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I've been interviewing with a number of companies over the past 2 months.

Company A has done 3 technical tests, 1 in-person, and 1 phone interview. I'm really interested in this company and all the interviews have been a big investment on my end. Moderate commute (1 hr) but they are using ReactJS which is what I was using at my last job.

Company B has been the same but a very slow interview process. B has the longest commute (1.5 hrs).

Company C has come in in the past 2 weeks and only done 2 interviews and is being very pushy. One key member is leaving next Wed and they want to have some time overlapping with him. The commute is short (30 mins) but the technology is not really in line with what I have been doing in the past couple of years. It's Ionic.

Company C have not sent me an offer yet but the recruiter is being extremely pushy calling me 2 times a day to get a sense of how I feel about the other companies. I don't feel that I know this company all that well yet (only 30 mins phone call and 1 hr in-person) interview. I didn't get to meet anyone else in the office and it looks like it's mostly independent work which means I won't get a lot of mentorship (I'm a mid-level dev). The recruiter said he would only give me one day to decide on any offer. I feel too pressured and that this is also a rash decision on the end of company C. They just want a replacement for the person who is leaving ASAP.

I'm unemployed but I don't want to take an offer at company C only to invest time and energy into learning Ionic if that's not what I want to do for the next couple of years. I'm not sure if it's a good move for me. However, if I don't do what company C wants I might end up with nothing at all and have to spend more time on interviewing and I don't want to do that.

I feel that this company C is moving too fast. How can I bide my time with them? Is their speed a red flag?

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    I'm struggling to understand what question you're asking. – Chris G Apr 19 '17 at 21:49
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    It sounds like Company C is pressuring you to a deadline (the team member leaving), so you will probably get a lot of resistance to slowing down. Is it instead possible to speed up the decisions at Company A/B? It seems you should be pretty close to the end of the process by now. – user812786 Apr 19 '17 at 22:13
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    No I am not employed. If I got a written offer from C then I would let A/B know but it. However, the recruiter wanted me to do an after hours phone call because the 'manger needs to know tonight'. – Audra Quinn Apr 19 '17 at 22:18
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    FWIW, given the speed of change in JS technologies, there's a good chance you will have to relearn/replace your tooling, no matter which frameworks you choose. Experience building projects in JS transcends the particulars of any one hammer. – mcknz Apr 19 '17 at 23:10
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    Please rank company A,B,C, in terms of total desirability (job, mentoring, commute, everything). As to "[Company C] just want a replacement for the person who is leaving ASAP" , well ask (both the mgr and the recruiter) why that person's leaving in such a hurry? That's a slight red/dark orange flag on their side, depending on why. Anyway, it's easier to hurry up A,B than slow down C. Try to get an offer from A or B on the table soon then you are in a stronger position. Ultimately, are you prepared to risk C expiring in order to not upset A or B? Only you can tell us. – smci Nov 20 '18 at 0:41
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How to delay time with a 'short time bomb' offer?

Be direct -- tell the recruiter what you consider a reasonable deadline for making the decision. If you need a week, say so. Your deadline should include time to communicate and negotiate with the other companies. Having multiple offers is great leverage, but only if you have time to negotiate properly.

Recruiters sometimes use the threat of an "exploding offer" to manufacture a sense of urgency, where the fear of missing out will make a candidate more likely to accept. Be careful of this trap.

There are legitimate circumstances for an exploding offer -- for example, if a company needs to fill a position for work that needs to start ASAP, sometimes having someone in that role is higher priority than having the "best" or ideal candidate.

The recruiter should be able to spell out exactly why the offer is only good for one day. The fact that the person you would replace is leaving does not necessarily indicate urgency.

I feel that this company C is moving too fast. How can I bide my time with them? Is their speed a red flag?

Speed in and of itself is not a red flag, given the nature of the software industry. Red flags would include a process that is disorganized or haphazard, or a recruiter who is unpleasant, unreasonable, or pushy.

By setting your timeline for considering an offer, you'll know whether or not the exploding offer is an empty threat or not.

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    Speed is not a red flag, but asking for an after-hours phone call to force a decision in only hours looks at least dark orange to me. – skymningen Apr 20 '17 at 13:07
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"The recruiter said he would only give me one day to decide on any offer"

The recruiter only gets paid when you accept the position, so of course he's trying to push you. A general rule in sales is that if the offer is good today, it'll still be good tomorrow. If they're really in a jamb, you have the upper hand in any salary negotiations.

Do you have any offers on the table from company A or company B yet? Only you can decide which job you want - so look at the knowns and unknowns with Company C; visit them again to nail down any unknowns.

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"Only" two interviews is not necessarily a deal killer. Actually, after two interviews, I'd consider too many unpaid demands upon your time as excessive.

DON'T let this recruiter pressure you. DO perform a little homework on the firm that the recruiter works for. If you can't find anything, that in itself might be a red flag. Any firm that's been around for less than ten years might also be suspect. And then at the very bottom of the spectrum, there are the companies that chew up and spit out hordes and hordes of new college graduates and anyone in India (with a phone and a decent English accent) who can talk a little "tech" -- turnover is EXTRA high. These latter two groups of recruiters should be avoided like the Black Plague, because they'll tell you just about anything to get a body into a position so the firm can earn the standard 10% commission.

In short, don't be rushed in one or two days to make a decision that's going to take years to come back from. Go into the situation with both eyes open. Be critical! Is the department the right size? Does the business have a QA department? SDLC? Consider the tenets of "The Joel Test". Whatever you do, don't make any decisions based on any fast, designed-to-get-you-emotional conversation. If it's not what you're looking for, bail!

As for a "stall" - you might suddenly declare a death in the family on the other end of the country, that you need to attend to. See what happens with the recruiter. If that person still behaves like the proverbial horse's ass, you know what you're working with.

  • I don't think that lying to someone is the best precedent to set with a potential new employer... – Catija Apr 19 '17 at 23:01
  • You have missed the entire essence of my post. The recruiter is not the employer. The recruiter is a mercenary. – Xavier J Apr 19 '17 at 23:06
  • That doesn't prevent the "mercenary" from telling the company "Applicant X needs a week because their grandmother died"... which, if the OP takes the job means a uncomfortable first few days on the job with the boss concerned about the new employee's mental health. – Catija Apr 19 '17 at 23:08
  • I have worked on and off recruiters for 20 years. those that stay in the business for very long high-pressure tactics like telling the applicant that there are one or two days in which to make a decision. Very often, the employer is willing to give a more reasonable amount of time, but the recruiter is looking to get some bills paid and they lie. – Xavier J Apr 19 '17 at 23:10
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Here's the thing: It's not your problem yet. You don't have the offer in hand, and so you're not on the clock.

The first thing to do is to tell the recruiter to put up or shut up. When he says "you only have 1 day to accept the offer", you should reply by saying "Does that mean there's an offer on the way?" and see what happens. That gives you some understanding of where you are and some time to prepare. I'm going to spend the rest of this answer assuming the recruiter says the offer is coming; if the offer is not coming, then you should tell the recruiter: "If the offer is not coming, then it seems to me that it's not super urgent to the company, so I intend to take my time and carefully consider my options when I receive it. Please be aware of that in advance". I have used something close to this line on recruiters in the past and it has successfully allowed me to defuse their "time-bomb" offers into more reasonable time-scales.

In the meantime, you should contact companies A and B and let them know that you have an offer coming (don't say who it's from; they won't ask you, and volunteering the information could only do more harm than good). Make it very evident that you would like to work there (A or B) and make sure to emphasize that if they would like to submit their offers then you will give them their due consideration, but you can't wait forever. This will speed them up and let you know if you have other offers coming and what the details are. Then you can consider your options once you have everything in hand. There's nothing wrong with prodding a slow HR department to be faster, if you have a good reason for doing so.

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"The recruiter said he would only give me one day to decide on any offer."

Generally I'd say walk away from anyone putting unreasonable time pressure on you, but you say you're unemployed, currently.

Given that, I'd make the recruiter a counter-offer that should satisfy everyone:

Offer to come in for a full-day at Company C to "Shadow" the person who is leaving as soon as possible. That will give you a good opportunity to evaluate the company, and it will be a full day of knowledge transfer, so they should be happy as well.

If I were you, I'd make my decision about Company C that day (as to what you'd expect for pay, if you want to work there, etc.) and be prepared with your answer by the next morning.

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