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Have you interviewed at other companies?

Some people want to hide that they’re interviewing elsewhere, thinking it makes the employer think they’re very interested in the job. But on the flip side answering no can make it seem you’re conducting a poor job search. Also, if you have interviewed but say no, the interviewer might find out through connections. Lying in an interview is a black mark that, with rare exceptions, strikes you from the list instantly.

Some people want to flaunt that they’re interviewing at many companies, as it creates a perceived demand for their services. That’s fine if you are interviewing at other companies, but if not don’t make up a list of companies where you’ve interviewed. That too could come back to the interviewer with a little research.

Honesty is the best policy, as is a a combination of the two general ideas conveyed by each answer – your options are open, but you’re very interested in this opportunity. An answer as simple as “I am interviewing at a number of companies, but yours is my first choice” conveys both ideas well.

There’s no need to get into a list of other companies. If the interviewer follows with “where have you interviewed” or “where else will you interview” the best answer is “right now that’s confidential.” Mentioning names could be messy for the future in a number of ways. For example one interviewer knows the other, and they compare notes on you. This could be good or bad – maybe one had a negative impression and convinces the other to change their opinion to the negative.

Keep the answer short.

I want this one:
“Yes, but this is the job I want the most.”

Open options:
“I’m sitting for many interviews to keep my options open, but I hope I get this job.”

Final one:
“This is the last of a number of interviews, I’ve already been offered some jobs, but yours is the first I’d accept.”

This is the first of many:
“I have a number scheduled. Yours is the first, and if I’m offered the job, the last.”

Will move for the right offer:
“I found a few jobs that interest me, and I’ll interview at those if I don’t get this job. But I’m happy where I am right now, I’ll only move for the right offer.”

Whatever you do, don’t use this answer given by a very unsuccessful job seeker. “Yes, but I wish I hadn’t. These interviews are a waste of time, do I have the job or not?”

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