I am a candidate for two very similar positions at the same governmental agency. The positions are in two separate departments and buildings, so the hiring managers probably have no clue I am being considered for each one. I interviewed for both -- I am almost in the door for one and am a top candidate for the other.

The first position pays around 45k, and I have already been informally offered the job. Since it's a government position, it takes time to receive an official offer letter. The second I know I am a top candidate for because they are about to call my current supervisor for a reference.

I am more inclined to take the first position, even though the second pays more (48-50k). There is no true reason for my decision, I am simply going with what I was offered first. I feel some pressure to consider the other position -- a family friend basically helped me to get the interview, and it pays more (48-50k).

**My main question is what is the best etiquette for a person in my position? Would it be more professional to tell both hiring managers? What would be an example or the best way to do that? **

This has never happened to me before, so I am really clueless. During my previous attempts at a job search, it was a struggle to even get in the door for an interview.

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    Until you have a formal job offer in writing, you don't have a job offer. Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 21:38
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    @DanPichelman Thank you. This is my thought process, which is why I am moving forward with the second position as a backup. However, I want to make sure that I don't appear "shady" or "sneaky" and be as transparent as I can be without repercussion. Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 21:46
  • This could probably be improved by asking a more specific question, something like "Should I accept the first offer I get" or "Should I notify one job when accepting another before getting an offer". Simply asking "What should I do" is a bit too open-ended.
    – user30031
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


You are no more obligated to inform managers of other opportunities as they are of informing you on other candidates. And we certainly can't tell you what to do. You may get two offers coinciding during the same span of time, or one will come and the other will take longer. Pick the one that will suit your lifestyle and needs, and be aware that money's not everything. Thank the other manager so that the next person in line can get the job, and good luck.

All of this assumes that you have a formal offer - in writing.

  • I understand. I edited my question to avoid looking like I needed a decision to be made for me, but I am not sure how quickly that shows up here (new). I simply wanted to know the proper etiquette for informing the hiring managers, and examples of how to do that, if it was the most professional option. You have partially answered my question -- many thanks! Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 21:50
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    You accept the one you want, and decline the one you don't, but you don't actually have any offer at all at this point, no need to jump the gun assuming you'll get two.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 22:17

You applied for two different jobs. You are under no obligation to tell one dept about the application to the other dept unless someone specifically asks you.

If you do end up in the fortunate position of having offers from both depts I would avoid using one offer as leverage to make the other dept increase their offer. This is because when someone finds out that you played one dept against another it could be a black mark that limits your advancement.

Your family friend was nice to help you get the interview but they can't know if the offer is right for you. Accepting the offer because they suggested you is not a good reason. If you do turn down that offer, how you do it reflects on your family friend's reputation so do it as politely and promptly as you can.

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    +1 for „how you do it reflects on your family friend‘s reputation“
    – Jan
    Commented May 6, 2018 at 17:25

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