Should I take this job?
April 21, 2010 9:08 PM   Subscribe

After months of unemployment and hearing nothing back from potential employers, I've finally had a slew of interviews. Unfortunately, the companies seem to be on totally different hiring schedules and I don't want to miss a great opportunity simply because that company takes a much longer time to go through the hiring process.

Here are the specifics:

Company A brought me in for a first interview about a month ago and a second interview almost two weeks ago. The week after my second interview with them, I had several more interviews, including one with Company B, where I would love to work. Company A offered me a job yesterday, and I told them that I would have an answer for them on Friday. Company A has stressed to me that they'd like to fill this position quickly, so I don't think they'll be amenable to waiting longer than Friday for my answer.

Company A is perfectly lovely, but the position isn't really in my field and the pay is a little more than $10k lower than in my last job. There is no potential for growth and this would only ever be a perfectly acceptable way to bring money in.

Company B interviewed me for a position much more related to what I'm studying in grad school (public policy), lists a salary range that is more in line with what I had been making at my last job, and is a position that I could really make mine.

Company B, however, hasn't offered me a job. I sent them an email telling them about the job offer from Company A and asking where they were in their hiring process. So far, I haven't heard anything. Even if I do hear something, I think they'll probably want another interview before they'll offer me anything, so I wouldn't expect to have an offer earlier than three or four weeks from now.

How do I handle this with Company A? Do I lay it all out and tell them that I may have competing offers and wouldn't want to commit to their company without being able to examine all of my options? Or do I just take the job and then quit if Company B or one of the other companies that I'm more interested in works out?
posted by amandarose to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Take A, and if B comes calling, take B. Ordinarily you wouldn't get the A offer (because you're clearly overqualified) - but because the economy is so nuts everyone is overqualified for everything so they're taking a chance on you. (And the fact that B didn't even respond to your message about having an offer points to the fact that A is right). Absolutely do not tell A that they are your last resort - what possible good could that do you? Good luck!
posted by moxiedoll at 9:26 PM on April 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Or do I just take the job and then quit if Company B or one of the other companies that I'm more interested in works out?

Just that, if you need the money. First call B, rather than email, and if that's inconclusive, go with A and see where the other applications take you. If you can afford to wait it out for your dream job, that is of course more elegant.
Are you posting under your real name? Get this anonymized.
posted by gijsvs at 9:26 PM on April 21, 2010


You take job A and quit if job B/C/whatever becomes available. Why would you tell them you're not ready to commit? They'll say ok and hire someone who is. Giving no notice isn't the nicest thing to do, but being unemployed isn't very nice either and there's no reason to stay somewhere when you have better options. Cover your own ass. Maybe you're not entirely hurting for money (you sound a little blasé about the whole thing), but jobs aren't exactly falling out of the sky right now.
posted by Roman Graves at 9:29 PM on April 21, 2010


A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Don't be so sure about B. I've gone through third interviews over hours and days resulting in not even a courtesy call to tell me to forget about it.
posted by rhizome at 9:31 PM on April 21, 2010


I was in your position a long time ago kinda. Wasn't unemployed, but rather working for someone who was not someone I wanted to work with any longer. Company A was just pleasant and nice, with acceptable pay, and company B sounded like it would be a real opportunity for growth (this was in the middle of the tech boom) and a chance to Build Some Things and Make Some Real Money.

I interviewed with both companies, A was good and nice, if nothing extraordinary, and B I had a really enthusiastic interview, sounded like a perfect fit from both sides, etc etc.

A week later, I got an offer from Company A, and reached out to Company B to see what was happening there, but got nothing conclusive either way. So, seeing as I needed a change, I took Company A's offer, and had a mostly pleasant time, with a few unexpected opportunities. Six months later, I hear from a friend that Company B closed its doors, and never did hire anyone for the position I interviewed.

So I'd say, you need to eat, and Company A wants to make that happen today. Take their offer. If B comes back later, you can always jump ship. It's not the most professional thing, but it's also not a dastardly deed that will follow you for the rest of your life or anything.
posted by barc0001 at 11:53 PM on April 21, 2010


How about buying a little more time by accepting A but under the condition that you wouldn't be able to start for two weeks? At least that way you get more time, and if you get an offer from B, you never set foot in A and all it requires is a phone call to A. They've already interviewed for the job so would be moving on to their second choice and they haven't spent any resources in hiring you that they wouldn't have spent in the ordinary interviewing process.
posted by archimago at 4:11 AM on April 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Take A, say nothing, and if B comes around to hiring you move to B. This happens all the time and no one from A will really think less of you or even remember you in a few months if this happens.

But, don't work at A as if you are just filling time until B calls. Work with the assumption that B will never call you back / offer you a job. Even if you have a good feeling about B, even if it seems like you are a perfect fit at interviews, even if some people there gush about you, even if they tell you they just need another interview as a formality, even if they tell you they are just waiting for someone to get back from vacation to sign your paperwork - it all means nothing until you have a signed job offer in hand.
posted by mikepop at 5:42 AM on April 22, 2010


Just nthing what everyone else is saying. Take A, and abandon ship if B makes an offer. This is business, not love. Always treat your career as business and you will go much further in your career.

I'm saying this as someone who learned this the hard way.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:20 AM on April 22, 2010


Take A; if B comes up, then move to B. If B doesn't deliver, then you have something that pays the bills. A may even prove to be something you can grow/develop with once you're there. This is business and situations like this come up all the time.
posted by arcticseal at 8:54 AM on April 22, 2010


Dissenting view here.

Archimago is wrong. The first thing A will do after you accept is release other candidates. If you bail afterwards, you will seriously inconvenience them: their runner-up candidates may have moved on and regardless, backtracking is embarrassing. A could easily end up having to redo the whole hiring process, which costs them time and money.

I've been hiring for more than a decade. In that time, two people have done to me what you're thinking about doing to A. I was furious with both of them, and if somebody asked me today what I think of those two people, I wouldn't speak highly of them.

Be honest with A, and ask them to give you as much time as they reasonably can to make your decision.
posted by Susan PG at 5:47 PM on April 23, 2010


Archimago is wrong. The first thing A will do after you accept is release other candidates. If you bail afterwards, you will seriously inconvenience them: their runner-up candidates may have moved on and regardless, backtracking is embarrassing. A could easily end up having to redo the whole hiring process, which costs them time and money.

This is entirely true. However, it is also entirely true that if for some reason after just a month they found they had to eliminate the position you'd just been hired for they would do so. This would seriously inconvenience YOU and cost YOU time and money. You would probably not speak very highly of them. But they would still do it because business is business and their job is to look out for the company. Your job is to look out for you.
posted by mikepop at 5:44 AM on April 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


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