I currently work at Organization A. It's an OK job, but I'm bored and would like to move on to more challenging work. I applied to Org. B, and interviewed well with them. Org. B is a very large bureaucratic institution with a reputation for taking a long time to fill positions. I've been waiting for some time to hear from them.

In the meantime, I applied to Org C. The process was much quicker, and they extended me an offer. I called the hiring manager at Org B and informed him of the offer, and asked when they would make a decision about the position. He told me that he had send a recommendation for the position to the main office, and was awaiting their approval. He did not say it directly, but he implied that I was the one who he recommended. However, he was careful to hedge, saying that the main office has the ultimate say, and nothing is certain.

As to when a decision would be made, he was not sure, but it's clear that it won't before I need to decide on the offer for Org C.

I would prefer the job at Org B over Org C (and, of course, Org A). Do I:

  1. Decline the offer at Org C, and hope the Org B offer materializes?
  2. Accept the offer at Org C, but rescind if the offer from Org B comes through?
  3. Accept the offer at Org C and commit to it, not matter what Org B does?
  4. Tell Org C about the situation and ask them for more time (this seems unlikely because I don't know how long I'd need to ask for. It could be a couple weeks)?
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    This is really coming into our "off-topic" area - we really can't tell you which job to take - this is a total guessing game and will depend on so many factors that are unique to you, that we really can't get you a single acceptable answer. – bethlakshmi Jun 12 '14 at 20:13
  • Thanks. I know that no one can tell me what job to take. I'm more interested in the ethics, particularly of accepting, and then potentially rescinding, an offer. – Caluchko Jun 12 '14 at 20:18
  • This was my first question on this forum. It would be interesting to know why my question (and Gigi's answer) were downvoted. Just for future reference... – Caluchko Jun 12 '14 at 20:46
  • Off-topic questions are generally both downvoted and marked as off-topic. – Adam V Jun 12 '14 at 21:44
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You should immediately inform BOTH B and C about the situation. It might make you look good to B and they might rush. It shouldn't hurt you to tell C and they might give you the time you want. When you tell C just say you have another company you're waiting on another offer and its details in order to make the best decision and would like some additional time. I wouldn't tell them that you prefer B.

Perhaps contact B first so you can see if you can get a sense of timing to provide to C.

Many companies will be pretty accommodating (will rush or give you time at your request) for candidates with multiple offers because those are generally the best candidates.

If it comes down to the wire and you only have an offer from C it is a personal decision and could burn some bridges depending on how you handle it.

  • Thanks! I did contact B. The problem is that the timing is unclear, and probably on the order of weeks. – Caluchko Jun 12 '14 at 20:50

Try to buy time if possible, so that you can consider offers from B and C simultaneously. If that's not possible, accept C and continue waiting for B; you'll be on probation so you should be able to leave C for B if an offer appears.

That's the basic idea. Now personally, I would be very skeptical about B. If they take so long in their recruiting, try to imagine how long they take to perform their daily operations/duties.

But obviously if B is what you want, then go after it.

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