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I had an interview where they asked if I was actively interviewing with other companies. I told them yes. They then asked if I had any job offers that were pending or expiring. I flat out side no, but I think the way I said it was sort of selling myself short. What is a good response to this question and how should it be phrased? For example I had offers that I declined so maybe I should have mentioned that.

I had this offer which I declined though I was wondering if I could use it evidence what other companies are willing to pay me. Though the interview is over, I could email it to the contact of the company I recently interview with.

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    I personally find that kind of tactic a tiny bit over the line, and probably would have responded with something like "I've declined one, but my phone's been ringing all morning..." My thinking there is that I'm not giviing them a number first... – quadruplebucky Jun 13 '17 at 17:48
  • "Though the interview is over, I could email it to the contact of the company I recently interview with." no, forget about that for now. – Fattie Jun 13 '17 at 19:04
  • I think the reason why is, if they are interested, and know that you have an offer on the table, they will expedite their usual processes so they don't lose out over you not having a competing offer, and taking the offer on the table because it's the only one and expiring. Just a way of finding out if they're up against any unusual or artificial time constraints. – PoloHoleSet Jun 13 '17 at 19:05
  • true, but unfortunately it can also be that they are just trying to find out "how little they can pay", you know? – Fattie Jun 13 '17 at 19:06
  • @Fattie - but they're asking if there are offers on the table or expiring soon, and not "how much have companies been offering you" - which seems to be more focused on time, .... though it's entirely possible if he/she said "yes," then maybe the next question would be "how much?" – PoloHoleSet Jun 13 '17 at 19:08
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I'm a hiring manager, and I know my HR recruiters regularly ask this question (I know, because they tell me the responses).

I know that YMMV depending on where you're interviewing, but I will tell you that I do use this information to frame my offer and the priority of the offer paperwork with HR. They are a resource constrained organization like most, and so being able to tell them, "Hey, we need this in two days" only when you really do need it that quickly helps a lot.

It will also affect how the HR recruiter talks to the candidate during the offer phase, in terms of timelines, selling our company to the candidate, etc; and if I know soon enough (the HR interview is usually first up in the morning, while mine is over lunch; I have other steps in between), I will also use that information to specifically address areas that I think we are a better (or worse; I try to be objective) fit for the candidate than the companies they're already interviewing with or have offers from.

What it does not affect is whether or not I will give an offer. I do that entirely based on our own interview process, as I know that other companies are often looking for different attributes in a candidate than I am, and we've spent a lot of time refining our process to select the folks that are well suited to the company, while maintaining good diversity of thought.

I also don't let it affect the offer $, though I would say there is likely a correlation due purely on the fact that folks who are coming to the interview with other offers in hand will probably interview well and have solid skills (they come in more relaxed and confident and that affects how well they perform).

  • terrific "inside info", thanks! – Fattie Jun 13 '17 at 19:03
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What is a good response to this question and how should it be phrased?

Next time, something like "I've been getting offers, but have not yet accepted one" would probably convey what you want.

The company is basically trying to find out if they are currently the only bidder for your services. You want to suggest that you are in constant demand and might be snatched up at any minute, as soon as you get a great offer.

I had this offer which I declined though I was wondering if I could use it evidence what other companies are willing to pay me. Though the interview is over, I could email it to the contact of the company I recently interview with.

Don't do this - it would look odd. There's no need to provide any evidence.

When the right time comes, ask for what you want as far as salary and benefits. If you don't get it, just move on to the next company. If you can get this far with two companies, you can probably find more.

You have a good sense of what you are worth, but there's no need to show them a number if you don't have to - they might offer a lot more.

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The way I've always responded to those questions has been, "I am still in the interview process with [those companies]." Asking if you have an offer is kind of a weird game; for one, if you do have an offer they could either decide to move on you very quickly if they like you, or reject you outright, knowing you have some other option lined up.

Don't reveal too much information about your offers, and I would not recommend informing them (especially after the fact) that you've declined any offers. If you do have an offer you're considering, feel free to volunteer that information (but only during the interview!), but no further. You're also looking for a good fit, and that should be how you project yourself.

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The interview is over so that time has past. It's not a significant item that would warrant updating them, in my opinion. You could bring it up though if there is a new offer from this company as a means of negotiation.

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