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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 '16 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 '16 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 '16 at 6:12
  • Welcome to the site by the way @saikat. As a general rule you should use comments to ask for clarification from the poster or otherwise add information. General "thank you" comments are discouraged and you can show appreciation by upvoting an answer or a comment (now that you have the required reputation to do so). – Lilienthal Apr 9 '16 at 14:35
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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 '16 at 17:16
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I can not tell you what to do, but if it were me I wouldn't forward anything.

And this is what I'd write to company B:

"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 from a potential employer that is making a seemingly unreasonable request.

After all, if they send you an offer letter themselves, it would be pretty unethical of you to forward that private letter to company A (at least, that's my opinion, they themselves may claim to disagree with that opinion). And they may have the best intentions for you, but by asking you to forward that offer letter to them, they placed you in a difficult situation.

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 also. 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 seemingly unreasonable and unusual 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 '16 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 '16 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 '16 at 7:59
  • 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 '16 at 12:42
  • Thank you Stephan, that's the perfect answer I have been searching for, thank you very much! – Prateek Jan 17 '17 at 14:23
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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 '16 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. – PoloHoleSet Sep 29 '16 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. – Rui F Ribeiro Sep 30 '16 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 '16 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. – PoloHoleSet Oct 3 '16 at 13:31
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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. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 9 '16 at 21:54

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