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I have two companies in two different cities, Company A and Company B. I have lived in both places before. I am currently living in the same city as Company A, and there is about two hours of driving time between the two cities. I will not live and work in separate cities, as I want my daily commute to be absolutely as short as possible. Fortunately, there is nothing stopping me from doing this for either city.

Company A is in a less desirable city, with less potential for me to grow and move forward as a person. I'm not really interested in living there. This company has given me a job offer as of tonight and expects an answer by week's end. I can say that I like the people and culture of Company A a lot, and I think I would enjoy the work too. They seem to really like me, and seem itching to fill the position soon.

Company B is in my favorite city, and will offer a lot more potential for me to move forward and enjoy life. Company B will also likely offer better compensation for the work. I have my first interview with them tomorrow. I don't know much about the job yet, but I think I would enjoy the work there too. I'm also not certain on the culture, so that remains to be seen. I also know that they took a while to extend an interview to me. I have been working with a recruiter who has told me that the turnaround on a decision should be quick, but I'm not so sure given how long it took to get to the interview. I would also have to relocate immediately for Company B's position, which they would be willing to help with to some degree. I have made it clear to that recruiter that Company B (and its city as a whole) are the most attractive option to me based on the potential benefits (and the city of residence that would come with it).

So my question is (after all that setup): Should I inform Company B that I have an offer from Company A? If so, how? I have considered two options so far:

  1. Tell the recruiter who has been working with me.

Pros: They might be more impartial or be able to offer sound advice

Cons: They may only offer advice against my 'safe bet' of Company A and push me to continue with Company B, which could turn out poorly. Alternatively, they could signal to Company B that I might not be interested, and that would fast-forward my rejection there.

  1. Tell my interviewers tomorrow that I have a pending offer with another company.

Pros: I might be able to speed up their decision-making process by mentioning that I have a deadline, and I could tell them that I prefer to work with them (for the reasons given above) which might encourage them to move forward sooner.

Cons: They may decide that, given I have another offer, I should go take it (ie. they tell me to take a hike).

I don't want to ruin my chances with Company B. Unless I really dislike the company/job/people/culture in my interview tomorrow, in the event that I can get an offer there, I would take it over Company A. However, Company A is there, now, and assuring me an offer, while Company B I have no idea on. They may be a terrible fit for me, or they may decide I'm not what they're looking for. All in all, Company A is expecting a response by Friday, and I don't want to leave them hanging, lest I lose their offer and end up with nothing.

So do I tell Company B that I have a standing offer with another company? And if so, how?

marked as duplicate by Masked Man, gnat, jimm101, Chris E, IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 13 '16 at 15:06

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    You should trim your question. Right now it is a wall of text and way to long. – Thorst Sep 13 '16 at 7:32
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There's no need at all to disclose that information unless you want to use it to incentivise a higher salary. Up until the point where you actually accept a job, you don't have to disclose anything.

Either company should be able to understand that if you're having interviews with them, you're in the market for employment and thus have your options open - part of their offer to you is enticing you away from any other potential offers other companies might be offering you.

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You want to tell the recruiter if it will assist you in making a decision. You do not however want to ask them for advice about which job to take, that is not their job and they do have your best interests in mind but those of the company they are recruiting for.
After your interview, speak with the recruiter to get feedback on how the interview went and next steps. If they tell you to expect a answer tomorrow, then great. If they tell you the decision will be further out, that is the point I would tell them that I was hoping for a quicker decision since you have another job offer waiting for your response, but Company B is where you want to be.

Also remember, just because you accept a job offer does not mean you have to start the job, at least in the USA, and at least unless you sign a contract.

  • Also remember, just because you accept a job offer does not mean you have to start the job, at least in the USA, and at least unless you sign a contract. While true, it is, imo, incredibly unprofessional to accept an offer and not follow through. – Chris G Sep 13 '16 at 14:37
  • @ChrisG Yes it is. But it does happen for a variety of reasons. – JasonJ Sep 13 '16 at 14:47
  • I completely agree. Shit happens, but I wouldn't encourage it or advertise it as a normal/first choice decision. – Chris G Sep 13 '16 at 14:52
  • This is a relevant line of discussion matter for me, as I've been advised by some considered possibly accepting the position at Company A, but then staying open to accepting Company B's offer instead. That said, I'm aware that it's very unprofessional to do so. I'm just worried that if I delineate too long then Company A will retract its offer and Company B will end up not giving me an offer. – user2828965 Sep 14 '16 at 19:34
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tl;dr - Keep your mouth shut.

You do not have to disclose any information about any jobs you are interviewing for, or recruiters you are talking to, etc to anyone - definitely not at this point in the process, and if you do, it is a matter of courtesy.

As courtesy when accepting an offer, I would tell any other companies that I decided to make another decision.

Some like using it as a negotiation tactic or to put fire under a hiring managers behind - that doesn't work with me. As an employer I am interviewing multiple candidates, if it is a position I want filled ASAP I am not going to wait for a candidate playing hard to get and trying to flex it as a way to speed anything up - I tell them to go to that company as I won't be in a rush.

  • I think it doubles as a sales tactic and common courtesy. I want to let the hiring manager decide whether to speed up or pass. At my last company, I asked because I would get 1 good candidate from roughly 200 resumes. I didn't want to filter through another 200 resumes because I dragged my feet. – Chris G Sep 13 '16 at 14:48
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If Company B likes you, the interviewer/hiring manager/recruiter should ask you about your job search/interviewing status.

Typically, they're trying to answer a couple questions for their purposes.

1) What is the timeframe like for this candidate? How quickly do we need to act to secure them?

2) How "in-demand" is this candidate? Have they been searching for months with no bites? We can offer the low end of the salary range. Did they just start and we're their first/only/only scheduled stop? We can offer the low end of the salary range. Have they had other interviews? We may want to offer mid-range. Do they have other offers? We may have to offer mid-high range.

Note: Do not go into anywhere near as much detail as you did here. Not even close.

I do have a standing offer from another company which I will need to make a decision on before Friday.

If during your interview with Company B, you're feeling really great about them, you could also add:

I've really enjoyed our conversations today, and I think Company B would be a great fit.

If Company B doesn't mention it, and you would be inclined to accept a matching offer from Company B, and you're getting positive body language/buying signs from the folks at Company B, you should offer up the information about your pending offer.

Just a quick heads up. I have really enjoyed our conversations today. I think Company B is a great place to work, the position would be a good fit for me, and I would be a good fit for the position. With that said, I do have an offer that expires on Friday. I don't want to pressure you, but I also don't want to put you in a position where you call me Monday only to find out I accepted another offer.

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