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A friend, Alice, applied to a few jobs. Some didn't pan out, then the best fitting one offered a job. Alice accepted that job verbally, received a background check clearance form and signed it, and now they're waiting the ~7 days necessary for the background check to complete and an official job offer to be made and accepted.

During this time Alice is wary of taking any action based on the job offer. For example, Alice's current position asks for 2-4 weeks notice and the new employer encouraged her to give notice to her current job, assuring that the background check is just busy work and they have no doubt Alice will pass. It is likely Alice will pass, no expected issues with her background or eligibility for the job. Alice is going to wait and only give notice once a formal job offer is signed by both parties.

The question is about an interview Alice has scheduled for another job. This is a decent fitting job, though not as good as what she got offered and (unofficially/pre-background check) accepted. On the one hand, it's risky and rude to continue interviewing for other positions after having accepted a job. On the other hand, Alice feels she hasn't 100% gotten a new job, so it feels risky to withdraw from other opportunities. This alternate job is a 2nd/3rd round interview so she is far into the process, but she expects she'd have a full job offer before she has to make a decision at this alternate job (and if forced to decide, she'd say no to anyone other than the tentatively-accepted job of course).

What is safest/most professional in this case? Proceeding with the final interview round at the alternate job, or withdrawing from it ASAP? There's probably 3-5 days between interview at alt job & completion of background check at tentative new job. It's important to note that the two potential employers are separate companies but closely related work, and it wouldn't be surprising if management from both places interacts socially.

  • Just a small note; it is not risky, or rude, to continue your job search when neither of you have signed a contract yet. That is to be expected, and you can bet the company keeps interviewing other candidates meanwhile as well. In fact, there are very few situations in which this assumption applies. – Yury Feb 26 at 16:39
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The only time to withdraw is when the first offer becomes official (i.e. the company has extended a written offer and Alice has signed it ). Anything can happen with the background check that could put the accepted position in jeopardy.

Until there is any one official written and signed offer, Alice should proceed as if she does not have a new job. She should continue going to interviews and applying to companies.

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On the one hand, it's risky and rude to continue interviewing for other positions after having accepted a job.

Verbal offers and acceptances are worth the paper they are printed on

Your friend does not have a job until they have officially accepted the job by signing the employment contract.

Alice's current position asks for 2-4 week notice and the new employer encouraged her to give notice to her current job

If the new job needs her that bad, and they don't care about the background check, why are they doing it? Just waive the background check and give an official offer. Alice is doing the right thing by holding firm.

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Alice should absolutely wait for the background check to be complete and satisfactory, and for the contract to be signed and in her hands, before resigning from her current position. To do anything before that signed contract is in your hands is risky.

As for interviewing for the second position - why is that rude? go right ahead and interview for it. Alice has no cast-iron guarantee about the first job yet, so it's vital she keep her options open should something weird crop up in the check or if they just turn around and say "actually due to (x) we can't offer you the job anymore. I'd personally be happy to interview for a job right up until the day before I started somewhere (and depending on the job, even after I started!).

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Your friend doesn't have any new job yet. She should not give notice until she's accepted and signed for one of the other jobs.

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