies that never got back to me (I remember who you are!) and those that responded two weeks later (you too!). Perhaps it’s because of how I was interviewed (shotgun approach at colleges versus very targeted recruiting?) but I think hinting to the interviewer that you’re a hot commodity plays a key role. Your interviewers usually know within minutes whether or not they give you the thumbs up, so make them let you know ASAP.

So, the moral of this story is that if you want an answer quickly… tell them you’re interviewing with someone else too. (But do not lie!!!)

{ 9 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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9 Responses to “Interview Tip: Tell Them You’re Interviewing Elsewhere”

  1. Flexo says:

    Is this how you approached your engagement as well? 🙂 “I just want to let you know that I have an offer out with another girlfriend…” Just kidding!

  2. jim says:

    It worked didn’t it?

  3. Matt says:

    I’ve actually never once been asked that question.

  4. Steve says:

    No offense, but you should lie if you believe it will increase your chances of being called back.

    Everyone lies, the company you are interviewing with probably makes most of its living off of one type of lie or another.

    Lying is just part of getting along in America. Get used to it. Get good at it.

  5. jim says:

    That’s a pretty cynical way of looking at the world don’t you think?

  6. Steve says:

    I’d prefer to call it unvarnished. 🙂

  7. jim says:


    I mean I know what happens in reality but I don’t think you need to lie to get ahead. Some people do, in fact a lot of people do, but that doesn’t mean you need to do the same to get your own.

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  9. Paul says:

    As a recent graduate, I can’t agree with this post more.

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