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Suppose you're in the following situation:

  • Your dream job is at Company A, and there's a 90% chance you will receive a job offer in two weeks.

  • Meanwhile, Company B has offered you a job and require an answer within one week; they are not open to any extension of the offer period.

Should you tell Company A about the offer from Company B?

The advantage of telling is that it may accelerate Company A's internal hiring processes, and if the offer arrives fast enough you can use Company B's offer as a negotiating tool.

On the other hand, if Company A's offer doesn't arrive on time you're going to turn down Company B's offer anyway. Now Company A knows you want to work for them so much you're willing to blindly turn down competing offers in the chance of an offer from them. The risk is that Company A will then give a "lowball" offer.

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    This question is highly subjective based on your personal circumstances. Do you need another job immediately? Can you afford to turn down Company B, and then get nothing from Company A? Would you regret not taking the opportunity with Company B if that were to happen or are you really not interested in the role?
    – fubar
    Jan 28, 2020 at 2:17

2 Answers 2

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Partial disclosure is called for. You want to accelerate A's response, so you tell them you have other offers and you'd very much like a reply by date X.

If you haven't got a reply by date X, then if you need to turn down the offer from B, then do so. But you don't need to offer to A the information that you've done so, nor that you have no other offers pending.

If I were at company A, my reaction to "please hurry" would be based on how much I didn't want to lose you (and in fact I've been on the hiring side of these sort of discussions). I'd either decide we could hire you immediately, or else I'd decide that we're still waiting on other candidates, so it's up to you whether you can wait out our decision process. Either way I'd tell you directly.

But what is certain is that if you said nothing, I'd let the process proceed at its normal rate. So, on balance, I think you should say something.

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Rushing a decision may not be in your best interests, and that is across the board.

In your case, you can rush Company A, by telling them that you have another offer on the table with a deadline, which is implicitly saying that no offer from them in that timeframe will end up with you going with Company B. If you are a big enough draw to Company A, and there aren't any other major blockers on their side, then you can push them into an offer, but it might be that they can't approve as much as you'd like in that time, or that they simply can't respond in that time, so their response may be to simply reject you, if that's the case.

It's worth looking at it from the other side. Company B has already made this play. They've given you an unextendable deadline, and you're in the position where something else might be on the table. In your situation, you could turn down Company B and hold out for Company A. On the other hand, if they were more flexible, you may have received an offer from Company A which wasn't what you were expecting, and let you decide that Company B is the better option anyway.

Rushing someone to make a decision means that you get a response quicker, but it also raises the chances of a negative decision.

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