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While reading the question Does interviewee demand influence employment attractiveness?, I was wondering what could be a good response to:

Do you have other scheduled interviews?

(if asked during an interview).

I have been asked this once but at that point I had no other opportunities. So I answered a basic

No, not at this time.

I assume that if I currently have other scheduled interviews, I shouldn't show too many interest in the others as it could show that I am not really interested in the current one. But denigrating the others could show a bad side of me.

Or I could just lie that I have no other interview scheduled?


In the linked question's case, in the extreme case with two people:

Candidate A: Tells you this is the first interview they've had for a while and have no others booked. Candidate B: You hear from your source that this person is receiving lots of interest, but they don't mention it themselves.

I accepted Patricia's answer but the one with no other interview would also scare me a bit as

Why is no one interested in him?

How should I answer this question? Does admitting that I have no other interviews harm my chances?


Edit: I never thought of lying, but it is still a potential answer so I included that option here.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Chris E, Xavier J, gnat, scaaahu, Rory Alsop Jul 19 '16 at 8:19

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • you mean would he think "nobody is interested in him so I also wont", OR ask that question in an interview? – Raoul Mensink Jul 18 '16 at 14:07
  • I mean that the HR person would ask himself and do some more searches, not just let him go because of that or ask it to the respondant – MickMRCX Jul 18 '16 at 14:26
  • Note that my answer was to the very unusual situation of the candidate with only one interview having just as good a resume etc. as the one with many interviews. It is much more usual for a difference in the number of interviews to reflect a difference in qualifications, experience, etc. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 18 '16 at 14:53
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    @JoeStrazzere That approach seems to be less and less common these days. I agree. If I am going to wind up in a bad situation, it will be because of the truth, rather than a lie. – Richard U Jul 18 '16 at 17:27
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    Possible duplicate of Why do interviewers ask if I'm interviewing with other companies? – scaaahu Jul 19 '16 at 7:27
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Always tell the truth as the world is smaller than you think.

Answering the question honestly won't hurt you, lying will. You never know the purpose of the question, so trying to guess what the "right" answer is can be counter productive.

When I'm interviewing a person, the question I am asking is never the question I am really asking. This is true for most interviewers.

Now, here's why for this specific question:

You don't know if they are asking to see if you are in demand. If you answer "yes", that doesn't mean that it's a good thing if you are. They could be impressed and want to snap you up, or figure that they can't afford you or just don't want to get involved in a bidding war.

A "no" can break both ways as well. They could wonder if you're not pounding the pavement enough, or wonder if you're simply not a hot commodity. By the same token, they may snap you up because they figure they can get you at a bargain price or that if you're qualified and don't have anything on the table, they can get you in the door with the least amount of pain.

Unless you know WHY they are asking the question, then it can only hurt you to try to guess at the answer they want to hear.

Tell the truth, it's less stressful.

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    +1 for that last line. Interviewing is stressful enough without adding a lie into the mix. – senschen Jul 18 '16 at 17:26
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    "the question I am asking is never the question I am really asking." Can you please just stop trying to trick people and simply ask what you want to know? – njzk2 Jul 18 '16 at 17:49
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    @njzk2 First rule of the universe: People lie. If people would answer truthfully, then I would ask the actual question. As that is almost never the case, I ask the question that will give me a truthful answer. When I am interviewing, my duty is to the company, not to the applicant who may or may not wind up with some butthurt because my questions were too tough. – Richard U Jul 18 '16 at 17:58
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    It's not a trick, anyway. You ask questions to see the kind of person they are. If I ask you "what kind of a person are you?" you wouldn't know how to answer and I wouldn't really know what I wanted anyway. But if I ask a bunch of open ended questions I can get a sense. This applies to virtually every question which isn't a technical test. – Richard Rast Jul 18 '16 at 18:54
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    So according to the first rule of the universe, you just lied in your answer which means it's best to lie in an interview and to some degree even admitted that you do it yourself all the time by not asking for what your actually asking (if that would be considered lying). This is a chicken vs egg thing: people give biased answers, which is why you ask biased questions, which is why people think about giving biased answers, ... I'm not blaming anybody, just sayin' that this is quite a f**ed up system, especially when considering the goal of finding each other to work together. – I'm not paid to think Jul 18 '16 at 19:25
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What I want to hear from candidates is that they picked the company I work for on purpose. If someone says he has two dozen other interviews lined up, then this means I am a random find in his or her job search. I want our company to be one of the top priorities of this person.

Obviously, if somebody is currently out of a job, then having more applications out there is perfectly normal compared to somebody who applies to a better job out of a current job he or she is holding. But even when currently unemployed, I want to know the person has a priority list and my company is with the top.

A good answer might be:

I have looked at all opportunities, made a list and applied to the #X companies I liked best. So yes, I have a few other interviews scheduled, but not many.

What a good #X is is subjective. Personally, I would prefer somewhere between 2 and 6, simply because I think 6 is more than enough to handle at once and I tend to not believe people that say that my company is the greatest thing since sliced bread and they only want to work here. It's just a company, it's not Google or NASA.

However, the rule #1 applies: don't lie. If you cannot honestly say this, you may want to check why before you do anything else.

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    You can only guess what motivation an interviewer has for asking a given question. +1 for using the question to promote what interests you in the company, position, etc. – blaughw Jul 18 '16 at 20:31
  • +1, but I don't think you need a number. – Phil Jul 18 '16 at 22:32
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    How does the candidate truly know that he wants to work for your company before the interview? Why should the candidate be penalised for performing a comprehensive job search? – Coxy Jul 19 '16 at 2:03
  • @Coxy: nvoigt does not suggest here that the candidate be penalised for performing a comprehensive job search. He (rightly or wrongly) suggests the candidate be penalised for applying to too many results of that search. Or strictly speaking, he suggests penalising the candidate for accepting and scheduling too many interviews: the question doesn't actually ask how many companies you're interested in, only how many interviews in your diary, but nvoigt would prefer you to give the former information rather than the latter, even though the latter was requested :-) – Steve Jessop Jul 19 '16 at 2:43
  • @Coxy A comprehensive job search to me is somebody looking at all available jobs, checking them out, prioritizing where he'd like to work and then apply to those. I don't like people that apply to every single open position with a copy/paste template CV because they need a job, any job. Those guys can go take any other job. I obviously don't interview people in retail or pizza delivery. Minimum wage jobs may work differently from what I do. – nvoigt Jul 19 '16 at 8:22
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I would always advocate being truthful. I don't think answering "No" hurts you, but lying definitely could.

In my (personal) experience, this question is actually more for setting the expectations of the hiring manager/team than evaluating the candidate. I only ask the question if I actually like the candidate. I've already formed my opinion and know that I plan to either move the candidate to the next step in the process or make an offer.

I am asking because I want to know how competitive the hiring process is going to be. Do I need to make sure our process moves swiftly enough to present an offer in time? Do I need to rethink where in the salary range I need to come in to get an accepted offer? Do I need to sell my company/offered position more strongly?

I may have follow-up questions about the kinds of roles, the seriousness of those interviews (phone vs in-person or initial feelers vs serious contender), etc.

  • +1 especially for "make sure our process moves swiftly". Everywhere I've ever worked, the process is very slow, but can be made to go a little faster if I put extra effort in it. This both costs my time and burns clout/credibility with HR and everyone else involved. I'll do it for a candidate I really want, but if I don't need to move quickly, it's nice to know. – mattdm Jul 18 '16 at 17:27
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No isn't really that great an answer. It hints at other employers aren't interested in you, whether you're at the beginning of a job search or have been in the market a lot. Rather than answer No, answer something like:

"I'm working with a ton of other recruiters on potential opportunities, but I don't have anything scheduled at present".

This kind of answer says No, but avoids the potential negative view by stating that other people are interested in you.

Interestingly enough, thinking back, it's always the smaller shadier outfits that ask this kind of question, or the recruiters themselves (because they want to get paid). Frankly, until I have an employment contract in front of me and have to make a decision, my business is my own in regards to who I'm interviewing for :)

  • What are you basing this on though? – Slava Knyazev Jul 19 '16 at 3:40
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I am going to answer because of the reference to my answer to a rather different question. That question asked us to assume the two candidates had equally attractive resumes etc. In that case, I would assume the difference in number of interviews relates to how selective the candidates are being in applying for jobs.

In the real world, in most cases, there will be differences in the resumes. Maybe the candidate with few interviews is applying for jobs that are not a good match for their skills and qualifications. Maybe they have specialized skills that few employers want, but that are just right for my job.

With differences in the resumes, my choices would be driven by which candidate is the better fit. That does not always mean the one with the highest qualifications. Sometimes one wants a junior programmer who will grow into a job.

As far as the question is concerned, lying would be stupid, even if your ethics permit it. It's a small world, and being known to lie in interviews would not help future job hunting. The options, with shading between them, are to answer completely and truthfully or to deflect the question without giving a precise answer.

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