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So I have a question which I hope has a right answer. Essentially what I'm asking here is for the professional norm.

I currently work for a large company, and am interviewing at other teams within the company where I would genuinely like to work. That said, I would prefer to work at a different company and am thus applying there as well. The internal team wants to go ahead and interview me and might accept me long before the external company.

If I get an invitation internally, is it professional "OK" to accept it and then within a month or 2 (perhaps before even switching teams) leave the company and have to decline them if I get an offer from my preferred company?

This is different than declining an offer as it is basically agreeing to work somewhere (but not a contract, just a team) and then changing my mind. It would leave them a little put out, since they will not interview in the meantime, but I also can't tell them I'm looking elsewhere. Perhaps I should have waited to apply internally but this is where I am. That said, is it just business? Will I be burning bridges?

  • Would this be a lateral move or a promotion? – Brian Apr 7 '15 at 13:18
  • If you get the internal position, will you discontinue seeking external employment? – UnhandledExcepSean Apr 7 '15 at 17:19
  • I don't think it would burn a bridge, but it would certainly tarnish you to me. If you don't want to stay at the company, don't stay, but to take another position within the company and bail after a month or two is really inconsiderate to the new internal team since you are hoping/anticipating this would happen. As you've said, you've basically wasted a month or two of their time. – UnhandledExcepSean Apr 7 '15 at 17:27
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If you get the internal offer, these are the considerations:

  1. Until you have an offer in hand from the external company with the I's dotted and the T's crossed, you have received nothing from the external company and all you are doing is spinning your wheels about getting an offer from the external company.

  2. If you take the internal offer, you're giving your current company a chance to keep you. If you get the offer from the external company, you may change your mind about joining the external company. Or you may not. Ether way, you gave your current company a chance to keep you.

Can't answer whether you'll be burning bridges. If people react rationally, you won't. If they are the type that gets very cranky when things don't go their way, you will be burning bridges. You know these people better than we do.

  • I'm not sure I understand what you mean by giving them a chance to keep me if I've mostly decided to just take the other offer if I get it anyway. But it sounds like you're saying what I'm suggesting doing is not out of the ordinary – Ben Apr 7 '15 at 16:11
  • @Ben I assume what Vietnhi means is that if you take the internal offer, the new team might turn out to be such an excellent group to work with and the work so good that you change your mind about wanting to leave the company – Carson63000 Apr 8 '15 at 0:43
  • @Carson63000 Exactly :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 8 '15 at 3:06

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