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Job interviews are incredibly nerve-wracking – and a sudden unexpected question can throw anyone off guard.
Although answering the question “Are you interviewing anywhere else?” is, in theory, more straightforward than the likes of “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”, it can be tricky to know how much (or how little) you should reveal to an employer.
If you’re not interviewing anywhere else, does that decrease your value? And if you reveal every detail of companies and roles you’ve been applying to, are you breaking any rules?
In a high-pressure interview situation, it can be hard to gauge what you should or shouldn't say - but why do employers choose to ask where else you are interviewing in the first place?
Employers want to know what stage you're at in your job hunt to confirm that you’re serious about getting a job, and to determine their own timeline.
If they like you, and they discover you are already interviewing for graduate jobs elsewhere, it’s likely they will speed up the decision-making process in order to beat their competition.
On the flip side, if they’re unsure about whether you’re quite right for the role, and they know you're already interviewing with other companies, they may decide to take a step back and take a little more time to assess your application.
Employers want to know that you are genuinely interested in their particular industry, and that their company fits in to what you are looking for long-term.
If you’ve been applying for graduate jobs everywhere from FinTech startups to advertising agencies, they will draw the conclusion that you are not particularly interested in their market, and that you’re unlikely to be committed to this position and company.
Sometimes, the question isn't even really about you. Employers will often ask where else you are interviewing to do some market research, and find out which companies in their sector are currently hiring people like you.
They could just be looking to determine how they stack up against their competitors - however, if they know that rival companies are looking for similar candidates, this may affect their salary offer (working either in your favour, or against it!), how willing they will be to negotiate, and how quickly they make a final decision.
Realistically, you’re not going to get in trouble for spilling details of the graduate jobs and companies you have been interviewing for – but be careful about what information you choose to disclose, especially if it’s one you think might be a favourite.
Instead of dishing out information on every company you’ve been interviewing for, try speaking in more vague terms – i.e. “Yes, I’ve had a couple of interviews so far, all with FinTech companies, and they have confirmed to me that it’s definitely the industry I want to work in!”
It is important not to ramble in an interview, your answers should be clear and concise.
Especially if you’re a new graduate, this question can really put you on the spot – but the worst thing you can do is start panicking and become flustered.
Not only is this likely to affect your performance throughout the rest of your interview, but it may ruin the self-assurance and professionalism you have shown so far.
Remember that you don’t have to disclose anything you don’t want to – and you can show how composed you are by providing an answer that is a bit more ambiguous.
Employers will not penalise you for asking for a minute or two to mentally prepare your response, read our blog for more tips on how to relax before a job interview.
It's the case with every job interview question – but lying about whether you have been interviewing elsewhere, or exaggerating how far along the process you are, is a bad idea on every front.
In today's digital age, it’s perfectly feasible that an employer would contact a company that you said you interviewed at on LinkedIn – leaving you with a lot to answer for when they reply saying they've never heard your name before.
Don’t risk getting caught in a lie!
In a high-pressure graduate job interview, the best approach is to stay calm, be truthful about where you are interviewing (without revealing every detail!), and most of all, emphasise to the employer just how interested you are in their particular company and industry. Read our complete guide to Interview Questions!
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