I’ve been applying for several jobs recently. Two weeks ago I interviewed for my most desired position at a federal agency, call it company A. The interview went well and they said they would get back to me soon.

A few days later I interviewed for another job with company B. They wanted to fill the position quickly and gave me a conditional offer. I filled out the background check info and went and took the drug test and waited to hear back from company B. This was Friday 4/13. Wednesday 4/18 I received a conditional offer from company A my most desired employer. I filled out the background check and I’m scheduled to take a drug test Monday 4/23.

Today Friday 4/20 I heard back from company B and they said the checks cleared and they would like me to start Monday 4/23. Since I haven’t heard back from company A yet and probably won’t for a few weeks since they run a deeper background check should I still start at company B in case company A’s conditional offer falls through?

Company A said I will be able to give 2 week notice to my current employer and I have a feeling it could take a month or longer to get back to me. Should I ask company B for more time? Or should I turn down company B and wait to hear back from company A which is where I really want to work?

Any advice is appreciated. I’m kind of lost at what to do. I think I should start at company B in case the offer with company A falls through. I’m currently working as a contract employee so giving notice isn’t an issue but I don’t enjoy my current job and would earn more working for either company A or B. I could just keep my current job and wait to hear back from company A but that’s not appealing to me and I would be back at square one if I don’t get the job at company A since I stopped applying for other jobs.

marked as duplicate by DarkCygnus, scaaahu, gnat, mxyzplk, Community Apr 21 '18 at 5:23

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  • A is a government agency. No government agency is efficient, as far as I know. If you really like to work for them, wait for them. – scaaahu Apr 21 '18 at 2:35
  • Let me be more clear to you. Usually, government agency is slow and the background check is stricter. You need to be patient when waiting for A. However, I would advise you to take the offer from B if you have some bad record in the past so you might fail the background check. Again, sometimes, the background check conducted by a government agency may be stricter than private companies. Be warned. – scaaahu Apr 21 '18 at 6:39

The main reason the conditional offer would fall through is if something comes up on your background check. Only you know the truth behind that. If you have reason to believe they are going to dig up something that would make them not want to hire you, then you should accept company B's offer. If you are "clean", then I'd wait around for company A's final offer.

  • I am clean I'm just more worried about the federal background check that it might find something I hadn't considered. I don't have any criminal history or anything specific to worry about just general anxiety at passing up one job for the other if it falls through – Jschwalier Apr 21 '18 at 1:03
  • Did you tell the truth? If you told the truth, 99.99% of problems that are found, are not impactful enough to with draw your conditional offer. However, only you know what will be found, a government agency will make a decision based on the information you have access to. The more sensitive the information, the more detailed the background check will be, but you are human they won’t find a perfect candidate. You likely know what the deal breakers are, if those apply to you, only you can say. – Donald Apr 22 '18 at 5:16

should I still start at company B in case company A’s conditional offer falls through?

For my taste, it would be unprofessional (even bridge-burning) to accept an offer and quit almost immediately for another job you already had in mind.

There are probably several reasons for this being unprofessional, but perhaps the most relevant one is that you are wasting their time (and yours) by accepting an offer you plan to quit shortly.

Pursuing multiple job offers can be a delicate and timely procedure; if you play it wrong you might end up with no offer at all. You have to consider the pros and cons of each offer, as well as what you want for your career and decide based on that.

If you think there is a good chance you won't land the job with company A then by all means take the offer from company B. If there is high chance you can get it, I suggest you wait to hear back from them to proceed with the job hunt.

  • Thank you everyone! I'm going to be patient and wait for the background check and drug test to come through for company B. I'm going to call A in the morning and let them know I'm proceeding with another offer and thank them. I'll stick it out at my current job until then. If for some reason I fail the background check or the position closes I'll just start looking again. Really want the government job at company B so it's worth passing up the sure thing even if it's making me a bit anxious. Thanks again – Jschwalier Apr 21 '18 at 5:23

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