Two hiring processes; how to navigate?
May 10, 2021 1:01 PM   Subscribe

What it says on the tin: I’m currently in two hiring processes with two totally different departments. I have an offer in hand for one; sounds like a no-brainer, right? But it’s not quite that simple. Details inside.

So I am one of those public safety types, and over the course of the past few months I have found myself to be in the fortunate position of two hiring processes. We will call them South FD and North FD.
I was offered a job today with South FD. This is awesome! Except...I’m still technically in the hiring process for North FD, a much larger organization with many candidates to sift through. I am about 1/3-1/2 of the way through the process with North FD. I am waiting for them to tell me if I have moved to the next step, which would take place at the end of May.
Relevant background: both of these jobs are demotions, but the pay and benefits are better at both organizations compared to where I am now and much better work environments. I started the process with North FD well before the one with South FD. South FD is a much smaller organization that does not require relocation. North FD is metro and I would have to move to another state, starting in a whole ‘nother retirement system but massive opportunity. South FD has me retired in 2036/7 (one pension); North FD would have me retiring in 2045 (one full pension, one half pension).
In the interview, South FD asked me if I was in any other hiring processes; I truthfully answered “one, with North FD.” They asked how I would handle it if I was hired by South FD and I answered “I don’t know; I wouldn’t have an offer from North FD until almost 2021 and it would require selling my house, and I don’t know how far I’ll even make it in their process. I don’t have an answer for you at this time.” Which is all true, hence my conundrum.
I want to sign the contract with South FD, but my colleagues are split as to whether or not I should leave the process for North FD dependent on my actions regarding the job offer. I was upfront about the other hiring process, and that organization offers A LOT of opportunity. Like, it’s in the big leagues. I don’t want to burn bridges. But I do want to do what’s best for myself and my career. Also, taking the job would mean I have to update my work history with North FD and I have no idea how tricky that will be.
Staying with my current organization is not an option for way too many reasons than we have time for here.
posted by sara is disenchanted to Work & Money (7 answers total)
I'm a little confused - do you greatly prefer North FD? In any case, I'd take the job - if North FD offers you a job at the end of 2021 great, you can figure out what to do about it then. It's not clear to me why you wouldn't take the job you've been offered now (given that it sounds like a big improvement for you). Which bridge are worried about burning?
posted by coffeecat at 1:24 PM on May 10, 2021

For a 'normal' job, the clear and simple answer would be to take the opportunity at South FD and see what happens with North FD. If they eventually make you an offer you decide what to do with it then.

Even though you feel that this is complicated, I still think it's likely to be the right answer. You don't know whether you will actually like South FD until you start there. Maybe South FD would prefer you to commit wholeheartedly, but unless there's something you've not mentioned I don't think that preference needs to outweigh yours.
posted by plonkee at 1:37 PM on May 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: A few months is not a very long time to be at a job, and public sector jobs can be quite political. I have been in my industry in my state for 14 years and have a decent rep; I have been with all but one (I relocated too far away to stay on the roster) of my full-time and part-time organizations for over 5 years before leaving, with 7.5 at my current org. “Department hoppers” are frowned upon in our profession.

I would be content enough with either position, I think. It’s just that the larger organization offers a lot more opportunity and a chance to restart/reinvigorate my career, life, and eventually much better pay. There are more opportunities for women in North FD compared to my location. I also do not want to find myself stuck with my current organization.

I suppose I’m asking if it’s “okay” or ethical to sign the contract and continue on in the other process?
posted by sara is disenchanted at 1:38 PM on May 10, 2021

FWIW, you have this private-sector hiring manager's permission to sign the contract and continue the other process in case it pans out. Your job is not a sacred vow, do what you need to do for you and your family.
posted by Diddly at 1:43 PM on May 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

You cannot count on North. Do not pass up a good opportunity with South for a possibility of North. If you end up leaving South after a few months to a year for North, you can't say you didn't warn them of the possibility. Do what you gotta do for you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:47 PM on May 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

I work in local gov't and part of my job is negotiating FD contracts. We have red and blue employees leave all the time while still on probation because they got a job in their hometown or at their dream department. It sucks, but it happens, and as long as they were a good employee and worked hard while here, it's not even necessarily a bridge burnt. If you are unhappy at your current FD, go to South FD and see what happens with North. You don't want to get stuck waiting for a new promotional process to open up at South after you turned them down to wait around for North.
posted by notjustthefish at 2:09 PM on May 10, 2021 [5 favorites]

I get your concerns about job hopping, and how it looks in the profession. But here's what you're saying: you've been in your field for 14 years, mostly staying 5+ years, and you've been in your current position for more than seven years. If you take the South position (which you need to do because you need out from your current job), and then leave for the North position, you will job hop, once. Some people won't like it. Most people will totally understand because North is a bigger position with more opportunities. And it sounds like you'd expect to stay in the North job for an extended period, so that's great!

Yes, take the South job and stay in the mix for North. South was being savvy in getting you a quick job offer. Good luck there!
posted by bluedaisy at 4:06 PM on May 10, 2021

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