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Situation:

I had applied to two positions through my contacts. One which is an unlikely but awesome job in my city. Another which is less awesome (but still good) in a foreign country with messy immigration for my citizenship. I was given provisional details about the offer by the foreign firm a month ago and given that I wanted to start right away, I told them that I am interested in the job and I would like to hear their final offer along with details about relocation etc. Because of the non-standard nature of the position, I corresponded a lot with them and they tried really hard to navigate the immigration woes for me. But it still took them a long long time to get back to me even with my final offer. After a month, they gave me a final offer and a "fast pass" to visa. However, it might still take months before I get started. In this entire time, I only said "I am still interested". Yesterday, I was offered a provisional offer by the local firm. This is of course my first priority.

I want to make sure I sign the documents with the local firm before I reject the foreign firm but I feel bad since they tried so hard to fix my immigration issues.

Question:

How do I tell the foreign firm that I've found another job which is better and I won't have to bother with tricky immigration issues? Should I tell them that I have another option and I am considering it? Or should I simply tell them I need time to make my final decision?

  • What are the timescales on the provisional offer from the local firm? – Mike Apr 7 '14 at 15:12
  • @Mike, I'd expect it to be pretty quick. – confused Apr 7 '14 at 15:16
  • What is the issue with the starting date? Is it financial? Is it that you want to be working every day? Depending on the reason, you may be able to resolve it while waiting for the visa issues to come through, and that would impact how you bring it up with the company before rejecting the offer. – jmac Apr 8 '14 at 0:46
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As with most things in the professional world, honestly and politely. It seems you feel bad for the other firm for all the work they've put in trying to get you. My advise to you is stay detached in these situations; don't feel guilty about having to turn down the job no matter what they've done for you. You have to do what is right for you, just as the company will do what is right for it.

You don't have to tell them you have another offer that is better if you don't want to. You can simply tell them that you no longer wish to pursue their offer. You can of course tell them you need more time to consider and put them off a little to make sure you definitely get the local job, and if that falls through go with the foreign one. But once you have the local job secured, just be straight up with the foreign company. Thank them for the offer but tell them after all considerations you've decided not to take their offer. They'll probably ask why and it's at that point you can either say "I'd prefer not to answer that." or "I've taken a different job more local to me.".

Whichever you choose, remember not answering them is more preferable to lying to them. Just stay honest with them and you should be fine.

  • 4
    If you think a company went the extra mile in arranging your offer, it wouldn't be out of line to say something like "I'm sorry we couldn't come to an arrangement, but I do want to thank you for all of your effort." – Blrfl Apr 8 '14 at 12:10
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How do I tell the foreign firm that I've found another job which is better and I won't have to bother with tricky immigration issues? Should I tell them that I have another option and I am considering it? Or should I simply tell them I need time to make my final decision?

You're backing yourself into a corner in your desperation to explain - as you haven't signed, you merely need to explain that after some thought you no longer feel that the job would be the right thing to do.

Obviously it's not ideal and there's always some chance of ill feeling, but short of simply making things up you really can't avoid that.

If you're trying to simply hold off until you check out your other job, then you either stay quiet and hope they don't expire the offer or suck it up and accept that you can't always have the best of both worlds.

Essentially, you need to sit down and decide which path you're going to place your bets on.

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You're under no obligation to the foreign firm - neither legal nor moral. You've signed nothing, and committed to nothing (AFAIK) and you've acted in good faith - you weren't trying to fool anybody.

The foreign firm also assumes and knows all that, and they voluntarily encumbered the risk of going to the trouble of facilitating things for you. Every business professional knows that nothing is set, until it's SET. It's business as usual for them to try, and for you to opt out.

So, just be brief and cordial: Thank them for their help and interest, and explain that, notwithstanding, you've decided their job is not really the right move for you.

Done.

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