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I have been interviewing for a company for 2 months now. I am in the final stages of the process, only my references need to be contacted now.

I was expecting a decision by this week (as they hinted). I now discover that they scheduled a call with one reference for next week. I know they are very interested and that I am not their ideal candidate. They have other candidates interviewing, though in earlier stages. It might be that my reference has a busy schedule, or that they are trying to slow things down.

I do not know when the second reference call is scheduled (they did not say this in their email). I have other offers that I need to answer to. Those offers are of academic nature and do not have a deadline, but next week is a bit late.

Can I ask them a day when I am given a final decision? Is it okay to just ask "Could you please tell me on which day I am expected to know your final decision?"

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    You can ask anything, but as always the question is what do you hope to gain from it. If they tell you "we don't know", or another half-hearted answer, what then? Sometimes rocking the boat can resolve the matter faster, but maybe not in the way you hope.
    – Aida Paul
    Oct 3, 2023 at 14:05
  • @TymoteuszPaul I just want to know when will I be given a final decision, so that I can stretch the other offers. Asking what I reported is it detrimental somehow? Is it likely so, in your opinion?
    – Lilla
    Oct 3, 2023 at 14:07
  • I don't have my magic 8 ball so I can't say. Ultimatly you have to make your own decision how much do you care about that job, and how long are the other offers willing to actually wait for you and act accordingly. Eventually everyone loses patience.
    – Aida Paul
    Oct 3, 2023 at 14:08
  • I see @TymoteuszPaul, thanks. You seem skeptical about asking them and mention about rocking the boat in ways I don't want. Could you please elaborate on this?
    – Lilla
    Oct 3, 2023 at 14:10

1 Answer 1

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I just want to know when will I be given a final decision, so that I can stretch the other offers

Bring that from comments as this is I think crux of this all.

You have some offers already, clearly ones you consider inferior to whatever company X offers, and you are dragging them along in case X doesn't happen. When we bring from your OP:

I was expecting a decision by this week (as they hinted). I now discover that they scheduled a call with one reference for next week. I know they are very interested and that I am not their ideal candidate.

Massive props here for being self aware enough to realize you are not the ideal candidate, this is level of reflection rare to see.

You are effectively doing to them what company X is likely doing to you, keeping you on the hook in case their preferred candidates (which may be relatively early in the stages) do not pan out. Not ideal match, but if the ideal doesn't pan out, it's still there and available.

So with that in mind, lets go to your question:

Can I ask them a day when I am given a final decision? Is it okay to just ask "Could you please tell me on which day I am expected to know your final decision?"

You absolutely can.

But what would you do is suddenly one of your existing backup offers asked you the same question? You would first rethink the offer entirely, and then either give them some realistic deadline (which is unlikely, as you don't know how long will company X take to make a decision), or just fob them off for vague amount of time.

In more extreme case you may just respond with "you know what, that made me rethink, I am not longer interested in working with you at all" and cut them lose.

This is the same situation you are likely to put company X when you start pressing them for time. If they fob you off with vague answer, are you prepared to press them for firm deadline?

Or what if they do give you deadline, say next Thursday, and then come with something new to delay it further? Are you ready to hold them to the deadline and walk away if they have no offer?

Until you have answer for those scenarios, there's little reason to go asking for deadlines, as you may not like the answer, as there's still possible that you will simply make them reconsider entirely and just drop you as a candidate, where otherwise with patience, who knows, you may get that job with company X.

So best I can suggest is to walk through all the possible scenarios, apply likelihood to each based on reality of the situation (that we cannot know) and only if you are happy with the most likely outcomes press for a deadline.

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  • A deadline with no consequences is not a deadline, and this is exactly it. Don't ask for a deadline if you don't plan on walking away.
    – Nelson
    Oct 6, 2023 at 1:51

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