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I was offered a job with Company A, and verbally accepted. We're in the process of sending off the official offer letter and a background check, but things seem to be moving along quickly/confidently.

I've withdrawn from any searches that haven't started yet (first round interviews, haven't submitted new applications) but I'm waiting until everything's signed off before withdrawing from the 4 other active searches I'm in. With the holidays around the corner, most searches have been closing in the next few days. However, one company has asked to reach out to my references before moving onto the next step. (This hasn't happened before - most companies have just called up references unannounced!) I know that's not a definite "we're going to hire you!" but I hate to have them spend their last full work week before Christmas going through the process to make me an offer when I've accepted elsewhere. However, everyone has told me not to withdraw until I have the offer in hand, so I'm hesitant to do so now.

tldr: Is it appropriate to withdraw prematurely?

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    "I hate to have them ... [go] through the process to make me an offer when I've accepted elsewhere." - If and when they make an offer, you can always decline as appropriate. You don't know if the "verbal offer" will actually materialise. – Brandin Dec 13 '18 at 6:12
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    And I would hate to see things fall through with company A and you be unemployed at Christmas because you tried to be a nice guy. Business is business. Look after yourself first and others second. Don't withdraw until you have an offer in writing. – Mawg Dec 13 '18 at 7:19
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If you withdraw now and the offer you're expecting doesn't come through for whatever reason, you've withdrawn from the alternatives that were most advanced. You could go back to them and say "um, could we restart that?", but you'd look bad. So you're giving up what might be your #2 choice on the promise of #1, and if #1 doesn't happen you're going to have to pick up with companies that were less promising. That's a lose for you. Further, as TheEvilMetal pointed out in a comment, that #2 might turn out to be your #1 if they make you an even more compelling offer before the other company gets that written offer together.

If you withdraw now and the offer you're expecting does come through, then they will have wasted some time. Not a lot of time if you're just talking about a reference check; in my experience that's half-hour conversations with two or three people. A company that is hiring expects to spend a lot of time on candidates who they don't ultimately hire -- because they decided against you, because you took another offer, because you and they couldn't agree on the package, because of a family issue, or other things. Spending time in pursuit of candidates who don't work out is part of the cost of doing business. You didn't accept an offer (causing them to stop looking) and then withdraw; companies, like candidates, keep all options open until everybody's signed an agreement.

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    Sure, of course. My field is pretty small in the sense that any new jobs won't be posted until the new year (as in, nobody is really starting a job search in December) and I haven't withdrawn from the most advanced searches. But I feel bad about (if all goes well with A) leaving them with empty spot just before two weeks of holiday break & having to start over with another candidate then. – tiefling-bard Dec 13 '18 at 2:46
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    I'm just saying that they factor that in -- if they haven't checked your references yet and haven't had the compensation discussion with you, they already know things can still go wrong. – Monica Cellio Dec 13 '18 at 2:49
  • Fair enough - that hasn't been my experience so far, but I've never been on the hiring side of things. – tiefling-bard Dec 13 '18 at 2:53
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    Things might be different if it's a super-small company that grows by personal relationships, but all the companies I've worked for have "invested" in more candidates than they actually end up hiring. Things can go wrong at every stage and on both sides of the desk. – Monica Cellio Dec 13 '18 at 2:57
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    @tiefling-bard Simply saying to the company "sure, go ahead and contact my references" does not leave anyone with 'an empty spot'. You can always contact them later (after you get a signed contract, etc.) and say you'll need to withdraw from the process if and when that becomes appropriate. – Brandin Dec 13 '18 at 6:14
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You run full steam with job searches until you have a signed contract.

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    That answers over 80% of the questions asked on this site (+1) – Mawg Dec 13 '18 at 7:39

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