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Currently a company said that they have offering for me and would like to do a virtual meeting tomorrow to discuss about the contract and sign it. However, I also have other company that I prefer and they will confirm whether I'm accepted or not by at least next week.

Is it ethical for me to say that I want to postpone the contract signing due to that reason?

Or, should I just make up some other reason? and what could that reason possibly be?

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  • Just on this aspect — "a company said that they have offering for me and would like to do a virtual meeting tomorrow to discuss about the contract and sign it." — maybe I'm reading that wrong, but when I parse your sentence I get the impression that they haven't given you the offer details yet. Is that right? If so (and your only seeing the details in person tomorrow) I think you should definitely push back on signing to have time to think it through and actually read it, even if you never had another offer on the table. Oct 1 '21 at 11:08
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    Once you have the offer, it's certainly acceptable to take a few days before committing. Since you don't even have any offer yet, I don't see any reason to worry.
    – Abigail
    Oct 1 '21 at 11:19
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    Is it ethical for me to say that I want to postpone the contract signing due to that reason? - Why wouldn't it be ethical? You have no moral, legal, or ethical obligation at this point.
    – joeqwerty
    Oct 1 '21 at 17:48
  • @joeqwerty just trying to make sure because I'm really new to this. I feel like because they've given me the offer and invested time on me, rejecting for other offer that I prefer isn't really polite. But anyway, I got the answer that I wanted. Thanks everyone!
    – el-cheapo
    Oct 1 '21 at 22:32
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It is absolutely ethical for you to try to get the best deal. That’s not what you need to worry about. That company knows and expects that you need to look after yourself first.

What you need to worry about: How do you achieve your goal of getting the best possible offer, and if that fails, not losing the second best offer?

You go to company B first and tell them that you have an offer in the table from another company, that you prefer company B, but that you need a decision soon because you don’t want to lose out if they decide against you. Then you see how they react. They might say “ok, we move the interview to tomorrow and the day after that we will make you a job offer, or we won’t”. Or they say “we will make a decision in about six weeks, and there is no way to speed this up”. No answer means they will take a long time.

With that information you go back to A. If they refuse to wait three days, that’s a big red flag. But if you asked them to wait six weeks, they’d likely ask you to decide now (or in a few days). So you go to A and tell them that you expect another offer, and in which time frame, and see their reaction.

Some highly irrational people will be insulted that you dared looking elsewhere and retract their offer. In that case, you had a narrow escape. Starting with a company like that would have been a mistake. What will most likely happen is that the company will tell you when they need your decision. It depends on their situation obviously. When do they need you? Did they have another suitable candidate?

It’s one of the more stressful things in life. My last interview time, there were four companies, one didn’t like me (enough), one I didn’t like at all, one was too slow so I’m working for the fourth one.

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Or, should I just make up some other reason?

You don't have to give any reason, just say you have other commitments and cannot give an answer for a week. It's none of their business why you want to delay signing. You're not yet an employee.

There is no ethical dilemna here.

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Being completely honest is unlikely to impress the company you are interviewing at, as no one likes being told to their face that they are not the preferred option.

An approach could be having the meeting and never mentioning the contract - hoping it doesn't come up.

If it does come up - as seems likely - simply state that you are interested, but need to discuss it with others. This is a normal request they should accept.

If they (a bit inappropriately) interrogate you about whom 'others' might be, claim you need to sound out a significant other, family, friends, a mentor or the like. That also seems reasonable and should end the matter.

If they press on, it could be a red flag and might call for a re-evaluation of the whole matter.

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    You don’t say the other company is better. You say that you are expecting another good offer soon. And then obviously you will compare offers. And there are more factors than “the quality of the company”. My criterion is: Will they be there in four years time?
    – gnasher729
    Oct 1 '21 at 6:22
  • I disagree that you need to deflect — if you're waiting on another offer to come in, you don't know who is your preferred option yet. Maybe this company would be your first choice all else being equal but you need to compare what's in front of you Oct 1 '21 at 11:05

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