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I'm in a confusing situation. A company I interviewed with and would love to work for sent me a follow-up email stating that I was their top candidate and that they were waiting for funding before making an official offer. The email also outlined salary and benefits. As this would be my first professional-level job, I consulted friends and family about how I should respond and the majority said I should start negotiating the starting salary and ask about vacation time, which wasn't included in the list of benefits.

The employer responded to my follow-up questions quickly but I haven't heard anything else for over a week. I know it's very early in the process, but I am starting to panic. Did I cross a line by negotiating this early? Was it inappropriate to ask about vacation time?

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    If they are waiting for funding then they probably are not in a position to make an offer, regardless of what you try to negotiate. I doubt "asking about vacation time" is going to cause them to back down from giving you an offer. But remember they aren't even in a position to make an offer yet. – Brandin Jun 7 '15 at 7:00
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they were waiting for funding before making an official offer.

They like you, they want to make an offer, but nothing can happen until they get the funding.

You won't be able to negotiate until this happens and the offer becomes real.

You've kept the flow of communications going, but it's a waiting game now, touch base regularly but don't try and push any negotiation yet, you may well scare them off by being too pushy, if you were being hired as CEO that'd maybe work, but first job, you'll send the wrong message.

But also keep on with other opportunities, this isn't a done deal yet. There are plenty ways the funding can fall through/ be delayed etc, so don't cut yourself off.

I always assume a job is a no until the offer is on the table, don't get too hung up on it until there is something concrete.

For example 3 months ago I interviewed for a new role at a bank. The feedback came back positive, my name is on the job, just waiting on a project being signed off. Move on to now, I've started a new role (who approached me), 50% more than the bank was offering (although travel that I wouldn't have had at the bank). And the bank? The role still has my name, but may not progress for ANOTHER 2-3 months.

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