The interview process is an information gathering process for both sides.
Throughout the entire process you want to ask smart questions that educate you about…
- How the employer works
- What the environment there is like
- Responsibilities of the role you’re interviewing for
- And TIMING considerations!
When interviewing with multiple employers, you’re best positioned if you can line up your interviews so that you get to the offer stage at about the same time with each company.
“When interviewing with multiple employers, you’re best positioned if you can line up your interviews so that you get to the offer stage at about the same time with each company.”
This maximizes the alternative options available to you. The stronger alternative you have, the more comfortable you will be negotiating for what you actually want. Ask these three questions to be better informed of the timing considerations relevant to each particular job opening.
“When are you hoping to have this position filled?”
If you don’t ask this, you’ll end up acting on assumptions. It could be the employer wants to fill this position within the next 2 weeks. Or 2 months! The shorter time frame they communicate, the more important it is that you stay in regular contact with them throughout the process. If it’s a longer period, that gives you more time to setup interviews with competing firms and potentially create multiple offers.
“How long has the position been open?”
Likewise, if they JUST posted it…it’s likely they’ll want to wait a few weeks to see what the candidate pool looks like, before they make any serious moves. On the other hand, if it’s been posted for several weeks or months, they’ve probably already gone through many candidates they did not feel were a match for the position
“How many rounds of interviews do you expect for this position?”
This varies by industry and company size. Small companies may only have one round of interviews, whereas large companies often have 2-3 rounds of interviews, or more! In your industry there may be a general standard…but it’s still a good idea to ask. This way you’ll know at which stage they’ll be considering making you an offer.
When you’re interviewing with multiple companies simultaneously (and for your best outcome I recommend that you do!), you position yourself to have the most negotiating leverage by managing your timing with each employer. You can only do this if you’re first aware of each employer’s timing considerations. So ask a few questions to understand how soon they’re looking the fill the position, and you’ll be better equipped to coordinate the timing. You may even end up creating the proverbial “bases loaded” scenario: with a couple employers wanting to hire you at the same time, you’ll have the most leverage to negotiate an incredible deal!