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This question is about a similar situation as described in How do I coordinate the process of pursuing multiple job opportunities at the same time?, but that question focuses on the situation after you got interviewed.

However, what about the situation where you already know that you will not be able to give a prompt decision even before the interviews start, especially if you expect that the time span will be longer than the 3 weeks mentioned in this answer?

For example given the following situation: You got contacted by a recruiter and he wants to schedule for an interview with you. However, while you are very interested in the job, you already know that you will not be able to accept a potential job offer in the next two months. I could imagine multiple reasons for this, but I do not want to bias the question.

Is it better to decline the interview invitation now and try to contact the recruiter/company again later (for the same or other similar jobs) or schedule an interview and then potentially delay the acceptance?

Edit: To answer the clarification requests: I live in Germany, but answers about other regions would be interesting, too. I specifically talk about the situation where you are not "able to make a decision on whether or not to accept a job offer for two months".

  • Good first question, doing some reading before posting is always recommended :) – DarkCygnus May 2 '18 at 17:26
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    It really depends on where you live. To give you an example, in most European countries 2 months is nothing. I actually know plenty of people with 3 full months of notice period. The question can't be answered if you don't disclose where you are based. – BigMadAndy May 2 '18 at 19:03
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    Can you please clarify: Do you mean that you will not be able to make a decision on whether or not to accept a job offer for two months? Or, do you mean that upon deciding to accept the job, you will not be able to start with the new employer for another 2 months? – dwizum May 2 '18 at 19:30
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Is it better to decline the interview invitation now and try to contact the recruiter/company again later (for the same or other similar jobs) or schedule an interview and then potentially delay the acceptance?

I think that it is not necessary to decline the invitation right away.

A better move for you would be to inform them about this when they offer you the interview, so then they can decide if that expected delay is a problem or not.

This I think is better because you are not immediately declining the interview, and are giving them chance to see if they still wish to proceed (thus increasing your chances of landing a job), and if they don't you were still professional and didn't waste their and your time.

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    +1 why close the door when you don't have to? I've had interviewers wait a month to schedule an onsite interview around my vacation. If they want you, they'll wait. – jcmack May 2 '18 at 20:39
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Is it better to decline the interview invitation now and try to contact the recruiter/company again later (for the same or other similar jobs) or schedule an interview and then potentially delay the acceptance?

No, just be honest. Let the recruiter know that you are interested but aren't available until whatever date, and let them respond from there.

You can't be sure what their hiring needs are. The company may be open to waiting an extra month for a great candidate (you!), or their process may take several months anyways, or they have an immediate need - you won't know unless you ask. But if you decline now, they will certainly continue to search for candidates and the positions may be filled by the time you reach out again.

Personally, I updated my resume and online profiles a few months in advance of a planned move. When recruiters contacted me, I sent them some variation of:

This looks like a great opportunity. I am looking to make a change in a few months, and my earliest start date would be X. If this fits with your schedule, I'd be happy to talk!

Most responded positively and were able to accommodate my schedule, whether by delaying the initial interview or beginning the process immediately with the understanding that I would have a later start date.

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It's likely the recruiter/interviewer will ask you your notice period, and that's where you can be honest and understand whether it's a dealbreaker.

If you have the time and headspace, interviews are generally good practice and teach you stuff, whatever the outcome. You've got nothing to lose by attending the interview, showing them your interest and being truthful about (essentially) your notice period. For all you know, their recruitment processes could put back the start date. It's difficult to know this from the offset, but if you're keen on the role, it's worth finding out, and it could go your way.

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Two months is not really that long in the world of job hunting. The feedback loop with many companies is slow, so the time between phone screen, first on-site interview and possible second on-site could be a while. And then depending on how many candidates, they may take a while to proceed to an offer. I could easily see not having an offer before the two months is up.

If it is only two months, then I would proceed with the interviewing, if and when you get an offer you may have to ask for a slight delay before committing to a decision.

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