FAQ: What Does it Mean when an Interviewer Says They Have Other Interviews

Updated 4 February 2023

Interviewing for jobs can be a lengthy process that often includes researching roles, submitting your application materials, interviewing and receiving an offer of employment. When you attend an interview, there's a chance the interviewer may mention that they're still waiting to meet with other candidates before offering positions. It's important to understand the different meanings behind this statement and to know how to respond so that you show the employer your professionalism and enthusiasm for the job. In this article, we assess some common questions about what an interviewer might mean when they say they have other interviews, along with tips for your response.

Related: Signs an Interview Went Bad (With Tips to Help You)

What does it mean when an interviewer says they have other interviews?

When an interviewer says they have other interviews, it means multiple scenarios are possible. It's essential to consider the context, which is why it's important that you take into consideration everything the employer says about you as a candidate, especially regarding other prospects. For example, if you felt confident after leaving your interview and had a good conversation with the interviewer who described the position's tasks you would be doing, they may be considering you for the job. Even though they mention that there are other candidates, you may still be likely to move on in the process.

The following includes a few ways that you can interpret an interviewer's comment when they reveal that they're going to meet with other applicants:

Related: How to Sell Yourself in an Interview (With Interview Tips)

They think you're a great fit for the job and plan to offer you the position

The best scenario when an interviewer reveals they still have other candidates to review is that they're impressed by your qualifications, demeanour and enthusiasm and want to offer you the position. But they may be waiting to meet with other candidates already on the schedule for interviews. Even though the interviewer might feel confident that you're the best fit for the position, they still may undergo the formalities of meeting with other candidates and giving them the chance to demonstrate their abilities.

There may be outside factors that contribute to this response, such as scheduling and work compliance. While you may meet all their qualifications, they may require employees who can work a certain schedule. If they wrote down your availability, it's possible they're waiting to ask other applicants for theirs to determine whose availability best fits the position's demands. Remain calm when an interviewer reveals they're still going to meet with other applicants. If you feel that you did well, review the elements of the interview where you excelled to help yourself feel better.

They think you're a worthy candidate but want to explore other options

Another way you can interpret an interviewer's response in this situation is that your interview and qualifications impressed them, but they still want to consider other prospects. It's normal for interviewers to want to explore their options, especially if the position is one that attracts highly qualified and enthusiastic applicants. Consider a scenario where you were an applicant who was still waiting for an interview. It's fair for the interviewer to still give you a chance to interview despite what they think of previous interviewees.

It's possible you may be one of their top few applicants already interviewed, but they want to thoroughly explore which individual is truly the best fit for the job. It's also important to remember that just because an interviewer may have one or two specific applicants in mind, there's no guarantee those individuals accept the position. It's common for employers to create a ranked list of interviewees. If they ranked you third and the first two applicants turned down the offer, you would be the next choice and have the chance to accept the job.

Related: Stepped Guide on How to Ace an Interview: Tips and Examples

They haven't decided if you're a proper fit for the job

Hiring requires a lot of deliberation. The interviewer may recognise that you have excellent qualities but cannot immediately determine whether those qualities place you among the top candidates. They may feel that one of your responses in the interview could have been clearer or more in line with their expectations, or they may feel the job could present some challenges to you. As a result, they might consider you as a potential candidate. You remain a contender for the position, so be confident in your candidacy. You can remind them of your qualifications in your follow-up correspondence.

They intend to offer the position to someone else

Sometimes the interviewer decides that they prefer an earlier candidate, and their mention of other interviews is a polite way of showing their lack of interest. Sometimes it may be clear directly after the interview that you can continue to seek other employment opportunities. Try to focus on your accomplishments so far. Remember that your qualifications were strong enough to get you an interview in the first place, so your possible candidacy for future openings with the company remains.

Related: 10 Tips for What to Do Before an Interview (With Importance)

When do interviewers say they have other interviews?

You may find that many interviewers reveal this information to candidates towards the interview's end. Remember that it's normal for recruiters to want to examine all their options before committing to a specific person. Just because the interviewer tells you that they have other interviews doesn't mean your chances of getting the position are gone. It could mean that your performance impressed them, and they would like to ensure that you're the best applicant for the position before officially offering it. In contrast, they could just be saying this as a formal way of completing the interview.

Related: How to Ask an Interviewer to Repeat a Question (Plus Tips)

How can you respond when an interviewer informs you of other interviews?

Regardless of what the interviewer means when they mention that they have other interviews, leave a good impression by sending a follow-up email or note the day after your interview. In your correspondence, you can include the following suggestions:

  • express gratitude for taking the time to interview you

  • affirm your interest in the position

  • reiterate your qualifications

  • request news about the hiring process as it arises

If you're among the leading candidates, a follow-up email or note can serve as a reminder of your qualifications. Especially if you were one of the early interviewees during a long interview period, helping them to remember you can influence them to actively consider you as they interview others. You may end up waiting a long time for relevant news, so it's appropriate to send an additional, brief follow-up email or note asking for an update after a few weeks.

Related: How to Tell if a Job Interview Went Well (12 Positive Signs)

How can you follow up with an interviewer?

If there are candidates ahead of you, the post-interview period is the time to show why you're the best candidate to place higher on the interviewer's list. In addition to the elements above, introduce information about yourself that you didn't get to mention during the interview, such as your relevant experience, qualifications and interests. Try to relate these details to matters that you discussed in the interview so that they appear relevant to the job in question.

Even if they intend to offer the job to someone else, a follow-up message that expresses gratitude for the interview opportunity can help you project a positive image and establish a good relationship with the company. If they rehire for the same position in the future or have an opening for a related position, they're more likely to consider you for the job, especially if you were one of the candidates with potential. In the meantime, direct your focus to other job opportunities, using what you've learnt from this recent experience to guide you.

Related: Email Examples of How to Respond to a Recruiter Effectively

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