7

The hiring manager says:

We know you are actively interviewing, so we will not make an offer to you until you call us and tell us that our company is your first choice.

This is the first time I heard something like that.

Is this common?

What are the implications?

  • 1
    It is apparently more common than thought, as this happened to me the other day too. Like the answerer says, its a bit crazy, and it did lead to me backing slowly away from them in the end. – Rhys Oct 3 '13 at 9:24
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    My personal response to that would be: My first choice is based on the offer presented to me. My status of actively interviewing changes immediately upon accepting an attractive offer from a great company. Thank you for making this decision easy for me. – Joel Etherton Oct 3 '13 at 17:46
  • Ha, Joel, that last line is a killer. – Debra Oct 13 '13 at 17:54
7

That is not common, and a bit crazy.

  • That does not mean they will offer the job to you, even if it is your first choice, because you need to be their first choice.
  • And, because of the first point, you can't turn down other offers and tell them they are your first choice, in the hopes that they will actually give you an offer. You may need to say they are your first choice, but you still need to keep the rest of the job search open. (The manager didn't say you had to turn down other options, but it kind of sounded like that was implied.)
  • You reduce your negotiating power, because without other options, you can't as easily walk away. In order to negotiate well, you always need to be able to walk away if the offer is poor.
  • There is the possibility of guilt after taking the job, if it turns out you don't like it as well as they think you should.
  • 10
    +1 And in my experience companies that are "a bit crazy" while you're interviewing can be "a bit crazy" after you accept a job with them. – dcaswell Oct 2 '13 at 23:27
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    Agreed. Best approach, I think, is just to tell them that they are your first choice, even if they are not. Don't close any other doors, and don't feel that you have to accept their offer when they make it, if it's not good enough. – Carson63000 Oct 3 '13 at 1:56
  • @Carson63000 I agree, if for no other reason than because I would be curious about their angle and why they would say something like this. Behind every seemingly crazy idea is a person who is justified and reasoned in their own mind. I probably wouldn't accept on principal but I would be curious to know. – maple_shaft Oct 3 '13 at 11:14
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    A statement like that would certainly lead to me crossing the company off my list. That's like the car dealers that won't give you the price until you give them a deposit. I don't work for people who are unethical and I would view this as being an unethical attempt to prevent you from looking for other offers until they decide on you. – HLGEM Oct 3 '13 at 14:52
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    @maple_shaft: I suspect the justification could be as simple as the employer thinking "this guy needs us more than we need him". Ironically, that is more likely to be true for a poor candidate than a good one, so this attitude will probably lead to worse hires. – Carson63000 Oct 3 '13 at 23:59
2

No, it is not common. But the reason for it is that it costs the company money to put together an offer, and they have to also inform other candidates that they have chosen someone else.

The purpose is primarily to cut their risk. I'm not sure I'd be too thrilled with a company that played that particular game, though, unless they had at least outlined the potential offer to me ahead of time, so I could compare it with others and decide if they really -were- my first choice.

  • I wouldn't expect putting together an offer to cost much compared to what they've already spent finding and interviewing you. As for informing other candidates, an e-mail or a phone call is cheap. Do you have concrete evidence that that's the actual reason? – Keith Thompson Oct 13 '13 at 22:39
  • I didn't mean to suggest that informing other candidates is a $$ issue; rather, they have to backtrack & start over with a different person, possibly even re-do interviews, if they make an offer to someone who doesn't accept it. It's all about the risk involved. As for the costs of putting together an offer, there's more than money in the "expense". Imagine yourself the manager who pushes through an offer to a candidate who declines. I'll try to add some cites about what is involved in pulling together an offer, though. – Debra Oct 14 '13 at 0:40
  • Hmm. People decline offers all the time. I've never encountered this kind of thing myself. It does seem to be uncommon -- and for good reason. – Keith Thompson Oct 14 '13 at 21:05

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