A friend of mine is currently in the process of seeking a job.

After a seemingly successful interview, they got an email from HR, that - in condensed form - seemed to be:

  1. Your last interview round went well
  2. We are still interviewing one more person before making final decision
  3. Please let us know if you're close to an offer elsewhere, so we can expedite that decision here.

What would be the good and bad approaches to answering their question #3?


  • The person is not currently employed, and desperately wants this job, so their main concern is to minimize the chances of jeopardizing this offer.
  • They are indeed interviewing elsewhere, but don't have any strong current options - all other companies are in earlier stages of interviewing. There's no guarantee that the other companies would extend an offer, and they are in a field with very strong labor competition.

I can see several possible approaches, and surely there are more that I didn't list:

  1. Ignore #3 and don't answer it
  2. Tell them that you don't have any close offers, and to take their sweet time. The cons here is that they may see you as less desirable - if you're so great, why isn't another company sweeping you off the market ASAP?
  3. Tell them that you're interviewing with other companies but there's no short term time pressure for at least a week.
  4. Tell them that you are close to an offer elsewhere so a faster decision would be appreciated. This is a bluff (as you want a job here), and concern is that this response would push them towards another candidate who they can evaluate for longer.
  • 4
    In case my boss reads this site - yes, it's for my friend. I'm not interviewing and am happy with my job.
    – user13655
    Jan 20, 2017 at 20:46
  • Don't have much experience, so not writing an answer. But option 3 seems very sensible to me. It's truthful, it shows you have other options (which can help in negotiation, and in seeming more desirable), but it doesn't put undue stress on the company, eliminating the concern you'd have with option 4.
    – JSQuareD
    Jan 20, 2017 at 21:01
  • 4
    "I'm not quite yet in the final stages anywhere right now" Jan 20, 2017 at 21:07
  • I would not recomment option number 2.
    – Neo
    Jan 20, 2017 at 21:53
  • 1
    @MaskedMan: This is a perfectly reasonable request and not rude at all. They may have a scheduled candidate B already, the may have a senior VP out on PTO who needs to sign the paperwork, there may be a board meeting next week they want to run it through. All of these can be worked around, but it's a major effort and it's okay to ask if this effort is really necessary.
    – Hilmar
    Jan 21, 2017 at 15:03

2 Answers 2

  1. Rule #1: Never lie.
  2. Rule #2: Don't ignore a perfectly reasonable request or question
  3. Rule #3: Answer a simple question with a simple answer, unless there is a good reason to make it complicated.
  4. Rule #4: If you feel you need to spin it, make sure it's factual correct and that it serves a clearly defined purpose.

Applying the rules I'd go with rule #3: "I currently don't have any other offers on the table". Most hiring managers will like you better for it: it shows that you are honest, straight forward, and not a drama king/queen.

If you want to spin it you could do: "I'm having discussion with other potential employers but nothing is close to the offer stage yet. I'm really excited about working for you. It would be helpful if you could provide a time line for a decision on your part so I can structure the other discussion accordingly".

If you do, make sure you have some other discussions, so you are not lying.

  • The problem with Rule #1 is that it sets you at a considerable disadvantage compared to the interviewer, to whom Rule #1 doesn't apply. Jan 23, 2017 at 12:07

Stick with the truth. In 6 years of regular job searching as a consultant/contractor, this is rare. I would evaluate this as a very good recruiter/HR and/or strong interest. Respond to the email with something like this:

I am very pleased to hear good feedback on my last interview. I am currently interviewing with multiple other opportunities, but there is no time pressure right now.

I've had much better results since I stopped trying over-analyze recruiter communications. Good luck to your friend!

  • 1
    I upvoted your answer, but I would alter your sentence a bit after the comma and use "and currently I do not have another offer". With this approach your not telling them exactly how far along you are in the process. At the end of the day you want them to hurry up. Food for thought only on a solid answer.
    – Neo
    Jan 20, 2017 at 21:55
  • Yeah, there isn't really a secret answer to this question that earns you super points, I don't think. If you lie and say you have an offer when you don't, they might decide to go with the other party they have more time to consider. Jan 20, 2017 at 21:57
  • Agree with Mister Positive. You don't actually know that there is no time pressure as you don't know how quickly the other companies may be making their decision. One of them could extend an offer tomorrow and expect a quick answer. All you really know is that you don't have another offer right now.
    – Seth R
    Jan 21, 2017 at 6:04

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