Is It Possible to Have Too Many Irons in the Fire?

Is It Possible to Have Too Many Irons in the FireWe talk a lot about putting more irons in the fire.

But what does that really mean?

It means making sure that you always have other promising job opportunities lined up – great jobs, where you’re genuinely in the running, that you’d be thrilled to land.


Because when you walk into an interview when you have more irons in the fire, it does three things for you:

First, it takes away a LOT of the pressure. Having options means you can walk into the interview more relaxed, give it your best, and not worry about “blowing it” because you always have another opportunity ready and waiting.

This is a HUGE advantage.

Second, it changes how you come across to the interviewer. Because you’ll be more relaxed and give off a more casual vibe, rather than a needy one.

This enhances your perceived value in their eyes.

Third, when hiring managers from two different companies offer you a job, you’ll be in a strong position to negotiate the salary and benefits package you deserve – you’ll be in a place where YOU have the upper hand, rather than the hiring manager.

That gives you leverage.

But a word of caution:

Sometimes folks take my “more irons in the fire” advice out of context, and I wanted to clarify the difference between having just the right amount and having too many.

So, ideally, just how many irons in the fire should a candidate have?

At least three, but NO MORE than five.

Why such a specific range?

Consider this:

Having an iron in the fire doesn’t refer to just sending a resume in the mail – it means you have a job opportunity waiting in the wings, where you’re genuinely in the running for the position.

To make that happen, it’s critical that you do some research about the company and the hiring manager before applying. That way you fully understand their needs and requirements, so you can tailor your resume and cover letter, build relationships that lead to jobs, and “model” interview answers to meet these requirements.
This research takes time and careful consideration on your part.

So the problem with having more than five is that it’s impossible to do this research thoroughly. As a result, you end up spreading yourself too thin and, ultimately, that means you’re not really in the running for the job.

As they say, chasing after too many rabbits means they all get away.

On the other hand, if you only have one job opportunity, or even just two, then I suggest making it a priority to put another couple of irons in the fire right away – to put yourself in the running for another few jobs that you’d love.
Just keep it between three and five.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.