Should You Tell HR You’re Applying Elsewhere?

Kent writes:
As a job-seeker should I ever let human resources know that I am also applying for jobs at other companies?

The Career Doctor responds:
I know the human resources department plays an important role in job-hunting
and employment management. In many firms these folks handle the initial
screening of candidates. They also make sure employers are following the law in
hiring and firing issues. And of course they handle the management of pay and
benefits. HR deals with the whole management of the employer-employee relationships.
That said and while acknowledging that HR plays a sometimes vital role in the
hiring process I always advise job-seekers to cut through HR as quickly as
possible to talk with the people who really matter — the hiring managers.
Now should you ever tell the HR person or the hiring manager that you are applying for
jobs at other companies? Generally speaking my advice is no. There’s no reason for
them to know you are applying to other companies especially competing firms.
The exception? If you have other job OFFERS and you really want to work for the
company and are basically in a holding pattern mentioning that you have other offers
not only makes you more attractive (a fairly common occurrence — you’re never more
attractive than when others find you attractive) but it can also get the employer to
pick up the pace in the hiring decision. Please note however that this strategy can
also backfire: an employer can find your announcement of other job offers as
offensive or boastful — or worse as simply a rouse to get them to make you an
offer. Tread carefully here.
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