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I am currently scheduled to have 3 onsite visits with 3 jobs that are all very interesting.
This is all serendipitous. They all sort of just happened at once.

My 3rd pick onsite interview is in 2 days.

The other 2 jobs are more desirable to me, they take place the week after.

If choice #3 decides to offer - how do I stall to see what happens with the other 2?

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    I have drastically removed all non-essential text from your post to focus on the core issue. Feel free to roll back the edit if you disagree.
    – user8036
    Jan 20, 2014 at 10:26

2 Answers 2

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I've been a software contractor for years and often end up in a similar situation - interviewing for several roles and you're waiting on your preferred choice before declining another offer.

When I was younger I would have told a white lie in this situation because I would have felt awkward saying to a recruitment person that I had another preference or turning down an offer after all the work to get to that stage.

But I've learnt that it works out better if you're honest. Even if you end up taking the 3rd ranked job they will appreciate your honesty with them. Also it means should something happen (like you need another round with job preference 1 or it's postponed) you can go back and tell them honestly why it will be even longer before you make a decision. You will not the be the first or the last person who will have turned down a job at the final offer stage. It happens more than you think.

You're not doing anything wrong. You're not gaming anyone to get a better rate. Recruitment is a process where they know they're competing with other employers to get that employee as much as potential employees are competing for the job.

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    And if you're lucky they will say "how can we make this job more appealing", to let you know that the things you don't think they can offer might be considered. I've seen one place say "ok, flexible hours, between 7am and 7pm" when they'd been adamant at the interview that it was 9-6 or no job. But I've also had someone get offended when I said that having to wear a suit was a major barrier (salary job, not contract).
    – Móż
    Jan 19, 2014 at 9:34
  • So you guys are thinking that regardless, they should just be told (if true) "I am interested, I like it, but I do intend to follow these through, and would just like to to know what I'm getting in to and the best choice for my family." And just be straight? I really don't feel good about duplicity. Also, I should add - Job 3 interviewed me a month ago, lost interest due to $$$ misalignment, and I moved on. So I have 2 new prospects and Job 3 returned out of nowhere. If pressed, I will turn it down if job 1 and 2 haven't had a chance. Does that month-long furlough make a difference?
    – user13679
    Jan 19, 2014 at 18:24
  • I wouldn't say it makes a difference, but what it should do is back up what I was saying about how everyone is in the game for themselves. They backed out and had no qualms about coming back to you. You shouldn't feel bad or guilty about telling them you have other interviews and you're waiting to find the outcome before deciding. That's common sense. As long as you aren't an asshole and are honest then you're doing it right.
    – sksamuel
    Jan 19, 2014 at 22:28
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There is nothing unusual about this.

The general 'policy' in these situations is to be open about it. There is no duplicity.

Tell each interviewer you have other interviews scheduled and when they can expect an answer from you (if neccessary). You could safely add: "Will that work for you?", because a week delay isn't much.

You do not have to disclose what the other interviews are about or with who.

The situation with company 3 you described in your comments, is not very relevant. This is a new negotation with them.

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