Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Don't Tell Recruiters About Your Other Interviews

When a recruiter asks you who else your interviewing with, don't tell them. It does you absolutely no good whatsoever, except perhaps when they are offering to match or beat another company's employment offer.

Let's say Company A figures out you're interviewing other places, which should be kind of obvious anyway. Telling Company A who else you are interviewing with is a really, really bad idea. First, Company A is unlikely to encourage you to go work for Company B because it's good for you. Company A wants free information to use as leverage over you. If they know you've got another interview, they can pressure you into accepting an offer early, cancel your interview process all together in favor of another candidate, or anything else that would benefit them and not you.

If you are dealing with a third party recruiter, telling that recruiter who else you are interviewing with will also never help you. The recruiter can take the information, market their staffing services to companies you're already interviewing at, and then worsen your chances of actually getting by increasing the size of the applicant pool. I know, because I've done it.

In 2008, a job seeker I was trying to recruit told me about a different company he had an offer from. I used the information he gave me and talked him out of working for the other company. In the end I didn't feel bad for being a recruiter and doing my job, but he didn't benefit from me winning and the other company losing. The other company was actually a better fit for him, but I still was able to retain him.


  1. i'm a software developer looking for work and getting bombarded by recruiters. i was wondering what information we should tell them if they ask if we're interviewing anywhere else? pretend me aren't and say we just started looking? or tell them we are, but don't tell them where?

    it's just a little awkward when they ask my availability and i don't want to tell them i'm busy b/c i have another interview.

    thanks for the advice!

  2. If a recruiter asks where you are interviewing, all you need to do is say, "You should always assume I am interviewing, and I keep that information confidential."

  3. thanks for the response and the blog (i just skimmed the archives). it's refreshing to get a recruiter's honest perspective. if you're looking for blog topics, i'd love to hear your advice on things to watch out for in recruiters and how to decide when you should and shouldn't work with one.

    i also noticed you are based in SF, where i recently relocated. i'm going to send you an email in case we can work together.

    :) kristin

  4. This is very interesting information, but the candidate is interviewing with the companies anyway, he makes decision based on his meeting with the companies and what was offered, but not what the recruiter says right? How they can benefit themselves using the information then? I'm currently interviewing with companies, and recruiters do ask a lot about whom I'm interviewing with. I'd like to understand it so that I know what to do. Thank you.