I just received an offer from a startup, say A and it is pretty good, the only downside is that I will be the only developer there (as of now) as most of the work is outsourced. The work will be handled by the in-house team later whenever strength is good. Meanwhile, I am also in talks with two more startups, which I prefer more as the package is also better in both, along with the fact that I will be working on a new technology than what I have been till now. I want to go towards learning a new language/tech, working in a team and a nice package, which will be given by both B and C.

At B, I am yet to be interviewed for the second round and the results will take a week at least. At C, again I am yet to be interviewed by them, but it is by far the best of all. Again, C will also require at least one week.

Now I'm kind of stuck, I also have to relocate to that city where all three startups are located (which is the same city), and just received a communication from A asking me to join ASAP.

What is the best way to convey to them that I need a week to confirm the offer? I do not want to deceive them by saying yes right now and then turning my back towards them if I am accepted by either B or C. Any help?

EDIT: I do realize that a question somewhat like this might have been answered. I just could not find one that could exactly relate to this situation, hence thought of asking this. As A, B and C are startups, each and every hiring is an important thing to them. Hence, I don't want to waste the time of A also by lieing.

EDIT 2: I did see the related question. It is kind of the same, but the situations are actually different. In that, the OP applied to all three at the same time, I didn't. Here I'm involved in startups, a real quick decision is necessary in this case, hence even asking for a week sounds like kind of a risk to me. In the related question, the user is primarily asking as to how to speed up the process at C while having A and B ready to hire him, in my case I wish to keep A as a backup in case either B or C don't select me. I do believe this should stay as a different question.

marked as duplicate by mhoran_psprep, scaaahu, gnat, mcknz, Masked Man Jun 26 '15 at 16:04

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  • 1
    Related: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/111/… – Brandin Jun 26 '15 at 9:46
  • @JoeStrazzere I'm fine by a delay in getting into a job. Putting all energy into B and C seems like the only thing that I should be pursuing now. I just wished for a safer option and wanted to know what to communicate to A in case I am unable to make it into B or C. – harkirat1892 Jun 26 '15 at 14:22
  • For some reason the saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" comes to mind. – NotMe Jun 26 '15 at 14:50
  • Why not just tell the truth? If you have 3 potential offers, then you're working in an area with developers in high demand, so they must already assume that you're talking with other companies. Just say "I'm expecting another offer and would like to have time to decide which company is the best fit, can I have a week to get back to you?" If they say they can't wait, then you need to decide whether the offer in-hand is better than some possible future offer (that may never come) – Johnny Jun 26 '15 at 21:03

It is definitely bad practice to accept an offer from A and then change your mind. Signed contract > offer > interview > talks. Your best option now is A, and you should keep them happy and be respectful. At the same time, you need to remember that A is more than happy to put the pressure on you to sign with them ASAP, and they could even discard you after 2 months if they change their mind. That's life. That said:

  • forget about C. C now doesn't exist.
  • at this point it would be OK to contact B and say "Hi, I would really like to join your company but I got a job offer from another company, and they want me to decide in a week. Would you be able to make a decision in this time frame?". Sometimes they will, sometimes they will lie, sometimes they will tell you straight away that one week is not enough.

If B says it takes more than 1-2 weeks, you can either accept A or just prioritise B and risk losing A. If B will be done in 1-2 weeks, just contact A and let them know that you have been applying in several companies and that you would like to complete your last few applications. If they ask you "what would make you join another company", tell them something like "growth opportunities, sense of belonging", which means more cash and maybe some equity.

Play the game, but be respectful of your adversaries, it will pay off. Good luck!


What is the best way to convey to them that I need a week to confirm the offer?

The best way is to be very honest.

Tell them that you need more time (a week? is that enough?) to consider their offer. If asked (or if pressed), then you might need to indicate you are also considering other jobs. You don't need to specify if you do or don't have other offers on the table at this point.

If you take that route, and are granted additional time, you might want to indicate to B and C that time is of the essence.

You need to think ahead of time how badly you want each job.

You might risk the offer from A by not deciding in a timely manner. At some point, they understandably need to give up on you and move on to other candidates. They may be willing to wait, or they may not.

You risk getting an offer from B and C if you press them to decide quickly. Some companies need to take time, and may decide to look elsewhere if they are not able to guarantee to a quick conclusion.

If you think you have a reasonable chance with B or C, and aren't pressed to land a new job quickly, your best bet may be to decline A's offer and pursue B and C fully. If neither B nor C work out, you can always go back to A and ask if the position is still available. You might get lucky, but probably not.

I do not want to deceive them by saying yes right now and then turning my back towards them if I am accepted by either B or C.

I commend you for that. I never recommend saying Yes, with the plan to then say No soon afterwards. My personal ethics wouldn't allow that.

Intentionally deceiving a potential employer is not a good way to establish a great professional reputation, in my opinion.

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