After nearly five months of unemployment I got two interviews for very similar jobs, at similar institutions, one business day apart (Friday/Monday). If there's a reason they're both recruiting for these roles at the same time I haven't been able to find out out about it.

I had three weeks to prepare for interview 1, and only five days' notice for interview 2. This means I got word of the second interview just 2 days before the first one, and was so knee-deep in preparation that I didn't have time to think about how I'd handle this multiple-interview situation, which has never happened to me before.

I've already done the first interview and thought it went really well. I gave a presentation, answered all their questions well (I thought), asked them a few questions, and presented a few restrictions I'd have with working hours, which they didn't seem to have a problem with. At the end, the lead interviewer asked, "If you were offered this job, would you accept it?"

Now, I'm sure I must have been asked this question before, but in every other situation it would be a no-brainer, so I guess this is why I didn't remember and didn't prepare for it. In the moment, I decided to be honest. I said, "I have another job interview on Monday. While I don't have any particular preference at the moment, I'm sure you understand I'd like to have all the information on the table before I make a decision. I am still interested in this job and I think I would like working here." They didn't seemed shocked or upset by this statement and there were a few positive nods around the table. The lead interviewer asked me when I would be coming out of the second interview, and confirmed my contact details.

After the interview there was a brief tour of the facility with the lead interviewer, at the end of which I said that I hoped I hadn't put her off by mentioning the other interview; that I simply wanted to be honest; and that I would very much like to know about it if they felt I was the best candidate. She said not to worry, that in her experience no one is just looking for one job, and that she prefers to know about candidates' other opportunities.

Coming out of the interview I felt good and very confident. I felt that I had given the right answers to all the questions and felt particularly savvy about mentioning the other interview. I thought it made me seem open, transparent, and desirable. My first inkling of doubt was when I got home. My husband thinks I'm crazy for telling them about the other interview and thinks I should have given an unequivocal yes. It's my opinion that that's not what that question is for. I've asked a few friends and responses have been mixed, so now I'm worried I've messed things up. So that's the first thing I'd like advice on, even though I can't change it now!

Interview #2 is tomorrow. Just because of the stress I've caused myself I'm pretty sure I won't mention Interview #1 to them, but I do want a quick response from them in case I get an offer from #1. How should I handle this, and how should I handle a situation in which I get offers from both of them? If Job #1 wants me, I'm likely to hear about it before I know the outcome of #2. However, if I had my pick of the jobs, I would pick #2 simply because it's closer to home.

Both roles are quite specialised and it's unlikely that they'll have many strong candidates, if that makes a difference (I think it does). Any advice on how to handle this situation? I'm incredibly stressed about it, and don't want this to mess up the second interview!


Don't worry. As a hiring manager, having a candidate talking with other companies is expected. Your phrasing when asked was pretty much perfect, and your candor is appreciated: it will make the hiring process go faster, because the company now knows they may lose you if they dally too long. It's not a faux pas, it's an extra lever for me as the hiring manager, because I can use it to light a fire under HR, finance and everybody else who has to say yes!

All that said, since you don't have a firm offer from #1 yet, I would not go out of my way to mention them to #2 at this time. By all means do let them know later if #1 does make you an offer and #2 hasn't let you know their decision yet.

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First of all every potential employer expects that all people are interviewing at other places. This is almost 100% guaranteed if the person they are interviewing is unemployed.

While the interviews are only one business day apart, the time to the next step may not be. I have seen decisions made the same day, or had them stall for a month.

The question: "If you were offered this job, would you accept it?" is to determine your level of interest. It doesn't commit you to taking the job, or commit them to offering one. I am not sure even this type of question gets them the truth. I have never told the person interviewing me that there was no way I would take the job; and as a person interviewing potential applicants the only times I heard that they weren't interested were ones that there was clearly as mismatch.

Feel no obligation to tell them about other interviews, and don't feel that you have to answer the question "If you were offered this job, would you accept it?" truthfully.

If both companies make offers there are several questions on this site addressing that question such as How do I coordinate the process of pursuing multiple job opportunities at the same time?

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