Monday, January 7, 2013

Your Value in the Eyes of the Interviewer

When you are searching for a job, it’s common sense to pursue more than one opportunity at a time in order to increase your odds and to not lose time if one or another you’re chasing falls through. So it’s conceivable you might end up juggling more than one interview process.  

Many think it’s not a good idea to tell an interviewer about other opportunities they are simultaneously pursuing. I suggest it’s not a bad idea to make hiring officials aware there are others who are also interested in you. Before I represent any candidate I ask and expect they will tell me of other processes with which they are involved, or have been involved, during the last 6 months. For me it is simple, I don’t want to waste time trying to introduce them to a company that already has their resume or to whom they’ve already spoken. I also want to know if they are near a favorable conclusion with any of their activities, so I know how to delegate my own activities on their behalf. If they are about to receive an offer, what is the point of getting another company excited just to learn a few days later another offer has been accepted and the job seeker is no longer available.  

Conversely, when I speak with a company, after learning they are indeed interested in a person whom I represent, I will tell them, “Oh, by the way, on a short list of companies yours is one of the organizations in which they have an interest, although I know they are speaking with another of your competitors, who’s also shown interest in them.” Or, I may share with a hiring manager with whom I am working and who is interviewing someone I represent, that this particular candidate is in a second or later interview stage with another company. It may seem as though I am playing a game by teasing the hiring manager, but I am not. It’s meant to give the hiring manager the chance to determine their level of interest, so they can choose what action to take and how quickly they’ll need or want to move.  

Early in my recruiting career, there were occasions when a person I was representing to one company accepted an offer from another. After the fact, when I called my client to inform them a candidate in whom they were interested had chosen another position, I was most often told, “That’s unfortunate, Michael, I wish we had known, so we could have sped up the process or done something.” 

I understand it is not likely you are going to tell an interviewer about all of your job search activities or provide a status report; no, clearly it’s none of their business. However, there is nothing wrong with being honest to a limited degree, if you are reaching a critical stage with another company with whom you are also interviewing. It’s not a mistake to say to a hiring official, “I appreciate the opportunity for this interview, I am interested in this job and your company, but I think it is fair to tell you I am also talking to some other companies, and one of them has invited me to a final interview.” Yes, this can be considered a take-away close, but it is simply the truth. There is no need to, and I suggest you should not, share the name or details of the other company; just making them aware of your status is enough. I would, however, caution you that if it isn’t true, don’t fake it. As for your presentation, you are doing it from a perspective of neither desperation nor vanity, just as a calm matter of fact, an afterthought.   

It’s also not a bad thing for hiring managers to be aware you may have other opportunities. Often, for whatever reason, they may assume your interest in their company means you are not talking with anyone else. If this is the case, they may take their good old time until they are awakened to the fact that they’re not the only game in town. While they were dragging their feet, you haven’t been sitting and waiting outside their door like an obedient terrier. In reality, you’ve been doing what good professionals and action-oriented people do - investigating other opportunities.  

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