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I have had two separate recruiters push back scheduled interviews (in one case an hour before, in another, they day before) to the following week- I'm skeptical since they left it open-ended. These interviews were with companies the recruiters were working with. I have a lot of hands on experience and written lots of web applications however I don't have professional experience and just finished a well regarded engineering bootcamp. How should I interpret these developments and what can I do to avoid them in the future? Did I make a mistake by telling these recruiters that I'm interviewing with other companies (and thus they are less incentivized to put effort into helping me)?

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    I had this happen to me several times. A recruiter setting up an interview, then pushing it back and eventually nothing. They then ask for my resume and they keep calling about jobs that never seem to materialize or is 1000s of miles away. Overall I stopped trusting recruiters and will never use one ever. – Dan Dec 1 '15 at 19:32
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In normal times, no, it is not a mistake to say vaguely that you've got contacts. The rationale behind this is to let the interviewer know you are a merchandise of value, as other firms are interested. There can be exceptions, but it does not seem the case. It can be a mistake to be too specific though, but only for the final negociation part. If Bank B knows that Bank A offered you 29, then either they know you are too costly for you, or they're not going above 30. But that's all.

Million of things can happen & slow down a recruiting process. Holidays, disease, unforecasted meetings or events, last-minute new candidate that seems fit, etc... Those things are not your problem. As a candidate, the thing to do is to go on prospecting, and having interviews. For 2 main reasons. First, you never know if the previous interviews will lead to something. The job opening can be cancelled, the recruiter fired, the son of the CEO may want the place, the HR may find your cost excessive, etc... As long as you don't have a signed contract in hand, you shall search actively to minimize the risk of failure.

Second reason is the great secret : passing interviews is a skill. You shall train it as much as possible. The more interviews you have, the easier the next ones will be. Even if you stay all your career in the same firm(like the state, the army, or a very big bank), you're going to have interviews for new positions. Whatever path your career is taking, your opportunities for training that skill are going to be low, and its importance is going to be high.

Maybe 3 weeks after the forecasted date, they're going to call you back. Maybe not. It's not in your control. Keep focused on what is in your control, it's not even important, and keep searching.

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How should I interpret these developments and what can I do to avoid them in the future?

I'd likely ask the recruiter why the schedule shift, where the key is to see if there is a standard answer like, "Oh, the hiring manager was sick that day," or something similar where there is a chance that things happen, but it can still leave a bit of a bitter taste in one's mouth. Avoiding them may well not be that possible as "life happens" and things may get rescheduled. I can remember years ago that I had a recruiter tell me about a job where I supposed to show up on my first day of work without any interview or even knowing the company name and that got rescheduled twice and eventually dropped but it showed me how unprofessional some recruiters could be at times. Who hires someone without at least having some form of conversation?

Something to consider is what kind of recruiters are you using: Are they big companies with dozens of people looking to place applicants or is it a few person company that would have only a few resources to find people? It could be worthwhile seeing which kinds of recruiting firms you prefer and stay in touch with the ones that you don't have issues.

Did I make a mistake by telling these recruiters that I'm interviewing with other companies (and thus they are less incentivized to put effort into helping me)?

No, I'd see this the other way around. If they want to get paid for placing you then they better do it quickly. I'd see this more as something to move quickly to place someone that may be in a hot field rather than as something less likely to get done.

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Perhaps the potential employers wants to slow down the process. Xmas. Figuring out budgets (they occur in Jan time as tax year starts in April for some countries). People having to use up holiday by the end of year

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It's probably the time of year. Everyone wants to get all the parties and Christmas stuff out of the way, so you might find rescheduling going on.

Did I make a mistake by telling these recruiters that I'm interviewing with other companies (and thus they are less incentivized to put effort into helping me)?

Previous answers have stated that No, you're not disadvantaged by doing this. They may be correct in your case, but I have to disagree generally, especially for contract work.

(I'm talking about engagements with a client company where you're paid for X hours, rather than freelancer piecework).

My reasoning is that recruitment agents are driven by margin and their own commissions. They will normally have 2/3/4 interview slots per position and your telling them you have other interviews will likely put them off. This is because if they lose one of their candidates after an interview, they reduce the chances of one of their others being picked. They may only have a few slots, but so do their competitors and losing 1 of 3 candidates hurts them %age wise. It also makes them look bad to the client.

On hearing about the other interviews, the less scrupulous recruiter will tell you some lie ("Doesn't matter", "Increases your value" etc) and put you forward anyway - except they won't really; they'll just tell you that because it maximizes the chances of one of their other candidates being chosen and means you won't go through a competing recruiter. You'll never find out you were never even submitted.

Oh also - "where else are you interviewing?" is a classic fishing line. After you tell them, they'll be straight onto the phone calling to offer their own candidates to compete with you for the position. Worst case, they'll even bad mouth you: "Why don't I send you some resumes to look at? We do have a guy, devdropper87, but we recently stopped using him because {rumour}".

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