Tough Interview Question - Are you interviewing with other employers? Which ones?

Are you interviewing with other employers? Which ones?

Similar interview questions:
Do you have any other interviews pending?
Have you received any offers yet?
What other employers are you currently considering?
How do we compare against other employers you are considering?

Why the interviewer is asking this question:
This is a buy question. Interviewers simply do not ask this question unless they are interested in the candidate. It can come across as a rather bold question, especially asking you to name names, but the purpose of it for the interviewer is simple: we’re interested and we want to know with whom we are competing. It also helps the interviewer understand the timing of when a potential offer would need to be made.

The best approach to answering this question:
You have two choices with this question: 1) you can answer generally about the “type” of employers you are interviewing with (in which case the interviewer may still press you for specific names); or 2) you can answer specifically and name names. My recommendation is to do the latter, since doing so will further build your competitive positioning for a potential offer. However, you could be interviewing exclusively with this one employer (which is often the case for experienced candidates who are directly recruited for a specific role). If that’s the case, say so.

An example of how to best answer this question for experienced candidates:
"I am presently interviewing with two other employers, both of whom you likely know fairly well: _____ and _____. Although I am early cycle with all three employers, they each have interesting options to consider. In the end, it will come down to who makes the best offer, best fit for the role and the opportunities for future growth…"

An example of how to best answer this question for entry level candidates:
"I do still have several employers pending, including _____ and ____ [name your top two employer prospects]. Although it’s still early cycle for consideration, from what I have seen so far, your company compares well against the others that I am considering…"

An example of how you should not answer this question:
"You have no right to ask that question. Who I am interviewing with is my business, not yours. I didn’t ask you if you were interviewing other candidates and who they are, did I?"

Remember to answer each interview question behaviorally, whether it is a behavioral question or not. The easiest way to do this is to use an example from your background and experience. Then use the S-T-A-R approach to make the answer a STAR: talk about a Situation or Task (S-T), the Action you took (A) and the Results achieved (R). This is what makes your interview answer uniquely yours and will make your answer a star!

Further review: know the answers to these Fifty Standard Interview Questions to be fully prepared for your interview!

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