How to Answer ‘Where Else Are You Interviewing?’

One of our community members asked:

How should I respond when hiring managers ask where else I’ve been interviewing? If I say nowhere, they’ll think I’m desperate. Or, they may think their job is my second choice if I mention high profile companies. What do I do?

This question requires a strategic response. The key is to provide just enough information to satisfy the interviewer’s curiosity without hurting your chances. Here’s how to do it.

  • interviewDescribe the companies without mentioning their names or where you are in the hiring process. The exception is if you want the interviewer to know you have an offer from another company on the table. For example: “I’ve recently interviewed with a bank and a mid-size oil company. However, I’m very interested in this opportunity. When do you need someone to start?”

Naturally, you need to tell the truth in case the manager asks you to name the firms. But this answer should satisfy their curiosity without letting the cat out of the bag.

  • No irons in the fire? Just say: “I’ve recently applied for several positions, but this one caught my eye.” In other words, talk about your activity and job search strategy, not your results.
  • Make sure your answer aligns with your brand and story. For instance, you don’t want to mention that you’re interviewing for a programming role if you’ve just spent the last hour talking about your QA expertise. Or that you’re interviewing with a startup if you emphasized your desire for job security. Again, you need to be honest, but vague as possible if your other interviews contradict what you’ve said.

How about you? Do you have advice to share? Post your comment below.

5 Responses to “How to Answer ‘Where Else Are You Interviewing?’”

  1. Lawrence Weinzimer

    Best response: Indicate that you interviewed outside the area, but you’d strongly prefer not to relocate. Might also indicate that interviews had been with a start-up concern. This way, you’re not on shifting sand with the interviewer.

  2. How about headhunters probing with these same questions; I recently had one ask me and my reply was, “Are you interested in recruiting for them also?” He immediately went silent on the subject, and changed direction of the discussion!

  3. Recently Hired!

    I believe honesty is the best answer, but that doesn’t mean you need to reveal your hand. A simply “Why do you ask?” with a small smile usually throws them enough off guard that they stop asking, and if not, you can be deliberately vague with “I’m exploring multiple opportunities” which if you’re job-hunting, you are!