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I am applying for a new job. I am leaving my current employer after just 1 year because of a really bad working atmosphere - I feel I just don't fit there (details don't matter here).

Three weeks ago I received a verbal offer from one company (company A). I still applied for another company (company B) and made it to the final round in the hiring process there. I told them I already have an offer from another company.

As a preparation for the interview at company B I was encouraged to ask many questions. So I did ask many questions. Now I just got a phone call from HR telling me I left a good impression and that I made it to the final round, but also that they were a bit sceptical about whether I really wanted to work there since apparently some of my questions came across as a bit too critical. I explained that I needed to find out whether this was the right place to work for me given my previous bad experience with my current employer (since they explicitly asked me to fire questions at them). I apologized if that came out wrong and told them that I indeed was still motivated to work there. I think they accepted that explanation since I made it to the final round. However I still wonder if that will leave a bad taste somehow.

The thing is: my gut feeling is leaning towards the standing offer from company A. The pay would not be as good as with company B but the turnover is lower and I think the working atmosphere is a bit more relaxed/less stressful there.

I wrote company A, explaining I was still interviewing with another company and that I need more time. They told me it was ok and that I should take my time, but I also don't want to stall company A for too long as that might also be interpreted as lack of interest.

After the terrible experience at my current employer I now need an employer that trusts me 100% and I don't want to start a new job with an company that I am afraid will doubt my motivation.

Now I wonder:

Shall I abort the interview process at company B or still go just to see if I get an offer and check if my worries are justified?

If I get an offer (or stop applying) at company B: How can I explain it politely without leaving a mark that could be to my disadvantage for the future?

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  • How long has it been since you recieved the offer from A?
    – Questor
    Apr 16 at 17:51
  • 3 weeks. I updated the question accordingly
    – stu
    Apr 16 at 17:54
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    Ask for the actual contract (and if the contract mentions the employee manual), ask to see the employee manual. Do not abort anything. Do not overshare. Keep on interviewing. Nothing is final until you have a written contract and an actual start date. Yes, some employers get upset when you reject an offer at the last possible moment, but that's not your problem. Apr 16 at 18:04
  • @stu currently says "the weeks ago..".
    – Questor
    Apr 16 at 18:07
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    Verbal Offer is NOT an offer. Get an offer on paper... I have no idea why you're talking with Company A as if they gave you an official offer. They haven't. Get it first. As it stands, you HAVE NO OFFER FROM ANYONE...
    – Nelson
    Apr 17 at 2:55

2 Answers 2

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First a general answer to this question:

If I get an offer (or stop applying) at company B: How can I explain it politely without leaving a mark that could be to my disadvantage for the future?

Whenever you are declining an offer, or ending the application process you don't need to provide a ton of information. If it can be done by pressing a button on the webpage, that is all it takes. If they ask for a reason, or you are sending an email, a simple "I have decided to move in another direction."; is all that is needed. The goal of this isn't to get an improved offer, it is to tell the company to pick somebody else. If you are early in the process, letting them know quickly is the best for everybody.

Now for your specific situation:

I received a verbal offer from one company (company A)

A verbal offer isn't an official offer. There are too many unknown details to be able to drop your job search. You may have misheard, or they may have misspoke. You need a written offer to be able to understand the offer.

Shall I abort the interview process at company B or still go just to see if I get an offer and check if my worries are justified?

If you know that you will never take the job offer from B no matter how much they offer, then nobody would be surprised if you stop the application process.

If you might take an offer from B, then you could continue the process with B.

Of course any uncertainty should be an indication that you should apply to more places.

Regarding company A:

If you want to complete the process, see if they will give you a written offer. But realize that after a few weeks there might not be a path to employment with them. They could have selected another candidate that was willing to start now.

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    (+1) " You need a written offer to be able to understand the offer." Apr 18 at 15:42
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I would keep interviewing at company B.

Three weeks ago I received a verbal offer from one company (company A)

Lets correct your perception here... 3 weeks ago you "had" a verbal offer from A. But you apparently didn't say "Can I get a written offer" or anything to tell A that you were interested in working for them.

Do you still have an offer from A? It's been 3 weeks!

Pretend A was your date 3 weeks ago. Would your date even remember your name if you didn't talk to them for 3 weeks?

That is right, they won't remember your name.

Verbal offers need a response within 1-2 days. Written offers include an expiration date (usually 1-2 weeks after receiving the written offer, some places allow for a longer response time, but those are the exception).

TLDR: Job offers have an expiration date. Respond in a timely manner.

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  • I forgot to say I wrote company A after receiving the verbal offer, telling them I was still interested. I asked for more time explaining I was still interviewing with another company. They told me it was ok and that I should take my time to make my decision. So I am pretty sure the offer is still valid, also because they are constantly looking for people. I updated the question accordingly.
    – stu
    Apr 16 at 18:31

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