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How to coordinate the process of pursuing multiple job opportunities at the same time?

I've applied for three companies (we'll call them A, B, and C).

  • Company A has moved the application process along quickly and I can expect an offer by Friday.

  • Company B is moving fairly quickly, too, but I'll be doing the in-person interview the middle of this week.

  • Company C is a little behind (both due to their speed, and the timing in which I contacted them), and my in-person interview isn't until Monday.

All three companies look promising, and I expect to get an offer from at least Company B, as well, but it will likely be early next week before I hear back. They're also all companies that I think I would enjoy working at, given the knowledge I have, and compensation is pretty equal.

Since I can expect my first offer on Friday, and a second one on Monday or Tuesday, how long is considered acceptable before responding with a "yes" or "no" to a job offer? Is waiting until I at least have my in-person interview with Company C too long to make Company A wait? Or should I cancel my interview with Company C and simply consider A or B, to speed up my response time?

marked as duplicate by Joe Strazzere, Adam V, Jim G., jmac, user9158 Jul 30 '13 at 5:30

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • This is exactly the same, the other question even uses the A,B, and C example of 3 different companies. Voted to close. – jmort253 Apr 12 '12 at 4:38
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    @jmort253 - That question did inspire this one, yes, but I don't see them as the same (hence why I asked it). That one is asking about "how to stall" the first companies, while this one is asking how long is "too long" to respond without being rude (or without simply getting passed over for the next candidate). I see the other as a "process" question and this as an "etiquette" question. Given the number of close votes, however, it seems I may be in the minority in my interpretation. =/ – Shauna Apr 12 '12 at 13:05
  • @jmort253 - Can you provide some help in how I can reword this question to better differentiate this question from the other one? I still think having a "process" question (ie - "How can I go about getting more time?") and an "etiquette" question (ie - "How long is too long to ask a company to wait for my answer?") should be separate questions, and can each stand on their own if worded properly. – Shauna Apr 13 '12 at 17:25
  • Somehow the difference between Friday, Monday, and middle of the week escapes me. If someone offers you work tell them you can confirm in two days. If you're nervous about telling them other offers are within reach tell them you're on your way to the airport to pick up a relative, you'll be able to think about it when you're out of traffic. You'll get back ASAP. Of course, if they're expecting you to start on Monday without fail then you have a problem. But that wasn't the question you asked. – Meredith Poor Jul 29 '13 at 19:48
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The key point here is to be honest with companies about your interviews and offers elsewhere. Concealing this information doesn't really help anyone, and any reasonable employer should know that people pursue multiple prospects at once.

With that in mind, when you get offers from A and B you should ask how long you have to decide. Employers are generally aware of this type of question and usually have an answer ready based on their current interview and hiring schedules.

So, assuming you get an offer from Company A on Friday, and they give you longer than the weekend to decide, you can safely go to your interview with Company C.

Company C may very well ask you what other interviews and offers you have on the table, and if they don't you can bring it up.

Knowing your situation with Companies A and B will prompt Company C to either make you an offer within the current time frame of Company A, or tell you that they can't make a decision that quickly.

Any company may ask you to make a decision more quickly than you're comfortable with. Some companies may also ask you to ask another company to push their deadline back. These are decisions you will have to make yourself based on your own judgments.

In the end, being forward and honest with your interviewers will help you and them to schedule interviews and offers in a timely manner.

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    +1 for be honest with them. If you tell the company up front you will not be able to respond until at least x they should be respectful of that. And if it will not be acceptable at least let you know their expectations so you can make a decision there. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 11 '12 at 20:21
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    I'd add that you should politely decline offers if you go with an alternate (don't name names, …but I due to [salary,commute,whatever] that I have accepted an offer with another firm. Also don't be afraid to counter (if A is where you want to work, but B is making an offer you can't refuse be honest with A - maybe they can do something) – voretaq7 Apr 11 '12 at 23:35

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