How to Answer “Where Else are You Interviewing?”

Your guide to answering an interview question that can get tricky.

Maddie Lloydby Maddie LloydGet The Job, Guides - 7 months ago

“What other companies are you interviewing with?”

This question is really good at catching people off guard. Your brain may go into a frenzy of other questions — Why are they asking? What should I tell them? How much do they need to know? Are they stalking me?

Don’t panic!

This is actually a pretty simple interview question — one that you can answer without having to hurt your brain by thinking too hard. When this question comes up, usually interviewers are curious about what other companies you have interviews with for a variety of reasons, none of which have to deal with following you around.

Even though this is a pretty simple question, don’t get too comfortable! This question is something to prepare for, so here’s what you need to know:

What are They Really Getting at?

In order to give the best answer possible, it’s important to think about why the interviewer is even asking you this question in the first place.

Here are some things to consider:

1. This question is often a sign that the interviewer likes you (no, not like that — get your mind out of the gutter). They might being trying to figure out how in demand you are and how they compare to the competition. Interviewers want to know what their chances are of gaining an ideal employee.

2. Interviewers might want to know how focused you are on furthering your career or how seriously you’re looking for a new job. They want to get a sense of your job hunt and exactly what it is you’re looking for in an employer.

3. Employers typically want to hear that you’re looking at jobs in the same industry or industries that are fairly similar. If this is your only interview with an accounting firm, it’s probably best not to mention that your other job prospects are for testing potato chip crispness.

To Do or Not to Do? — That is the Question

It can be difficult to try to decide what you should bring up and what you should keep to yourself. Here are some things to keep in mind:

To Do

1. Mention that you’re actively exploring a number of other jobs in the company’s industry and that you have other interviews lined up.

2. Emphasize your excitement about the job you’re currently interviewing for. Let your interviewer know that you are most excited for their specific position.

3. If you’re applying to jobs in different industries, try to find common characteristics of these jobs and make their connection the focus of your answer. You don’t want your interviewer to think you’re not committed to the job you’re interviewing for.

Not to Do

1. If this is the only interview you have lined up, don’t let them know that. Instead of talking about your lack of job prospects, tell the interviewer about the types of companies and positions you’ve been applying to.

2. Don’t exaggerate about how many other interviews you have coming up. Even though it’s a good thing to be in high demand, if you brag too much the interviewer may think that you’re unwinnable and hire someone else instead.

3. Don’t state names of specific companies you’re interviewing with. There’s really no reason to mention this, but how you answer will show your ability to handle tricky situations.

4. Try not to sound frustrated or disappointed. You want employers to think you’re a desirable employee and that your job search is going swimmingly, not that you’re depressed and desperate.

Sample Answers

If you have interviews lined up with companies within the same industry, a successful answer might sound something like this:

I’m currently interviewing with several different companies in the media and broadcasting industry and I am at various stages with each of them, but I’m most excited to work here because of the opportunities for growth, the chance to learn new technologies, and the ability to get hands-on experience.

This person has shown the interviewer that they’re a desirable candidate in their industry. They have also shown their enthusiasm for the position by mentioning details of the job that excite them, which tells the interviewer that they’ve done research on the company.

If you have interviews coming up for jobs in different industries, a good answer might sound like this:

I’m interviewing with a few different companies for a variety of positions, but it all comes down to writing content that is informative yet entertaining. I am very open to different means of furthering my career, but based on my research, I feel that I could write really great content for you because of the topic and industry that you’re in.

This answer hints that they have interviews with companies in other industries, but tells their interviewer that their main goal is to put out great content for the company. They have also shown interest by stating that they produce successful work because of their topic and industry.

If you have no other interviews on the horizon, you could say something along the lines of this:

I’ve only recently started looking for jobs. So far, I’ve been looking into jobs that will allow me to use my skills as a strategic thinker and my degree in Mathematics. I was very excited to have found this position, as I feel that my skill with numbers could help to streamline processes and automate analyses.

This person has shown that they are excited for the position while also briefly mentioning their skills and qualifications. Note how they were able to avoid sounding disappointed in their lack of interviews or looking desperate for a job.

Use this Question to Your Advantage

Use your answer to this question to show the interviewer that you’re most interested in the job you’re currently interviewing for. Employers want to hear that you’re interested in jobs similar to theirs. If you’re going for a retail position, try not to mention that your real goal is to be an astronaut.

It’s okay if you don’t have other interviews lined up, but don’t lie to make yourself look better. This never goes well for first dates — why would it be any different for a job interview? Hey, it’s kind of like a first date. Your best bet in this situation would be to show your interest in the company and try not to mention your lack of options (romantic or professional).

Let them know that you’re excited to work with their company and talk about how you feel that you would be a great addition to their team. You can be sure to hear back from the company for a second interview (or a date, whatever makes you feel better about yourself — just don’t try to kiss them).

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