I've been offered a job with a company which sounds great, the people seem nice and it looks on paper and person to be a great environment and the interviewer was a really pleasant fellow who knew his stuff.
Now some background, I'm an engineer in almost exactly the same role, it's actually uncanny as it's quite niche, so I can see why they want me. I am from a direct competitor so I already know the kind of work they do.
I was made an offer maybe 20 minutes into the interview, which made me a little wary. The day after, I got a letter offering me the position.
I requested a copy of the contract before agreeing as obviously I need to know if it's a better deal for me, so I asked for a couple of days to review the contract before making a decision.
I queried the contract they offered me because the non competes in it would completely lock me out of my industry for 6 months upon termination, whether instigated by the employer or me. I noticed that the contract basically offered me nothing in return for that clause, and could seriously jeopardise me if they laid me off.
Anyway I queried it, and got a reply back to the effect of it's a standard clause, I was told that it's standard in all sorts of contracts including mortgages and rent agreements, which really got alarm bells going off in my head as I know that the response I got was, faulty logic at best.
I asked the employer if they'd be willing to use a non disclaimer in place of it, remove the clause or compensate me for it with severance and they responded with no. At that point I declined the offer completely and left it open in case they change their minds.
They got back to me offering for it to only apply after a probationary period. I used failing probationary as an example of how bad that clause would be for me in the worst case in my response declining their offer, gotta keep the options open after all and I think they latched onto that.
Anyway I once again re-voiced my concerns and I flat out told them I won't agree to be locked out of an entire industry country wide post termination - especially if through no fault of my own. I also mentioned politely that there was nothing offered in return to me for the clause.
Now being that I declined the offer and flatly stated that I don't want the job if it has that particular clause, they've asked me speak to them in person. I'm concerned that they want me to gain knowledge of their competitor, my current employer and then burn me after the fact so I end up stuck.
So, do I go and see what they say? Or do I decline? Is this actually a normal situation when negotiating a contract? They've said it'd be best to talk about this in person rather than via email or phone.