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I interviewed at Company A more than 5 weeks ago. At week 3 of the hiring process, I had already known I was shortlisted and was only pending final confirmation from the boss. (I emailed the internal HR for updates)

At week 4 & 5, the HR ignored my emails. At this point I still haven't gotten any offer. So, I started applying for other companies.

Today (week 6) I finally received a confirmation call from Company A. They asked me if I was still open to the position. I said yes. They asked me what preferred my starting date was, and I told them I can start immediately. They told me to go through a medical check up first (most probably within this week), then we can discuss starting dates.

Later on I received a call from Company B for a job interview in two days time. I agreed to go because Company B has a really good portfolio and is more relevant to my field.

Is it generally OK to continue with the interview? If, later on, I finish my medical check up at Company A's expense, and they agree to hire me, could I still back out?

Both companies are actually quite well-known anyway, so I won't be losing out either way.

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It's absolutely OK. Until you receive a final offer in writing, anything is up in the air. What if, for some reason, you fail your medical check? You would then need to begin the process and delay starting a job that much longer. Until you have a start date locked down and all the requirements met, it's OK to continue to apply and interview for positions.

Once you have a signed offer, you can communicate to other companies that you have accepted an offer and the process can stop. You should do this as quickly as possible after accepting a final offer so that way the other companies can proceed forward with other candidates.

  • Thanks! I guess I was stressing out because people associate "medical check up" with "a company wouldn't pay for expensive procedures for candidates they are unsure of". There's probably a bit of guilt involved, like I'm cheating on a spouse or something. Heh. – J H Mar 5 '18 at 18:02
  • Don't ever assume that if a company invests any meaningful amount of money in your health or well being, they do it for your benefit. – BoboDarph Mar 8 '18 at 9:49
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The reason it took so long (probably) is that company A had another candidate they considered "better", who dropped out. They kept you on the ropes just in case this happened, and would have told you "sorry" has the other candidate accepted.

So, yes, by all means feel free to continue interviewing. You can always tell company B when/if company A offers you a job that company B needs to get back to you ASAP.

  • How do you know that the company didn't respond because they had another candidate who was better? After I interviewed for the position I'm in now, I didn't hear for almost three weeks. Shortly after I interviewed, the dev team went to a conference for a week (I was told about this when I interviewed), then the manager had a vacation, and early in the third week, the recruiter was out of office for an emergency (very unplanned). Who knows what happened in this case? – Thomas Owens Mar 5 '18 at 16:33
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    Ah, sure, i should have had probably. But generally, if the interview process takes a while it's because they're hoping to get someone else, and keeping you on the hook as a backup. – bharal Mar 5 '18 at 16:48
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    @Thomas How do you know that in your case, in addition to those reasons, they did not also have another better candidate? We can never know what's going on behind the scenes, so we have to take educated guesses based on past experiences and some common sense. – Masked Man Mar 5 '18 at 17:20
  • @bharal thanks for the answer! Your comment about how long the company took the respond is not really relevant to the main question, but in your defense, I did stress the timeline quite a bit. Honestly, the HR was quite responsive at the beginning. She would respond to my emails with calls within the hour. During the "hiatus", she ignored two emails in the course of two weeks. So I understand your concern on that part. – J H Mar 5 '18 at 17:46
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The company has explicitly told you that you have not been hired and are in fact not yet hireable. -- the fact that their process requires a medical checkup (which they pay for) before you are hireable does not change your obligations.

Companies spend money on candidates that they then reject every day -- your obligation to a potential employer is to be reasonably honest and forthcoming, not to put your life on hold until they inform you of a a decision.

You have no further obligation to the company until they start paying for your time.

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