How to answer this interview question: What other companies are you interviewing with?
We all like to checkout the competition and future employers are no different. What other companies are you interviewing with is a very common job interview question that you need to have thought about as part of your job interview preparation. For some reason this question seems to make people more nervous than other job interview questions. There is no need to be nervous, you just need to be carefully honest with your answer.
This question is subtly different to the job interview question – Which Other Companies Are You Applying To which we have looked at in a previous post. ‘Companies you are interviewing with’ implies you are further along the job interview process and the company runs the risk of losing you if they act too slowly. The implications for you are quite positive, but you can easily overplay it and ruin your job interview chances so it is important to have a prepared answer.
Why do companies ask this job interview question?
There are basically 4 main reasons. Companies like to check your:
Companies like to know how far along the job interview process you currently are with other companies in relation to where they are at with you. This is especially true if you are on a short list of candidates. If the company takes too long with their job interview process they run the risk that another company will make you an offer before they do.
This is an important one. No company wants to hire a candidate who will take any role in any industry. They want to hear that you are focussed on their industry in particular and preferably have your heart set on their company. Your answers tells the company a lot about your consistency and commitment.
Although much less important, this question also gives the company an idea about how sought after you are. If you are attracting a lot of attention from other companies you will be perceived as quite marketable. This comes into play when you are interviewing with other companies as opposed to just applying to other companies.
- Market Situation
Finally companies like to ask this question to get a bit of a guide about the state of the market. If there are a lot of available roles within a particular industry they may need to offer more money to secure the best candidate. Similarly a lack of available roles gives them more leverage.
How to answer this tricky job interview question.
The best approach when answering this particular job interview question is to be cautiously honest. There are 3 key things you need to do:
Be Honest – Obviously you should not answer by saying you have not even applied to any other company unless the company you are interviewing with has approached you directly via a recruiter or head hunter. In all other cases you should indicate you are exploring a number of other similar options in the company’s given industry. Be honest about how far along in the process you really are, as this can have important timing implications. If you do not have any interviews coming up then edit the answer to focus on the roles you are applying for only.
I have applied for several digital marketing roles in the consumer goods field and have a couple of interviews coming up soon for digital strategist positions. But I can tell you that, based on everything I know about Company X, this role has exactly the kinds of challenges I’m looking for in my next role.
Be Consistent – Try and keep your answer quite focussed even if you are applying for roles in other fields. The truth is, mentioning that you would be happy to work in any related field isn’t going to do you many favours at all. If you are straying from the core field try and clearly explain why.
I am currently applying for several roles in the trade marketing field which will allow me to expand my brand marketing skills in terms of price analysis and category knowledge. I believe this will enhance my overall knowledge and give me a clearer perspective of the entire industry.
Be Positive – Every company wants to know why you want to work for them in particular. In fact, they will often ask you this job interview question directly – Why do you want to work here? Assuming you have done your job interview preparation you will have already thought about this answer and you should use parts of that answer here as well.
Although I have applied for several sales manager roles in the medical industry this particular role excites me the most. This role offers me the opportunity to develop my customer relations skills further amongst medical professionals and broaden my product knowledge. In fact, I think this position is a particularly good fit for my skill set because I can leverage my significant experience in selling highly technical products directly to customers.
The reasons why you want the role and feel you are the perfect person for the company should be added to any answer you prepare to this tricky job interview question.
- Start by stating where you have applied to
- Vaguely mention how many interviews you may have coming up if any
- Firmly state why this role in particular is exactly what you want
- Finish by adding which of your skills makes you the perfect candidate
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