I have a job offer from company A and I mentioned that during hr rounds to another company B. Now company B has selected me but before sending the offer letter to me they want the offer letter of company A. I don't know what to do now. Will I send the offer letter from A to B or not? If I send it will the company B tell A that I have been looking for job in company B? If I don't send them the offer letter can B deny me the job ? I don't want chance from B to let go but at the same time don't want to end up losing both the chances. Can anybody give me any suggestion? Thank you in advance.

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    You already have an offer from company A. So if you do nothing, it seems you won't lose that chance. If company B is serious about making you an offer, they should just make the offer. If you don't want to show them the letter, be clear but polite about this point. The letter is a matter just between you and company A. If company B wants you, please write your own letter.
    – Brandin
    Apr 9, 2016 at 5:24
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    You said "company B has selected me". What did they actually say, and what reason do they give for wanting to see an offer letter from another company? It seems a little weird.
    – Brandin
    Apr 9, 2016 at 6:12
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    It looks like Company B is using you as a free "market research". That strikes me as very unprofessional, and I would recommend staying away from this company.
    – Masked Man
    Apr 9, 2016 at 6:12
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    @saikat The copies of passing certificates and address/identity proofs sound reasonable, but have you asked them why they need some other company's offer letter to release their own offer letter? That sounds extremely suspicious and stupid to me.
    – Masked Man
    Apr 9, 2016 at 17:16
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    Never exclude that this might just be a test of your ethics. Just do what feels right. If both options evaporate, there will be more. Jan 16, 2018 at 19:53

3 Answers 3


Worst case scenario, this is what happens when you forward the letter. Best case scenario, you still weaken your negotiating position if you forward it (as Kilisi mentioned).

Basically, there is little that's good that can come out of forwarding such a letter. Personally, this is what I would write to company B instead:

"I'm sorry, but I can not in good conscience forward a private communication sent to me from another potential employer."

Please note the purposefully vague language I'm using here. It's important to not even disclose the name of company A (unless you already did). If they ask, just tell them what the company does in the most general terms, so that they know the kind of company that they're up against, but you certainly don't need to be specific.

Or if you already told them that you'd forward the offer letter to them, you could simply say:

"I'm sorry, but I changed my mind. I know what I said earlier, but I can not in good conscience forward you a private communication sent to me from another potential employer."

And yes, it's company B's prerogative to decide whether you should become their employee or not, so they could very well deny you the job on the grounds that you didn't forward that offer letter to them (which is well within their rights). But at some point, you have to respect yourself enough and be willing to walk away.

After all, if a competing candidate requested a copy (or a partial screenshot) of the resume of the leading candidate for that same position, or if a candidate requested that the employer forward him a copy of the counteroffer made by another candidate. That would equally be a non-starter.

And what happens if company B doesn't believe that you have an actual offer on the table from another company since you're unwilling to show an offer letter? That's fine. If they don't believe you, that's on them. And it's not your obligation to justify or explain yourself further, and it's your prerogative to be able to walk away from any potential employer, especially any potential employer that makes unreasonable requests.

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    I agree, I wouldn't forward the letter either, it weakens your negotiating position as well as the rest outlined above.
    – Kilisi
    Apr 9, 2016 at 6:34
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    +1. This is pretty much exactly how I would handle this and the suggested wording is perfect for this situation.
    – Lilienthal
    Apr 9, 2016 at 9:00
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    Before judging company B, it might be that some manager told some HR drone "send an offer to saikat" and the HR drone decided that they also wanted to see A's offer without knowledge of the company.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 10, 2016 at 7:59
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    Think about the ethical standards of that company when they are asking you to divulge private communication. It may be perhaps only the standards of that particular person you have to deal with but nevertheless you shouldn't do it.You can play a lot of tricks and tell little lies when you are looking for a job, it's part of the game, but not this. I doubt it is but it could be a test of what kind of person you are.
    – Mircea Ion
    Sep 29, 2016 at 12:42
  • Thank you Stephan, that's the perfect answer I have been searching for, thank you very much!
    – Prateek
    Jan 17, 2017 at 14:23

I can think of two reasons why they'd ask:

(a) They think you're lying about having another offer, or about the amount or some other details of the offer.

(b) They want to know what kind of salaries other companies are offering, or gain some other information about the competition.

Either way, asking for a copy of the other company's offer letter seems a little ... tacky, inappropriate, bad form ... to me. I'd reply something to the effect of, "I don't think it's appropriate for me to forward private correspondence from another company." That's the sort of thing I'd rather say in an email than in person, but if I had to do it in person, I'd try to look and sound confused, like, "why in the world are you asking me this?"

If they push on this, I would consider that a reason not to want to work for B.

If you already have an offer from A, presumably you are not desperate to get an offer from B, so you don't have to give in to unreasonable demands. Well, I don't know how good the offer from A is or what you expect from B. As always in real life, sometimes you have to weigh the pros and cons.

  • At that point, both A and B are "potential future employers" and one of them, for example A, might become your "employer". You wouldn't want to end up in a position where you had sent an offer from your employer to a competitor.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 10, 2016 at 12:33
  • The offer should be based on what they think your value is to the company. It has nothing to do with Company A. They're trying to go "Price Is Right" by just topping the competition by as little as possible. The person asking should not try to pit the offers against each other, though, either. If that's what he/she wants, then they should just share the letter. I'd say "Please extend your best and final offer if you feel you want to. I have no intention of trying to pit you against another interested employer, so I promise to give you a yes or no answer in a timely fashion." No counters. Sep 29, 2016 at 15:11
  • It is way more than tacky. We are employees, not slaves, I would not want to work with people that think they own me and my life. For me, they already failed in "my" side of the interview. Life is too short to work with people like that. Sep 30, 2016 at 13:18
  • @AndrewMattson Hmm, but surely you are trying to pit offers against each other. If you get two job offers, I presume you are going to compare them and take whichever is best. Not necessarily the one that offers the most money, there are other factors, like benefits working conditions, and so on. But if, say, company A offered $50,000 and company B offered $55,000, and you thought you'd like working at A more but the extra money was very tempting, would you really rule out going to A and saying, "hey, if you can beat B's $55k, I'd rather work for you"?
    – Jay
    Oct 1, 2016 at 18:39
  • @Jay - More than money factors in and it is different than actively soliciting a bidding war. Someone who is that mercenary and only cares about the money is considered a bad potential employee. Someone who doesn't care about the opportunity, the work, the work environment, working with co-workers, and building a career is going to get rejected by most companies as a poor choice for someone to add as an employee. Now, maybe money your primary motivation, and you think that's fine, but that's not how employers look at candidates they consider, and that's not something they think is positive. Oct 3, 2016 at 13:31

Your mistake was mentioning the other offer. They expect that every candidate is interviewing at multiple companies. But you mentioned the other offer so now the face a dilemma.

They were prepared to offer you X but you have an offer in your hand. They know that the most they can offer is X+delta. They want to know if they will win with X so they don't have to offer x+delta. They don't want to waste any more time if x+delta will be too low. Showing them the offer letter will cut right to the end. They will either just beat A's offer or they will walk away.

of course if you told them how much A is offering while you were talking to HR, they want to see the letter before they push for a funding decision from the company. They don't want to maximize their offer when there was no offer.

You have to decide which you want to go with. Take the written offer from A, or pursue a potentially better offer from B. Keep in mind your opinion of B's HR is not very good right now.

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    A mistake?! As far as I can tell, he made no mistake. Mentioning a competing offer is not necessarily a mistake. Sometimes, it's the only option a job-hunter has because most offers come with short deadlines before they expire. And it's in the job-hunter's best interest to hurry along other potential offers before making a final decision. Apr 9, 2016 at 21:54

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