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I've received an offer for a job. The first two weeks are a "tryout", and if they like me (and, presumably, vice-versa) they'll keep me on for another six weeks. I still have a few days from now in which to take this offer.

Meanwhile, I've had surprising luck with other applications. This week I expect an offer from another job, and have two more interviews scheduled. I feel the need to keep my options open because some of these jobs are "permanent", or have other advantages over Job A.

If I decide to stay after the trial period, I'll stay. No more applying or interviewing. But until then, as a point of professionalism:

  1. Can I take this job, keep interviewing, and possibly accept a new job for when the trial is over?
  2. Should I tell Job A that I have other options? (And promise that I won't send out any new applications?)
  3. When would I tell them? The first day of work seems like a bad time to give two-week's notice.

As I already said: I don't think this is quite a duplicate of Should I let the company I "accepted" first know that I'm still interviewing with another company?, because Job A is temp-to-hire, and only two months long at most. Same for Should you tell a potential employer with an offer that you're interviewing with another company?.

I also don't think it's like Accepting job offer, and backing out? How unprofessional is this?. Because during the tryout period, can I really be said to have "accepted" the job?

Actually, I think this question may be the closest to a duplicate: Ethics of Accepting a Job Offer with the knowledge that I may soon leave

I'm in California, USA, where either party can terminate employment with or without cause.

marked as duplicate by HorusKol, Jim G., Martin Tournoij, gnat, IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 5 '18 at 13:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    You can, but why should you? You're basically being offered a 2-week contract (hopefully, paid) that may be extended by another 6 weeks, so you should be looking out for what's next - but there's no need to tell your new/current employer. – HorusKol Nov 5 '18 at 4:25
  • I think it's probably fair to warn them I may leave in two weeks, whether they like me or not. Of course, they may not hire me then and my wife would kill me. – RoyalFlash Nov 5 '18 at 6:47
  • 1, yes. 2, tell them absolutely nothing, ever. 3, see 2. – Fattie Nov 5 '18 at 8:24
  • Please answer in answers, not in comments. – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Nov 5 '18 at 13:32
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Can I take this job, keep interviewing, and possibly accept a new job for when the trial is over?

Of course

Should I tell Job A that I have other options? (And promise that I won't send out any new applications?)

What purpose do you think would this serve?

When would I tell them? The first day of work seems like a bad time to give two-week's notice.

See point above.

For a 6 week job it doesn't seem necessary to tell them anything. Nor should you feel bad if you did end up giving two weeks notice on your first day as you're only a temp anyway.

  • The purpose it would serve would be transparency and ethics. I absolutely don't need to tell them if the other jobs can start in two months, after this short contract, but I don't know if that's true. – RoyalFlash Nov 5 '18 at 6:40
  • There's nothing unethical about continuing to look for opportunities in this situation. If they wanted to preclude that they could have simply offered you a permanent role. By not doing so, they are keeping their options open, it would be a double standard for them to expect that you don't do the same. However, in terms of transparency, I wouldn't advise this approach - to you it might feel like doing the right thing, but you run the risk of it sounding like a threat/ultimatum (i.e. "make me a permanent offer or I'm out of here"). – delinear Nov 5 '18 at 11:59
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"Trying out" works both ways. Meaning you try them out and they try you out. If either involved party were sure, they would have pushed for a permanent or time-based full hire. Since both of you agreed on a temporary try-out period, I see no reason, professional or otherwise, to notify the employer you are still actively looking for a permanent position (unless you want to pressure them into offering that position). Do they notify you if they are searching for someone else for that position for a permanent hire?

Answering your first question: IMHO, the only thing you should do until you are certain your temporary employer still needs your services after the try-out period is done is look for another employer.

Answering your second question: I would assume they are intelligent enough to deduce that you are still looking for a position after the try-out ends and they don't make an offer. I would give Employer A the chance to come up with a counter-offer if something works out with Employer B, but I would not tell Employer A I'm looking for another job, as it might be interpreted as pressure for a permanent hire.

Answering question 3: AFAIK, try-out periods allow both employer and employee to back out of a contract without any notice periods. I would not share any career plans with a temporary employer that don't involve him/her unless I'm legally obligated to do so. And you are not AFAIK.

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