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I've been interviewing at two companies. One was moving much faster, so I made the decision to tell the other that I had a final interview coming up and we would need to proceed quickly (which was true).

This may have been a mistake, but it's done now. It wasn't done in a game playing fashion - I honestly thought I might have to accept an offer before I've progressed very far with the other company. Unfortunately, the fast-moving company chose not to offer me a role after the final interview. This leaves me in an awkward position.

I'm reluctant to share I was rejected, as it may influence their judgement of me. I'm pretty sure I told them it was a similar role, so knowing I was rejected somewhere else may hurt my chances.

Yet at the same time, I like to live my life honestly, and I feel bad that they are accelerating their processes for me. If the truth comes out in the future (prior to any offer), it may jeopardise the relationship. They are aware my other final interview has happened, so I cannot avoid either lying or telling the truth rather soon. Meanwhile, their final interviews will not be until next week.

How might I handle this situation?

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How might I handle this situation?

You could choose to remain silent, hope that this company makes their decision soon, and hope that they make you an offer.

Your request that they proceed quickly indicated the truth at the time.

They are aware my other final interview has happened, so I cannot avoid either lying or telling the truth rather soon.

If asked about the other company, answer truthfully. Otherwise, there's no need to volunteer more information.

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    This. I would expect that this exact situation is common to the point of being routine. "I have a final interview coming up" means exactly that. It would be different if OP claimed to have recieved a firm offer from another company. – darkside Oct 10 '19 at 11:33
  • This is a good answer. Furthermore, that they did not make an offer as of this moment, does not imply that they will not make an offer - so don't say they have turned you down because they have not. – emory Oct 10 '19 at 12:39
  • @emory Sorry, I was unclear with my wording. They declined my application at the final stage. I've updated the question to reflect this. – Sean Oct 10 '19 at 13:11
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    Stay silent, if they ask say something like: The other company is out of the equation. – Benjamin Oct 10 '19 at 14:57
  • @Sean If they called you up later today and said they changed their mind, would you hold them to their earlier declination? If not, then they have not made you an offer yet, but they might (even if p<0.01). – emory Oct 10 '19 at 18:28
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Don't tell them

They don't need to know it, if you do it, not only they can judge you, you will lose all your power of negocation as they know that they are the only ones still in the race.

You can for example tell them that you are also waiting their offer. No need to invent a fake offer or whatever.

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I've been in this situation many times before. It's inevitable that you are going to be pounding down the final stretch with more than one company at a time. When that happens, if you are strongly considering both jobs, it is courteous to let both companies know that they are in immediate competition for your services. That's why they ask.

Personally, if I favor one job over the other, I will tell the company that I like the most of my time constraint. There is always room for misinterpretation, but I believe there is an implicit contract which says if you tell a company "you need to hurry with your offer because I will be asked to make a decision soon" that means "I like what I am seeing in your company and as long as your offer is decent I will accept it." If you aren't all that thrilled with a company, you certainly don't want them hurrying with their offer. Maybe that's just me, though, because I hate having to refuse an offer.

You don't owe any company information other than "I am available" or "I'm off the market" and they probably won't press you about your post-dated interview. If they do, you can simply tell them that the other company has not yet made you an offer and leave it at that. They should not ask you more than that, it would be a breach of professional boundaries, but if they do, you can simply tell them that you would prefer not to speculate.

It also might be that they will ask you "if you had offers from both companies, which one would you choose?" This is something I have been asked more than once, and it is a sign that you are one of their top candidates. They are trying to get a feel for whether you want to work for them. If I have decided that I'm not thrilled with the company, I'll say "It would depend entirely on the offer." Or I'll just come right out and tell them why it wouldn't be a good fit. Again, professional courtesy. If you don't want to work for them, let them make their first offer to someone who wants the job.

If they ask you this question, you can tell them quite honestly "If you make me a good offer, I'll accept right now." That's all they want to know.

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