Two different opportunities, feeling a little dizzy...
February 2, 2014 7:02 PM   Subscribe

How do you proceed when you have a job offer in hand, but are wondering if the other job you interviewed for may be better?

We'll call the two jobs Job A and Job B.

I am currently employed, but looking for something new if it's the right fit. I interviewed for both Job A and Job B last week. Job A sent me an offer letter via email several days later with salary, benefits, an employee handbook, etc, laid out in it. After receiving this from Job A, I told them via email that I would review it and circle back early next week (i.e. Monday or Tuesday). I was trying to buy myself a little time. The job would be something I can see building my career.

Job B's interview went really well. This would be another good job. My chemistry with the interviewer was very good. At the end of the hour the interviewer smiled and said, "I'm putting a star by your name. No, I'm putting two stars by your name." Then the interviewer told me about the 2nd interview which would be a panel and a writing test. I have not heard back from Job B this past week even though I did send a follow up "thank you" email to the interviewer. I realize that these things move slow and not hearing back yet might not mean anything.

What I do want to do is explore my options with Job B before accepting Job A's offer.

Is this wise? How to proceed? Do I just call up the interviewer and say that I've received an offer from Company X but that I am still interested in Job B? Will Job A and Job B communicate with each other about this if I do this? I know you can leverage offers against each other, but I haven't gotten an offer or a second interview from Job B yet.

Both jobs have the same level of stability, similar salaries and benefits, but there may be prestige or stress factors that I have not considered with either one. I need to think about that some more. I just don't want to leave anything on the table.
posted by timpanogos to Work & Money (4 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Is this wise?

Of course. Further, Job B obviously wants to at least consider employing you, so Job B wants to know what happens at Job A.

How to proceed? Do I just call up the interviewer and say that I've received an offer from Company X but that I am still interested in Job B?

Yes, that is how you should proceed. I suggest not giving Job B the details of the offer from Job A so that they don't simply offer Job A price + $1,000.

Will Job A and Job B communicate with each other about this if I do this?


I know you can leverage offers against each other, but I haven't gotten an offer or a second interview from Job B yet.

If you call Job B, they will either give you that offer immediately, give you the second interview ASAP, or tell you to take the Job A offer. This is completely normal interview behavior and absolutely not out of the ordinary. Some companies prefer to interview many candidates before narrowing the search or making an offer, which results in a prolonged process until an offer is made. However, all companies that are worth working for can expedite the process when a candidate is going to drop out of the process due to a competing offer. I've seen companies turn offers that'd normally take several weeks in a couple hours in this case.
posted by saeculorum at 7:20 PM on February 2, 2014 [6 favorites]

Hey, I just went through this. It really depends on your industry, but most likely, the company offering Job A is not going to snatch back their offer because they realize you are a competitive candidate and expected that this may be the situation.

You can tell Company B something like this:

[Compliments, expression of interest in job go here]

Given that, can we move forward with scheduling the in-person interview? Due to unexpected differences in the rate of interview processes, I have an offer from another company. I've told them I need more time because I definitely still want to talk to the people at Company B and learn more about what already sounds like a promising role and about what you are looking for. It would be best for me and my decision-making process if this happened sooner than later.

However, I completely understand that it's not your problem, and you can only go as fast as you can go, so just let me know what you can do!

You should ask Company A when they need an answer. You can let them know that you're in another interview process and that you'd like to see it through to find the best fit for you and start the job (possibly Job A) with full confidence. You can say you understand if they can't wait for that, and if so, you'll make your best guess about whether to take the job.

Company A and B, in most industries, will not collude with each other.
posted by ignignokt at 7:23 PM on February 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Even after following the advice above, it's still possible that you won't get an offer from Job B in time to give a decision to Job A. You should spend some time to think through and be prepared for the what-ifs:

What if I turn down A and then I don't get an offer from B at all?
- You do still have a job. We don't know whether you like it or hate it - could you be ok staying at that job if both these offers fall through? Or would it be better to accept A just so you know you're not stuck with your current job? Would you be ok with letting B go and just commit to A?

What if I accept A and then get a really fantastic offer from B?
- You have to think about the industry and community that you work in, as well as your personal moral code. What would it be like it you accept A, then a week later you quit to accept B? In some industries, the job market is like a club - everyone knows what everyone else is doing and word gets around. You might not want a black mark on your record and you might not want to burn a bridge at A. But in other industries, people job-hop all the time. Some people will tell you about loyalty once you accept A, but others will tell you that loyalty no longer exists in the business world in 2014. You have to decide how you feel about these choices.

Whichever way you choose, this is the advice I give to my kids: There is no way to know the exact day-to-day details of both choices. In one, you might sit next to a rude, loud, smelly person, in the other, you might just chance to walk into the cafeteria the day a talent scout is looking for someone exactly like you to star in a movie. There is no way for you to know any of this in advance. So: after you pick one, forget about the other choice and really concentrate on making THIS choice work the best for you.
posted by CathyG at 6:37 AM on February 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

It sounds like Job B likes you but has a really slow time table that could cost you the opportunity with Job A. Unless you are by far the best candidate they've seen, you're not looking at just the time to do a second interview and written test, you're waiting for them to do it with everyone else they're looking at. Unless they're willing to give you a firm deadline on when they can give you an answer, I'd go with Job A.
posted by Candleman at 8:38 AM on February 3, 2014

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