Tomorrow I'll be flying to Europe for an on-site interview with company A. Thursday of next week I will then fly to an on-site interview in the US at company B.

If Company A makes an offer before Thursday, and I want to accept it, what should I do?

The options I've considered:

  1. Tell Company A I'm very interested, but must see Company B's offer before I decide. This may or may not be purely honest, if I have decided to accept Company A's offer, but it seems like a harmless white lie... And Company B may somehow surprise me with an offer that is better than Company A.

  2. Accept Company A's offer, but attend Company B's interview out of politeness. This seems a bit dishonest to Company B.

  3. Cancel the interview at Company B. This seems honest, but might also be taken as rude to Company B--they may want the option to beat Company A's offer. They've also already sunk a certain cost into getting me there, some of which likely cannot be recouped (purchased airline tickets, etc).

What's my best course of action?

  • 2
    You don't yet have an either offer. I seriously doubt Company A is going to require an immediate decision even if you get the offer. Best course of action is to relax. You are getting the cart before the horse here. – paparazzo Jul 17 '15 at 14:37
  • @Blam: Good points. But the question is more out of concern for Company B's time and resources in interviewing me. I don't want to waste that, if I know I'm not going to take the offer. – Flimzy Jul 17 '15 at 14:38
  • If you have a firm offer from Company A in hand, it is totally up to you whether or not you'd like to talk to Company B. Don't take an international trip merely "to be polite". However, if you're interested in Company B and there is even a slight chance you could change your mind there is no harm in visiting Company B-- even after you've accepted Company A. – teego1967 Jul 17 '15 at 14:57
  • 3
    But you don't even have an offer let alone accept it. You really think Company A is going to give you an offer that day and require an immediate decision? Company B is only next week. Relax, take the interviews, and then decide. You have interview tomorrow and you are getting worked up about what to do if you get an offer. Relax and focus on the interview. – paparazzo Jul 17 '15 at 14:58
  • "Tell Company A I'm very interested, but must see Company B's offer before I decide." - If company A makes you an offer, they should give you time to decide regardless. Normally you wouldn't mention Company B to them, unless you think doing so gives you a negotiation advantage. – Brandin Jul 18 '15 at 12:44

I'd attend the second interview, even if you'd accepted the position at Company A- but is it likely they're going to offer it to you that quickly? It's a judgement call on whether or not to accept the position immediately - are they likely to change their minds if you ask for a couple of days to think it over? That kind of depends on how much they seem to want you; in my experience, it's very unusual for a company to offer you a job and then turn you down because you ask for a few days to make a decision.

Regardless of whether or not you take the position, Company B made the decision to interview you; they've allocated time to talk to you and they've likely already paid for everything necessary; you don't owe them anything and there's not going to be hard feelings if it turns out you don't take the job (if it's even offered to you).

Getting interview experience is always a good thing, in my opinion, and you never know: it might turn out that Company B are willing to make you an excellent offer that you hadn't previously considered. At the very least, you'll meet a few people that you have a chance to impress that may well remember you in the future, wherever you both end up.

  • Although I agree with the suggestion to attend both interviews; if you've already accepted a position at Company A; interviewing with B is a complete waste of their time. While some of the costs most likely can't be recouped; it's probably less than the hours spent interviewing a candidate they have no chance of getting instead of getting actual work done. – Jim B Jul 17 '15 at 14:37
  • You still never know what Company B might pull out of the bag if they're really interested in you. This sort of thing gets asked about a lot: see workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/4478/… for an example. – Herr Pink Jul 17 '15 at 14:40
  • One key difference; that question the poster never signed the offer. As best; it was a vague verbal commitment (and if it's not in writing it doesn't exist). I think the OP would look significantly worse if he had a signed offer with A and then reneged on it. – Jim B Jul 17 '15 at 14:46
  • Agreed Jim B, sorry; I was making the assumption that acceptance was the typical initial verbal response to an offer rather than signing a contract. Reneging on contracts once signed is a bad move (though personally, I'd still take the second interview and hope to make new contacts for the future). – Herr Pink Jul 17 '15 at 14:48
  • Exactly; there's no harm in letting B know that you have other offers. If anything; it'll make then cut to the chase (and not try and lowball you) – Jim B Jul 17 '15 at 14:51

if Company A makes an offer before Thursday, and I want to accept it, what should I do?

  • If you can interview with company B before the deadline with Company A, then go to the interview with company B. Wait until after the 2nd interview.
  • If you must decide on the offer before the interview with company B, then make a decision:
    1. if you will be going with company A sign it, accept it, then politely decline the interview with company B. Keep options open with companies c,d and e
    2. If you don't know if you want to go with company A, ask for enough days to get you through the interview with company B.

If you do go to the interview with company B tell Company B during the interview that you have an offer with company A but you are interested; unless of course you aren't interested.

When juggling multiple applications you will have perfect jobs with great offers, that don't materialize at the right time. That is life. The company has the same problem only a subset of great employees are available at the right time.


There are two possibilities: If you have an offer from A that you accepted, and you have signed, and A has signed, then you apologise to B, tell them you accepted a different offer, and there is no point in wasting everyone's time by going to an interview that isn't going to lead to employment.

If you don't have an offer from A that was accepted and signed by both sides, then you go to the interview with B, try your best to be found acceptable for the position, and see if they have a better offer than A. Even if their offer is not as good as A, you have a fallback if A's offer falls through.

Up to the point where an offer is legally accepted (signed by both sides, which should happen simultaneously), you are free to look for better opportunities, and that's what you should do. Once the offer is legally accepted, you apologise to everyone else. They are aware (unless they have no sense of the realities of life) that you are not interviewing with one company only, and that it is normal that a candidate takes a better offer.

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