I'm drawing near the end of a contract position I am not wanting to extend (although it hasn't been completely ruled out). I have an interview lined up, and I am curious to know how much competition I am up against (it's a great company, but my city is not Software Development location so there may not too many other's trying).
Is it ever appropriate to ask at the interview how many other applicants they are interviewing?
Also, semi-related, but at previous interviews I have been asked about whether or not I have received any offers or interest from other companies. I always answer honestly, but I've been wondering if this is asked to determine if I will accept a lower salary due to having no other offers on the table.
Is this normally what that question is about? If I say that I've been talking to other companies would I be helping myself or shooting myself in the foot.