It’s normal to wonder if it’s okay to let an organization know they are your first pick out of all your other employment options. It’s no secret that candidates are free to shop around, and this type of communication is straightforward. But is it helpful in landing a job? Sometimes it is. However, the interview process can be like dating. Both parties have to want each other at the same level, and gushing about a potential future employer can come across as a little extra. So, use this tactic carefully.

Communicating Preferences

So, if you’re nervous about coming on too strong, figure out what you think is a win about the organization. Do you like the location or the company mission? Tell them that. Did you interview for a contract that has a customer with a mission that you personally connect with? Also good to communicate that. The key is to let a potential employer know that you are a great fit for the position AND that you connect with the organization. This is also where your company research plays a vital role. Sometimes, it’s less about saying how much you like a company and more about proving how invested in the company you are with your knowledge.

Cards on the Table

However, if you have interviewed with multiple organizations, but one of them stands a bit taller above the rest, it’s a good idea to let them know that detail. It may feel like you’re putting all of your cards on the table and coming on a little strong, but when you’re searching for jobs, that’s not always bad. No one wants to waste their time putting together an offer and compensation package for a candidate that has a low interest in actually joining the organization. With multiple candidates on the table, you could get a tiny advantage if the hiring team gets the feeling that you are a safe bet.

On the flip side, it’s easy to come across as arrogant if you’re interested in keeping your options open. While it’s normal to communicate that you’re interviewing with a few different employers, you want to be careful in how noncommittal you appear. Playing the field can quickly communicate that you think there’s more fish in the sea and that you don’t really need the offer. We spend a lot of time at our work, so connecting with a company in the hiring process is key in landing an offer and getting long term job satisfaction.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Bottom line? You have to mean what you say. Telling a company that they are your number one until the end only works if you really mean it. While pressuring for an offer or timeline updates doesn’t work in your favor, communicating interest can make you stand out if it’s heartfelt. However, it’s important to let them know that there’s competition out there so that your compensation doesn’t take a hit. So, if you don’t have other options, stick to showing interest by telling an organization what you like about them – without sounding like a stalker.


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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.