What's the best thing to do when you're interviewing for multiple jobs, and you're not sure when or if you're going to get offers?
You might worry that if you get a job offer from one company, you will have to decide before you have a chance to interview for the second job.
Job interview timing is tricky, especially when you're very interested in more than one job. However, there are ways you can handle interviewing for more than one job at a time and end up with the job that's right for you.
Handling Two Interviews
If you have two (or more) interviews lined up, there is no need to mention the second interview with an employer during the first interview.
There is no point in confusing the situation until you know the first company wants to hire you.
That being said, if you get an offer from company #1 before you have gone on your second interview, you can contact company #1 to ask for some time to make a decision. You don’t have to mention the other interview when you do so.
When asking for time, be sure to express your strong interest in the position. You don’t want to seem unenthusiastic. Express your interest in the job and the company, and then ask for a specific deadline for getting back to them.
You might let company #2 know that you have an offer, which might speed up their hiring process. After the interview with company #2, you can say that you already received another job offer and need to give them a decision. You can then ask for company #2 to make their decision soon, if possible.
When sharing this information with company #2, be sure to express your enthusiasm for the job. You might say, “After my interview, I am even more confident that I would fit well with your company, and that I am an ideal candidate for the position. While I would prefer to work for your company, I was recently offered a job with another organization. They need my decision by Monday. Is there any chance you could arrive at a hiring decision on or before Monday?”
Company #2 might say no. In this case, you can ask company #1 for an extension on your decision deadline.
Don’t Rush the Decision
Before your interviews, you might be more excited about one job than the other. However, don’t rush to any conclusions until you interview at both companies.
Until you have interviewed with both employers and been offered a job, it can be hard to know for certain which job is the best fit.
To get a sense of the company culture and whether you would be a good fit, ask the interviewer questions like:
- How would you describe a typical day in this position?
- What is the company's management style?
- How has the company changed over the last few years?
Remember that your goal is not just to impress the hiring manager. You also need to determine whether you’ll be happy and successful in the role, and that means evaluating cultural fit. It’s also important to make sure that you’ll be able to achieve your professional goals at this organization.
What to Consider When Evaluating a Job Offer
- Employee benefits and perks: These include health insurance, sick time and paid time off, and retirement plans.
- Stock options: Note that because not every startup turns into the next tech giant, these may not be a sufficient substitute for a higher salary.
- Work-life balance: Perks like free meals and in-house gyms may sound great, but make sure they’re not a trap to keep you at work. Ask about work schedules, as well as job duties, to figure out if you’ll wind up staying late every night – or checking email after your family goes to bed.
Getting Multiple Job Offers
If you get job offers after both interviews, congratulations! It is a good thing, although it can also be a challenging and stressful situation.
In this situation, express gratitude for both job offers, and ask for time to make the decision. Make sure you have all the information about both job offers, and that you thoughtfully weigh the pros and cons of each. You might contact either of the employers with any follow-up questions.
It’s Not Necessary to Tell Employers About Other Interviews Early On: If you receive an offer before you interview with the second employer, you can simply ask for more time.
Got One Offer, and Want to See if Another Will Come Through? It’s OK to tell the second employer that you have another offer, and ask if they’ll be able to come to a decision soon.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions Before You Interview: You may feel very differently about one or both employers after you meet with the hiring managers.
Express Gratitude to Each Employer: Even if you don’t plan to accept one or more job offers, be gracious.