'Have you applied to any other companies also?'

This is the one interview question that pisses me off. It's none of their bloody business, and isn't that what most people being interviewed feel like telling them? I previously came to the conclusion that the best way of answering such a question was to say "of course I have; I'm a young man trying to start a career". But perhaps you could just as easily say "no comment".

If I were interviewing someone, I'd be quite impressed if somebody could stand true to their own principles, and politely refuse to answer... as long as they did so in a way that didn't come across as awkward. It's sort of like a way of saying "I don't need this job, I'm not desperate". So if the interviewee could maintain their frame while answering like so, it would actually help them retain a bit of mystery and dignity. But it's unfortunate how many people let their guard down in interviews.

This question is completely irrelevant, and is just just a way of using the interviewee in order to find out more about their competitor companies. They know full well that the interviewee will think that if they reveal about they're other applications, that he/she will some how feel disloyal to the interviewer... especially if it's just after they've had to pretend that they think that company's values are the best!

Perhaps some interviewers view all candidates as inferior, and therefore would view such an answer as defiant. Because if you unintentionally end up making the interviewer look stupid then you know you won't get hired. I was asked my age in a recent interview for a well known company, and when I refused to answer, it made things a bit awkward.
 
Society based on BS, Game, and lying to people effectively:

Interviewer: "What makes you want to work here?"

Me: [At this point, I'm to break into some feel-good speech about why the Interviewer (potential employer) was specially selected above others, feign interest in him as a person, admire the company's history, compliment the 'beautiful family' in the photo on his desk, love the 'diversity' of his company, etc... .]

Interviewer: "Such a properly-socialized individual. Welcome aboard!"


Society based on meritocracy:

Interviewer: "What makes you want to work here?"

Me: "You have a job posting with requirements that I can fulfill.
I need employment, to make money to pay bills."

Interviewer: "Direct, no bullshit answer; trustworthy, useful, hard-working. Welcome aboard."
 

EndlessGravity

Woodpecker
It really is best to honestly answer that question. It may make you angry but you should consider if it bothers you enough to seek employment elsewhere.

If you don't want to answer directly, you could say you're open to and exploring a few opportunities and leave it at that. Vague enough to mean almost anything but it still answers the question in a polite way.

Like with a good joke, I'd avoid explaining myself (because if you have to explain it...). You'd come off as defensive anyway.
 
Answering questions like that is the equivalent of being served a dainty cake on a silver tray compared to the crap sandwiches you'll be expected to eat on a daily basis if you are part of an American corporate bureaucracy.
 

Gimlet

Woodpecker
Answer yes, name a couple of their competitors, and tell them you expect a call for a second interview. This is not a difficult question and is easily answered to puff yourself up in their eyes. Answering questions like that is the equivalent of a grown man getting a base hit in a game of T-ball.
 

JiggyLordJr

Woodpecker
This is basic game theory. You want to show the interviewer that you are of high value. By saying that you’re interviewing other places, it means that potential employers are scrambling to be the one to beam you up first.

Here’s a great parallel: Most guys can’t even get one date, yet upper tier guys can get many dates (if they so choose). Same goes for the number of interviews one can get. The average joe generally struggles to get face time with even one company; you’d be surprised how many applicants are unqualified yet confident. So in the eyes of an employer, an applicant with multiple interviews lined up must be on top of his shit, and is potentially then a high value hire.

The trick is to show some value and then follow it up with a dash of flattery. Two birds, one stone: you show your value and their value in a single go. I’ve been asked this exact question at several internships and passed their shit tests every time.

Best answer: “Yes, I’m currently interviewing at a few other firms, but - your - company interests me the most because - x y z reasons - . ”
 

Easy_C

Crow
What he said. That said your response depends on interviewers.

DO NOT say you have offers/interviews from specific companies if it’s a corporate job. Very frequently this People will have someone they know there and will place a call over to validate your story.

You also don’t tell everyone you’re their number one choice for the same reason.


Some interview questions are basically a shit test to check your value, bullshitting ability, and poise. This is one of them.


You Will also find some good responses to the question on Wall Street Oasis.
 
The trick is to show some value and then follow it up with a dash of flattery. Two birds, one stone: you show your value and their value in a single go. I’ve been asked this exact question at several internships and passed their shit tests every time.

Best answer: “Yes, I’m currently interviewing at a few other firms, but - your - company interests me the most because - x y z reasons - . ”
I never really got this idea of stroking their ego. I mean maybe if the interviewers were really high up within the company then they might have some sort of emotional attachment to it, but other than that I'd just imagine most interviewers would just view the place they work at as just another company that helps pay their bills! They mightn't at all like the company and might even be thinking of leaving. So as an interviewer, I honestly do not see how someone giving compliments to the company I work for as flattering. In my case I'd be getting interviewed for laboratory positions. The inside of one lab is probably the same as another regardless of what the company values are. And the interviewee does not get to see the lab before being interviewed.

But yet it would be a sin in an interview to admit, or even imply, that you don't really care much about the company values, and that you're just interested in working more with, say, mammalian cell cultures, or whatever. Yes, it might be stupid to say that, but they know that you think it! And you know that they know that you think it! So how did such an unusual scenario come about where interviewers are forced to squirm with the interviewer thinking "oh that's kind cute".
 
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Easy_C

Crow
You’d be surprised. A lot of these people are rich preppie types who base the entirety of their ego on how prestigious their employer is.

Doubt me? Go check Wall Street Oasis.
 

Elipe

Woodpecker
It really is best to honestly answer that question. It may make you angry but you should consider if it bothers you enough to seek employment elsewhere.
Like... where? Where doesn't do this, that doesn't pay peanuts?

Corporate culture is crazy homogenized at this point. You either have to stain your soul with this corporate bullshit, or you don't work in corporate at all. Even the janitor has to explain how scrubbing poop from the CEO's personal gold-plated toilet seat is "value-adding". That's nuts, man, all they're really asking for is for some guy that can push a mop around, and they're still going to ask him why they should hire him over the other social rejects that have to work a janitor job by necessity, and they're going to expect some bullshit answer laced with corporate buzzwords.

"Because I have years of experience as a sanitation manager (read: pushes mops around) for in-office sanitation facilities (read: bathrooms) and have often received praise for being easy to work with (read: keeps to himself and just mops the floor while not talking to the non-peasants), friendly (read: smiles around the boss while picking poop from the floor of the boss's bathroom), and hard-working (read: literally just works an hour a day and plays around on his phone the other 7)."

American corporate culture is cancerous as hell, and stinks to high heaven of sulfur.
 

Hypno

Crow
I never really got this idea of stroking their ego.
You are looking at it wrong. Companies want people that want to be there. Explain to them that you have a compelling reason for being interested in THIS COMPANY and THIS JOB.

You can shotgun apply to 100 companies, just be ready for a rifle precise reason why you are interested in each company. Your reason should be specific to THIS company, THIS job, and your unique situaton.
 

Elipe

Woodpecker
You are looking at it wrong. Companies want people that want to be there. Explain to them that you have a compelling reason for being interested in THIS COMPANY and THIS JOB.
Yes, Mr. Interviewer, ever since I was four years old I have always wanted to work at $GENERIC_COMPANY[435436]. It is everything I have ever aspired to be, and everything I have done ever since I came out of diapers has been for the ultimate goal of working mindless, repetitive tasks in one of your legion cubicle farms for eight hours a day, five days a week, while leaving my wife's kids in the hands of LaShayeqette at the local day care so that they can receive bruises and scars because there was nobody else to care for them while I and my wife work. And thank you for the opportunity to work in an environment of constant low-level stress and impotence that will drive me into losing what last shred of humanity the public schooling system didn't rob from me, and drive my wife away from me because I'm not being that "exciting" guy she originally married anymore, and having her take half of my stuff and kids from me.

Thank you for this great opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream! $GENERIC_COMPANY[435436] 4life 4EVAH!
 

EndlessGravity

Woodpecker
Like... where? Where doesn't do this, that doesn't pay peanuts?
We agree on everything you're saying. That still doesn't change the situation. You have to either suck it up and answer the question for your own benefit or find work elsewhere. Your answer is in your reply: somewhere other than corporate America. You won't be paid as much probably but you'll have a higher chance of finding a company and leadership within it aligning with your values.

However, I tried to recall how many times I've been asked your question over the past few decades, and it hasn't been too often. Even if they don't ask it though, like you said, most of corporate America is trash now.
 

Elipe

Woodpecker
We agree on everything you're saying. That still doesn't change the situation.
I know. I'll be honest, I'm just complaining and doing nothing to change the situation. You're right, you have to do it or you don't work in corporate America.

But I hate it. I just wish there was an interviewer I could be up-front and honest with, and speak truthfully, calling a spade a spade. And that the interviewer would be pleased by the refreshing honesty.
 

FullThrottleTX

Woodpecker
This is the one interview question that pisses me off. It's none of their bloody business, and isn't that what most people being interviewed feel like telling them?
The reason for this question is they want to know if you have a competing offer - or if you'll have a competing offer by the time they get around to to making you an offer. A lot of employers in tech in particular, deal with people pulling out of accepting positions at the last minute - which is an enormous cost obviously, if they've invested time in interviewing you. For example, if I'm going to fly someone out to interview in person, I want to know they're committed to accepting before I spend on that. They want you to disclose, for example, if you're on the final stages of a job interview elsewhere.

I'd view it as a good question to be asked. Some guys here are too paranoid...
Being in tech, I get asked a variation on this question all the time. It's never pissed me off.
 

TheMaleBrain

Kingfisher
Gold Member
This is the one interview question that pisses me off. It's none of their bloody business, and isn't that what most people being interviewed feel like telling them? I previously came to the conclusion that the best way of answering such a question was to say "of course I have; I'm a young man trying to start a career". But perhaps you could just as easily say "no comment".
No.
You say that you are in process with some companies. You don't give out details, but state that you find the company interesting.

The reason for this question is they want to know if you have a competing offer - or if you'll have a competing offer by the time they get around to to making you an offer.
You just beat me to it.
Second that
 

Hypno

Crow
Yes, Mr. Interviewer, ever since I was four years old I have always wanted to work at $GENERIC_COMPANY[435436]. It is everything I have ever aspired to be, and everything I have done ever since I came out of diapers has been for the ultimate goal of working mindless, repetitive tasks in one of your legion cubicle farms for eight hours a day, five days a week, while leaving my wife's kids in the hands of LaShayeqette at the local day care so that they can receive bruises and scars because there was nobody else to care for them while I and my wife work. And thank you for the opportunity to work in an environment of constant low-level stress and impotence that will drive me into losing what last shred of humanity the public schooling system didn't rob from me, and drive my wife away from me because I'm not being that "exciting" guy she originally married anymore, and having her take half of my stuff and kids from me.

Thank you for this great opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream! $GENERIC_COMPANY[435436] 4life 4EVAH!
Apparrently some people are struggling

- why you are interested in this role - I'm the assistant widget maker over at your competitor, and in this role I'll be the grand poobah of widget making.

- where I'm at now, ive done every job possible, so i'm looking for new challenges.

- I want to relocate to x city because its closer to my parents - my mom was in the hospital last year.

- im intersted in your comapny because i've used your product x and it really works, or I think it would be very fulfilling to be a part of [what the company is doing - new technology, helping certain groups, etc.]
 

homersheineken

Woodpecker
I never really got this idea of stroking their ego. I mean maybe if the interviewers were really high up within the company then they might have some sort of emotional attachment to it, but other than that I'd just imagine most interviewers would just view the place they work at as just another company that helps pay their bills! They mightn't at all like the company and might even be thinking of leaving. So as an interviewer, I honestly do not see how someone giving compliments to the company I work for as flattering. In my case I'd be getting interviewed for laboratory positions. The inside of one lab is probably the same as another regardless of what the company values are. And the interviewee does not get to see the lab before being interviewed.

But yet it would be a sin in an interview to admit, or even imply, that you don't really care much about the company values, and that you're just interested in working more with, say, mammalian cell cultures, or whatever. Yes, it might be stupid to say that, but they know that you think it! And you know that they know that you think it! So how did such an unusual scenario come about where interviewers are forced to squirm with the interviewer thinking "oh that's kind cute".
You're not stroking their ego, you're stroking yours! By creating value of yourself (saying you are talking to other companies as JiggyLord said), you become more valuable to company you're talking to. Which is the whole point of the interview, how much value you can bring to the company.

Companies don't know what you think. That's why they interview you. They're giving you the opportunity to show you're not like every other schlub out there that does think like that. And yes some people really do get excited to work for a certain company. I've seen it at my job (and numerous colleagues elsewhere), how excited they are to work for the company - and they've got the job, not trying to bs some interviewer.
 
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