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I would like to change careers and get into laboratory work.

I applied for and interviewed for an entry level laboratory technician position. The first part of the interview was a phone screen and on another day, the 2nd part of the interview process was to get a tour of the facility and meet with the hiring manager. I did both successfully.

Two days later, the phone screener sent me an email with the subject line reading "Job Offer from XYZ Company". As I read the body of the email she wrote that I am hired but the job title was different than what she initially told me and wrote was the job title. Also, the job said Contingent.

At no point during either interview was I told it was a temporary position.

I asked the screener why the discrepancy and she wrote in her email that she discussed this with me. She did not.

My problem is that I was so confident in the company and liked the interview process, that I cancelled two other interviews.

My question is: Should I challenge the discrepancy as it feels like a bait and switch?

Or should I just suck it up for now to get my foot in the door of a career change?

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    "I was so confident in the company and liked the interview process, that I cancelled two other interviews." Today, you have learnt an important lesson. Commented Mar 2 at 18:22
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    Contingent normally means "we reserve the right to cancel the offer if a background check says you lied on your resume" not "this is a temporary position", Commented Mar 2 at 18:28
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    Are the salary and benefits mentioned in the recruiter's latest email the same as what you previously agreed to ? If yes, then everything looks fine. The job title probably does not mean much. Commented Mar 3 at 3:56
  • Yes, challenge it. What have you got to lose? Just don't call them liars. Say that there was a miscommunication and that there is no way you would accept a temporary position. But contingent, that's normal. Also, probation periods are normal too. I hope that's not what you mean by temporary. Commented Mar 9 at 9:33

4 Answers 4

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There's nothing here to challenge. They didn't offer you what you wanted, and what they did offer they reserved the right to change their minds on. All you can do, realistically, is accept that and decide whether you want the consolation-prize offer if it solidifies, or if you shrug and look for a better offer elsewhere.

Don't stop interviewing until you have accepted a signed agreement -- preferably contract -- with salary and start date. Some would say until your first actual work day.

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Also, the job said Contingent.

Almost all job offers are contingent. At least at first.

They may have to:

  • do a background check.
  • do a drug test.
  • confirm your job history.
  • win a contract
  • get customer approval.

If you fail any of these, the start date may be delayed or canceled.

I have seen checks that were supposed two take 2 weeks instead take 3 months.

As you work your way through the process the number of contingencies get removed.

That unknown is why you keep applying, and interviewing, even after a company tells you that you have the job.

If you don't like the offer, either negotiate or reject it. In either case don't stop looking.

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  • This answer is highly location depend, although you may not notice that until you see another. I have read enough answers to know that you are absolutely right for parts of the world. But such a contract would be weird and borderline illegal where I live. You either sign a contract for employment or you don't. You don't get to sign a contract of maybe employment based on one-sided decisions/actions after signing. Anyone trying this would be laughed out of the room. If the employer needs to verify or take action first, they better do their homework and then offer a contract.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Mar 4 at 7:15
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I'm writing this answer to convey an important piece of information that isn't given anywhere else.

As the other answers say, there is nothing to challenge. Accept or reject the offer you are given. Be aware that a company that plays bait and switch will try to cheat you in other ways too.

Here's the important information:

Contact the companies where you canceled the interviews.

Companies rarely fill a position immediately. And while they don't like you canceling and then uncanceling interviews, telling them that you thought you had a job offer which turned out to be bogus is likely to be an acceptable reason.

They may have found somebody else, or you may get lucky. It's always worth trying.

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Odds are the company saw some potential in you during the interview, and decided to offer you a different position; but, your general lack of understanding makes them worry about your suitability even though they see you have potential.

Switching careers is never easy, but it is easy to think you're qualified for so much more responsibility and position, because you had a successful run in a mostly unrelated area of employment.

Now, I don't know you, I don't know the company, and I don't know who's opinion is closer to some sort of objective reality. Maybe you're overestimating your skills in this new field, maybe they're underestimating your skills (or oblivious to some of the less considered ones) in this new field. Maybe it was just a bad interview and you failed to show your skills and they think one thing, when you could provide another; but, consider that until you have experience in a new field, you will have to get that first job.

Don't discount that "contingent" job opportunity, unless you are certain it is a low-ball offer, as few people are willing to offer a permanent position for a person with no track record.

--- Now the practical side of things ---

I'm offering a job to someone, who immediately challenges me. That could put me on the defensive. If I have to accept that I was wrong in my assessment and that this new person with no experience in a new field is right, just to hire this person.... I'll have to consider if I can manage them.

Even if you think you're justified in asking for more, you need to prove it gently, with the upmost respect, and realize that even by presenting the change, the most likely outcome is that they will choose to continue interviewing with a person who's less likely to immediately clash with management.

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  • Not sure where you are getting "you general lack of understanding makes them worry about your suitability even though they see you have potential." You don't know me. Commented Mar 4 at 18:08
  • @DiligentWorker25 I don't know you, you don't know them, and in some rare cases, we don't know ourselves. No slight was intended, please don't take the message defensively. What I am saying is that there's a world of difference having experience (the skill that comes with practice) and konwledge, and knowledge without experience is the most dangerous kind (because it is very easy to overestimate, or build up knowledge of the wrong elements, or to not realize what gaps are needed to do a job effectively). In any case, they offered you an entry position, which is what you seek, right?
    – Edwin Buck
    Commented Mar 6 at 13:14

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