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I went to the final round of interview of two companies X and Y. I like company Y much more than X. Company X gave me an offer and I accepted. I have started the hiring process with them. I informed Y about the offer. Then Y rejected me, but told me that I was their 2nd choice when I asked them for feedback. Y asked me if I would be open to joining them if things don't work out with the 1st choice.

I'd like to take up company Y's "offer", but I don't want to sound desperate. But, I am not sure if I should even consider Y's "offer" in the first place, especially since I am their backup. Another question is what is the impact of leaving company X before or shortly after my start date? Is it okay to leave so soon like this?

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    Company Y hasn't made you an offer. If you need a job, the only one you have in hand is the one at Company X. – joeqwerty Sep 24 '20 at 0:26
  • @JoeStrazzere - X does not have a probationary period. – MasterJoe Sep 24 '20 at 18:15
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I am not sure if I should even consider Y's "offer" in the first place, especially since I am their backup.

If you want to work for Company Y, you should not be offended being their backup. Many offers are made after someone else rejects an offer. Usually the company doesn't tell you and you never know. Either way, once you join the company it won't matter a bit.

Another question is what is the impact of leaving company X before or shortly after my start date? Is it okay to leave so soon like this?

That depends on your personal ethics and how much you value your professional reputation.

Quitting shortly after you join is considered by many to be very bad, and could ruin a reputation. You get to decide if you care or not.

You don't have a real offer from Company Y, but you do have a real offer from Company X. If it were me, I'd decide if I want to work for X or not. If I did, I'd accept their offer and not look back. If I didn't, I'd decline their offer, let Y know I was still interested, and keep looking elsewhere in case Y never came through.

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  • The problem is that I have accepted job offer from X and I am going through the initial hiring/onboarding steps before the start date. – MasterJoe Sep 24 '20 at 3:18
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    just one thing: If company Y comes back to you in e.g 1-2 months, then you can evaluate: Do I like the work for X? Should I consider changing jobs again? In Germany there usually is a 6 month trial period for exact that reason: For the company to find out if they want to keep you and for you to find out if you want to stay... It is totally acceptable to quit within this time if you find out, that this is not the job you want... – Torsten Link Sep 24 '20 at 14:50
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Lets pull apart your first paragraph.

I went to the final round of interview of two companies X and Y. I like company Y much more than X. Company X gave me an offer and I accepted. I have started the hiring process with them.

I assume that the offer from X is a written offer without contingencies, and not an verbal offer, or an offer that requires a successful background check which could take weeks.

I informed Y about the offer. Then Y rejected me,

Telling Y about the offer from X before signing the offer from X can be used to spur Y to make your an offer. Telling them after the fact either tells then you are off the market, or even though you signed with X you are willing to break your promise and go with them. Unless your telling them about X didn't mentioned that you signed the offer from X.

but told me that I was their 2nd choice when I asked them for feedback.

This tells me that either before you told them about the offer from X, or after you told them they decided that you weren't number 1. You could have been 2nd, 3rd, 4th. They told you 2nd so that if they need to make an offer to you after other candidates reject them, they can do so.

Y asked me if I would be open to joining them if things don't work out with the 1st choice.

They want to get an idea on how likely you are to jump to them if they contact you.

Now to the 2nd paragraph.

I'd like to take up company Y's "offer", but I don't want to sound desperate. But, I am not sure if I should even consider Y's "offer" in the first place, especially since I am their backup.

Tell them that you are open to joining them. They may never call. They may make an offer that is acceptable. They may not call for weeks or months. Telling them you are open to joining them if X doesn't workout is not committing you or them to anything.

When I accept a job offer, I don't call everyplace I submitted an application and pull that application. I don't waste the companies time, and I don't give them false hopes. But I have no problem keeping a few irons in the fire just in case the job falls through.

Neither side in your question have committed anything going forward. You might never call them, they might never call you.

Another question is what is the impact of leaving company X before or shortly after my start date? Is it okay to leave so soon like this?

We have many questions about this. X will be mad. They may have invested time and money. They may have lost a good candidate they told was number 2, who had an offer from another company and called to say they weren't open to joining them if the other company didn't work out...

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  • Yes, I only told Y that I got an offer. I did not tell them that I signed the offer and I am moving ahead with the pre-hiring process & onboarding. – MasterJoe Sep 24 '20 at 18:19
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It's a normal situation. A company with an open position will (hopefully) find one or more candidates who are good enough to fill the position, and there will be one who is the best in their estimation, one is second best and so on. And the first two may be actually exactly equal, but they can only make one offer for one free position. So what they did was quite reasonable and quite polite; nothing to be offended about.

I'd reply that I liked their company (if that is the truth), and I would consider their offer if they send it. Doesn't cost you anything, doesn't create any obligation, and might get you a job if the other company doesn't work out, and it definitely doesn't make you sound desperate. "Being their backup" is a lot better than "not being their backup".

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Why not be honest? Tell them that you accepted company X's offer because they came first and you needed to be employed. However, you really like company Y and wish to be employed there. Tell them that you are fully opened to accepting a position if offered, even if you are considered second choice.

Overall it doesn't sound too complicated of a situation. Make yourself available and let them know it. Don't get too offended but don't ever disclose that with company X that you are thinking of leaving them or that you are working on a deal with company Y.

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