Juggling multiple job semi-offers - the government agency edition
November 9, 2017 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Mefites who are familiar with guvmint bureaucracies: After searching with no luck for quite a while, I have suddenly ended up with 1.75 job offers at the same giant public agency and I am not sure how to respond.

Job A called on Tuesday and extended what my boss-would-be called an "offer to make an offer". Sounds fuzzy but no more interviews, I'm the pick. If I accept the offerTMAO, he passes me on to agency HR, who sorts through the salary and job title, handles negotiations, and makes the actual offer. I told him I'd get back to him early next week.

I had a second interview with Job B on Wednesday that went well. The head of the department said, "expect to hear from us soon". He asked if they were in competition with anyone else and I told him I was talking with another group within the agency. Barring an absurd difference in salary, which seems unlikely, Job B is my pick of the two. I intend to email them and tell them this and ask if they can reach a decision sooner rather than later. Presumably I would need to go through the same offerTMAO process with Job B too.

If Job A was an actual offer offer, I feel like it'd be simple enough to just delay until I got something from Job B. As it stands though, I don't have anything to compare (or anything locked down) unless I start the offerTMAO process with both of these positions. I think I definitely need to tell Job A to move forward regardless, since that's the actual offerTMAO I have at hand, don't count your chickens, etc.

SO, how binding is this "offer to make an offer" from Job A? Like, I know there must still be a point where I can back out (since I don't have an actual salary offer yet), but what's the implied level of commitment when I email Job A on Monday and say yes, let's move forward?

And related, how much do I have to tell Job A at this point? Does it look better if I let them know about Job B now? Does it matter that Job B and Job A are definitely acquainted with each other?

Also, does anyone know the actual term for this offerTMAO? I'm guessing "conditional offer", except I think that's more applicable to passing a drug test, background check etc. I just don't want to sound like a moron when I let Job B know I have an offerTMAO from Job A.

I've been spazzing out all day at my incredibly lucky turn of events so let me know if this looks like gobbledygook and needs clarification. Thanks!!!
posted by Dr. Sock, WebMD to Work & Money (3 answers total)
An offer to make an offer is nothing - unless you have a salary and title on paper, they haven't offered you anything.

You can show interest in job A and ask them to provide you salary, benefits, title, terms, etc. and still back out while saving face. In a government agency, getting this stuff together can take a lot longer than you might think which will give job B some time to get their act together.
posted by notorious medium at 2:49 PM on November 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Is this a federal job? If so, there is no job offer until you receive an offer, in writing, from the agency's personnel office. A million things can do go wrong between the time when the selecting official decides they want to hire someone, and the time the written offer is actually made - and if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. Keep pursuing both jobs until you have written offers in hand. THEN, make a decision. If you get a written offer for Job A, there is no reason you can't use it to leverage a better offer from Job B, with the caveat that if Job B hasn't yet made a written offer, you risk losing the bird in the hand from Job A while you wait for the offer from Job B. You can ask Job A if they'll give you time to consider the offer, to draw out the timeline, and depending on the talent pool and how good you are, they might grant it. Or they might not.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 4:56 PM on November 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I don't know the sort of position or what federal agency you're discussing here, but I do know that it's not uncommon to offer an "intent to hire" letter with the implied condition that there are additional requirements that you may or may not meet, and if you do not, the intent to hire is rescinded. For example, this is standard practice if you have to go through a background investigation of whatever thoroughness because you're occupying a position of public trust, or are getting some sort of security clearance.

I am a federal employee, but probably not at the agency you're in discussion with. I'll happily answer what I can if you like. Congrats.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:53 PM on November 9, 2017

« Older Stuck in Youtube hell...   |   Planning office fun Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.