I'm in a [potential] pickle here and perhaps SE can give me some good advice on this. These are both IT related jobs.

Ok ~ 1.5 months ago I interviewed at company B which was for a remote position. We had several interviews (on video chat) over the course of a month. It came between me and another candidate. They took the other candidate for the remote position but asked if I was interested in a position which involved relocating. I respectfully declined and asked them to consider me for future positions.

Fast forward I interview at company A. Based on the description I liked it. I only had two interviews and they were both over the phone (one HR one hiring manager). They gave me a really good offer and I accepted. I have never met the team so I am kind of going to this blind. Based on our discussions this company appears very informal and not really "by the book" so I figured this is potentially their style. There are a few red flags such as they never checked my references and I've never been offered a job after only phone interviews but based on my research they are a legit company and my hiring manager seems to be good. I just don't know what I'm getting into, it could all be a lie or it could be awesome!

I am set to start in a week. Now company B comes back to me and says a few other remote opportunities opened up. Company B seemed like a dream job (full time telecommute, my field of interest, and the co-workers seem great since I actually met them over video).

I want to talk to company B about this but I don't know how to go about it. Should I just honestly explain the situation that I have an official start date with another employer but since I really am interested in your company for (insert reasons here)? Explain the fact that the job I was presented may differ from reality due to the suspicions I listed above but I still would like to meet them next week to give them the BOTD? Also explain that I do not want to put an undue burden on the new employer so I would need to know fairly quickly?

What to do?


I'd say "talk to company B", especially if they decide quickly. A couple of reasons:

  1. Company A has a few red flags but until all red flags are resolved in your mind, you might as well not put all your eggs in company A's basket.

  2. Company A made you an offer, and you accepted. Chances are pretty good that your offer is probationary, though - Check your contract with them if you signed anything and especially look for the penalty clauses. If you are on probation with them, they might as well be on probation with you. If you end up resigning from company B, you're resigning during the probation period.

  3. Company A was quick to make you an offer. But if they are a legit outfit, they may be even quicker to fire, given that they're not bothering to check your references. I am not sure whether your phone interviews were audio/video such as Skype or Google hangout or whether they were just audio. Of course, they are taking a bigger risk with audio, which they may very compensate by being quick to fire. Basically, company A may be taking the attitude that your job performance constitutes your references and your interview, so watch out for yourself - you may be dealing with some very tough customers. On the other side of the coin, I'd say company A has not begun to prove anything to you until you get your first check from them.

As for whether your "professionalism" tag applies to my answer, I don't know and I don't care. I am doing business and when I do business, I don't complicate my life with worrying about labels.

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  • Don't you mean the opposite with A and B ? (doesn't matter all that much, since they're aliases, but it's kinda confusing) – Goodzilla Sep 19 '14 at 13:04
  • @Goodzilla Thanks so much for your comment ! I edited my answer to correct :) I hope that I am not reverting back to my pattern when I was in grad school, where I would get everything right, except that one small detail that changes the meaning of the entire thing. Needless to say, I lived in dread of that pattern :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 19 '14 at 13:19
  • The interviews were audio only and lasted 45 minutes each. I have a written contract, but of course the contract is at will and in the end of everything it's just paper. There is no probation since they can fire you at any time anyway. There is no penalty clause. There is a non-compete but the companies are not competitors nor would I have started. What would your opinion be if I waited until I started to give company A a chance? Then left after a week or two saying the environment is not right for me. Would that be better than renegging the offer? – offerguywtf8 Sep 19 '14 at 13:47
  • @offerguytf8 It takes a while for company B's hiring process to come to a conclusion, so you might as well use that time to assess company A. If you need extra time to evaluate A and A is promising, ask B for two weeks' worth of extra time to evaluate A - if you need the entire two weeks, that is. It is unfortunate but I never get to find out whether a workplace seriously sucks until I am on the premises and actually working in it. On the other hand, it doesn't take me more than a week to find out whether a workplace seriously sucks. – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 19 '14 at 13:59
  • @offerguywtf8 You won't know whether A can pay you until you get your first paycheck and you won't know what it's like to work at A until you get your first assignments, go through your first conference calls and interact with the management. If you have no reason to dislike A and you are opting for B, I think it's better to say "thank you" to A's management for making you an offer and letting you get to know the company but for various personal reasons, you are giving B a whirl. – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 19 '14 at 14:05

What you need to do is think about the possible outcomes, which ones you would prefer, and how to get what you prefer.

You have accepted a job at A: If that means you signed a contract, then it would be quite hard to get out of it. If you accepted verbally, it's less problematic. Anyway, if you do nothing, you will start at A. That should be your baseline. No action you take should leave you in a worse position than starting at A (for example leave you in the position of having no job at all).

There is an opening at B. You don't know how sincere it is really, how good your chances are to get it, and so on. You can't go through a three months hiring process at B and expect your job at A still to be there if B falls through. So a long drawn-out hiring process cannot be acceptable to you. If that's what they need, stay with A.

So I'd suggest to inform B about the situation, that you have verbally accepted an offer at A, that you would prefer starting at B, but a decision has to be made quickly for obvious reasons. If they want you and can make that happen, then you can try to delay starting at A and change to B if it happens. Delaying at A probably should be done delicately.

Just make sure that whatever happens, you'll at least have the job at A which in the end you were willing to take. If you start at B, the people at A will obviously be annoyed with you, and that job opportunity is probably gone for good, but that's not really your concern.

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  • This is the USA btw. I have a written contract, but of course the contract is at will. There is no penalty clause. There is a non-compete but the companies are not competitors nor would I have started. What would your opinion be if I waited until I started to give company A a chance? Then left after a week or two saying the environment is not right for me. Would that be better than renegging the offer? – offerguywtf8 Sep 19 '14 at 13:45
  • no, that would be worse. you will be deliberately wasting company A's time and money for no good reason. i don't even know how your suggested solution would work here. – bharal Sep 20 '14 at 1:12

You need to consider what is best for you. No one likes to be a "second choice", "safety belt" etc. You are not obligated to inform A or B companies of you options, they are yours.

Given the B company record of being a long term decider, you should start at A, checking contract for any of the road-blocks that can prevent you from switching in case B will come through with remote offer.

In any event, you should not come out of this decision worse than you can be with working for company A

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  • Correct, you should always have your best interests in mind, and only your best interests. As long as it's not illegal, it's fair game. Companies are rich anyways, so who cares? – Daniel Grover Oct 25 '17 at 20:21

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