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Advice / Job Search / Interviewing

3 Times You Need to Drop the Act and Be Honest With the Hiring Manager

You’ve probably been told countless times not to show your hand during the interview process, especially when it comes to letting a hiring manager in on other opportunities you’ve lined up. As a recruiter in a previous life, I’ve heard the gamut of textbook answers to the simple question, “Where are you in your search?”

Right now, I just can’t focus on anything but the opportunity to work here because I am so, so excited!

This really checks a lot of the boxes on my list. It would take a lot for someone else to impress me more.

I’m just really enthusiastic about the possibility of coming to work for you.

Newsflash: Interviewers have heard all of these responses from multiple job seekers. And more importantly, they don’t hold it against you if it’s not the truth. In fact, they’d be surprised if you didn’t have a few balls up in the air. While you should exercise a little caution throughout the process when letting a hiring manager know about what else is going on, there are three times when you should definitely speak up.

1. When You’re on The Fence About Going to Work for the Company

Just because you’re well equipped with the right questions to ask at the end of every interview, doesn’t mean you’ll always get great answers.

If you’re feeling as if you’re getting sold a bill of goods throughout the process, don’t be afraid to give the hiring manager a little nudge, including a heads up about other companies you’re speaking to.

Feel free to use this totally PC email template that will make even the most collected recruiter think, “Oh no, I’d better answer this before I lose this candidate.”

Hi Person in Charge,

Hope you’ve been well! I just wanted to check in and see if you could shed more light on X, Y, and Z. I’ve been really impressed by what I’ve seen and heard throughout the interview process but would love to hear more, which will help so much as I make this important career decision.

All the best,

The Candidate You Probably Don’t Want to Lose

Sending this email will help you accomplish one of two things: You’ll get the answers you were looking for—or you won’t, and you’ll get additional confirmation that you should probably take your career elsewhere.

2. When You’ve Been Asked Multiple Times About Other Interviews

This would normally fall into the “bad etiquette” bucket on most people’s list. And if you’re still in the early stages of the interview process, it is a bad idea to blab about all your interviews.

But sometimes, hiring managers ask about your job search multiple times. And if you’ve been asked in a final interview, go ahead and give them an update.

Often when I asked a candidate where he or she was in their search after a later-stage meeting, I wanted to know because I knew we would be drafting an offer letter as soon as we said goodbye for the day. And if it sounded like that candidate was going to have a number of options, I rushed back to my desk to get things in motion ASAP.

I knew if I didn’t, I ran the risk of losing out on someone great (more on this later). In any case, use your judgment. Don’t brag about how many interviews you have lined up, but if it’s getting clear that an offer is imminent, feel free to drop a little nugget about how it’s not a slam dunk that you’ll accept a role just because it’s being offered to you.

3. When You’re Getting the Runaround

Hiring managers who are juggling unmanageable schedules have asked you for a lot throughout the process—including the frustrating combination of your time and your patience. And as a good candidate, you’ve happily obliged each time. But, if you think another offer is going to be on the table soon, it’s time to alert the other hiring managers you’ve been interviewing with.

It’s no secret that the people in charge need the occasional reminder that you’ve been waiting. It’s even less of a secret that the best candidates are usually interviewing for multiple jobs at the same time. So, when a company really likes someone, there’s a lot of urgency to make sure an offer letter gets sent out ASAP. There’s not much a recruiter can do if an offer is rejected. However, life is not fun for any hiring manager if he or she doesn’t even get an offer letter out to a candidate before they accept another role.

How do I know? Let me count the number of uncomfortable meetings I was in after I let a great candidate slip through the cracks.

If you’re totally sold on a company, but haven’t heard back in over a week, let the people there know it’s the apple of your eye (without totally begging for the job), but that you’re also considering other potential offers. Not only do I know this will get most hiring managers in gear, but taking this kind of risk actually helped me seal the deal as a candidate myself a few years back.

For those of you who are afraid of rocking the boat a little too much by letting a hiring manager know you’re interviewing elsewhere, remember this is a two-way street. You are an amazing candidate, and of course you’ve got other interviews going on. The person leading you through this process know this, so don’t be afraid to give him or her a little nudge, especially when dealing with a company you really want to work for.

Photo of man on phone courtesy of Shutterstock.