This question always throws people for a loop. Why are they asking, and how much do they actually need to know?
Well, hiring managers are curious about what other companies you’re interviewing with for a few reasons. They might want to scope out the competition, see how serious you are about the industry, or even gauge their likelihood of landing such a star candidate.
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way—the answer is not, “This is the only company I’m interviewing with.” No need to give the interviewer more power than he or she already has.
So, how do you respond to this in a way that doesn’t make you sound desperate or unattainable? Here are some ideas, depending on your particular situation.
Say you have a couple of interviews set up at other companies within the industry. That’s a great position to be in. Your best bet would be to explain how you’re actively exploring options within your field and that you currently have some other interviews lined up—but are most excited about this position.
Why Employers Ask What Other Companies You’re Interviewing With:
There are a couple of reasons why interviewers love to ask if you’re interviewing anywhere else, or what other companies you’re interviewing with. And they often ask this in an initial phone screen, so you need to be ready for it.
Here’s why they ask:
First off… they want to see how your job search is going overall. They want to see if you’re getting interviews in general, whether you seem confident, etc.
Next, they want to know if you’re expecting job offers soon. (This is so they can speed up their process, or at least know what to expect as they begin interviewing you).
Finally, they are curious about what type of jobs you’re looking for. They want to make sure their job fits the overall pattern of what you want.
Employers want to hire someone who’s being targeted and specific in their job hunt, not just applying for anything they see. So you ideally want to show employers that you’ve been interviewing at other companies that are similar to them, or for other positions similar to theirs.
So this isn’t a trick question. They just want to get a sense of your job search and what you’re looking for. And then they want to see how far along you are in your job search.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some mistakes you need to make sure to avoid.
And it doesn’t mean you EVER need to tell them the names of other companies you’re interviewing with – because you don’t (and shouldn’t).
So in the next section, we’ll look at the best answers for “what other companies are you interviewing with?” – without having to name specific companies!
To gauge their own timeline.
Your hiring manager may want to know where in the hiring process you are with other companies, so that they can speed up the decision-making process on their end if necessary. They also may not want to invest much more time into your candidacy if they sense that you are close to accepting an offer elsewhere (particularly if they were not all that keen on you to begin with).
“I often have my eye on new opportunities, but at this time, your position was the only one that has genuinely caught my eye. Are you looking to find your candidate soon or is your timeline and interview process lengthy?”
“I am currently in the first stage with another company, and I am aggressively searching as well.”
“I am interviewing with a couple of other companies, but I am not yet in the offer stage. Could you share with me your timeline?”
The purpose of this page is to help you prepare for your job interview. We do this by creating interview questions that we think you might be asked. We hire professional interviewers (people with multiple years of experience interviewing candidates) to help us create our interview questions and write answer examples. We do not have advertisements on our pages but we do try to make money through paid-memberships.
“I am incredibly choosy about my next move, and I value your organization head and shoulders above all others. Right now, you are the only company for which I have applied. I am not looking for a new position because I have to, but because I believe the time is right for me to expand my horizons, which aligned perfectly with this current opening.”