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I got a job offer and verbally accepted it. However, since I still haven't gotten the contract, just the offer letter, which just includes very basic information and isn't even legally binding in my country - and even the letter was hugely delayed -, I continued interviewing in the meantime. The company (let's call it A) now wants to sign the contract on my first day, which unfortunately isn't unheard of in my country - although many companies want to sign the contract immediately after your accepting the offer of course.

So now I was told I got to the last, fifth or sixth, round of interviews at another company - B. The position is much better. I signaled them twice over the last weeks that I was at the final stages at another company and whereas I was massively interested in them, it would be great if we could speed the process up a bit. It's going very slowly, but it's a huge company, so it's probably quite common.

So now, I was told I was in the last round at B, but it's not known where and when this stage will happen.

At the same time I'm scheduled to start at A very soon.

What is the best course of action here given that B would be my clear preference but I don't want to stay without a job any longer since 1) I want to earn money again and 2) unemployment is driving me nuts (i.e. if B doesn't work out, I would definitely go for A). I can't delay starting at A.

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  • Oh, the art and extreme sport of handling multiple offers
    – DarkCygnus
    Feb 25, 2020 at 17:39
  • I'm sorry, but we can not make your life choices for you.
    – Philipp
    Feb 25, 2020 at 17:41
  • @Philipp. That's quite clear. I'm more interested in any ideas I haven't thought off, e.g. asking some specific questions or whatever else which could help me to take the decision. Sometimes when we think about a situation a lot we are so caught up in our way of thinking that we miss other valid aspects. Feb 25, 2020 at 17:42
  • Is taking a job at A and resigning after a couple weeks a possible option in your area? Where I live, work contracts always have a "trial period" where both sides can terminate the contract immediately without any reason or penalty. This is usually seen as a benefit of the employer, but it can be used just as well by the employee.
    – Philipp
    Feb 25, 2020 at 17:47
  • @Philipp, it's an option and it's 100% legal, but I would hate to do that to the company. I would provoke useless onboarding costs and they would need to search for someone for my position again. Feb 25, 2020 at 17:51

3 Answers 3

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The default behavior here (and I cannot find good reference) is that:

You don't have a job until you signed contract or have a contract to sign

If you have a contract that you can sign, then it is a real job. Anything else will wildly depend on:

  • how much savings you have (more savings => you can treat "almost offer" as a job offer)
  • how much you trust the company
  • how much you are willing to risk for the job (get a payday loan to get a job at "google"?)

We cannot make decision for you, meaning "randos on the interweb cannot assume or even estimate risks" that you are facing or willing to take.

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  • Interpreted according to your quote I currently have 0 job offers, since I still don't have one from A either. Feb 25, 2020 at 18:05
  • @hello_it's_me i meant: contract where you can sign or signed already Feb 25, 2020 at 18:25
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    Don't stop your search until you have a written offer. Verbal offers are worth less than the paper they're printed on. If B offers you something before A does, you should consider it. Anything can happen. Last year I was unemployed and interviewed three times at a company that me they were going to make me an offer. We agreed on a start date and salary. When I asked for benefits, they vanished. I continued submitting and sent three follow-up emails and LinkedIn messages that went unanswered. A month later I wound up accepting a position with a different company.
    – Tim
    Feb 25, 2020 at 19:59
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So now, I was told I was in the last round at B, but it's not known where and when this stage will happen.

At the same time I'm scheduled to start at A very soon.

What is the best course of action here given that B would be my clear preference but I need money and can't stay without a job any longer (i.e. if B doesn't work out, I would definitely go for A). I can't delay starting at A.

Given that:

  • you have already accepted an offer from A
  • you don't know when or if you will ever get an offer from B
  • you can't stay without a job any longer

then the decision is clear.

Go to work at A. Thank B for their time and tell them that you have accepted another job.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

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    Agreed (almost). When he receives a written offer from A then take that job. As it is right now there is a verbal offer.
    – JazzmanJim
    Feb 25, 2020 at 18:41
  • It has happened to me several times that someone promised me a job and even welcomed me on board... And then the job never materialized. They couldn't have accepted the job if they hadn't received a contract.
    – BigMadAndy
    Feb 25, 2020 at 19:47
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One option you should consider is to take the job at A, but keep up the application at B. Should B makes you a better offer, just resign from the job at A.

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    I've seen this happen a few times - we offer someone a job but during their notice period they tell us they've had a better offer. It's annoying and might stop us employing them later, but as the company can fire you with no notice during your probationary period, it's reasonable to be able to do the same to them. Feb 26, 2020 at 15:28

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