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I've applied to a number of places, and so far things have been going well.

The problem is in the timing of the interviews.

So far, I've had 2 rounds of in-person interviews with company A, one in-person interview with company B, and a phone screening with company C.

I'm fairly sure that company A will make an offer. Company B outright said that I should expect to be called in for a second in-person interview. Company C has contacted me to schedule an in-person interview.

The problem is this: company C is the closest match to the work environment I am looking for. However, the dates for the in-person interview they're asking me to choose from are in roughly 2 weeks.

I'm concerned about getting an offer from company A before I even get the interview with company C. Even company B might get that second interview scheduled, and follow up with an offer, before I have a chance to interview with company C.

I haven't responded to company C yet (the request came in during round 2 of my interview with company a). Is there a way I can try to get them to see me earlier without giving a bad impression?

  • Largely opinion based, but IMO "NO". They'll ask for a reason why you'd need earlier and even asking is a bad sign to the potential employer. You'll have to choose if a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.... a tough choice to be sure, but then again, at least you have 3 companies to potentially choose from. You could always tell company C the situation and that might make them consider interviewing you earlier. But this might also make them cancel the interview altogether. – bhilgert May 11 '17 at 20:50
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    Depending on the contract between you and company A, you might be able to cancel the contract even before you start working there. So one option would be just accept the offer from company A and when company C gives you an offer you can just cancel Conpany A. – Lars May 11 '17 at 21:10
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    @bhilgert I'm sorry but that's some of the worst advice I've ever heard. Of course you can ask to interview earlier. In fact you should tell them the reason. They're talking to you because they're interested in you. They don't want you to go off the market without talking to you. So unless they literally cannot do it, they'll reschedule earlier without a problem. No recruiter who wasn't completely incompetent would ever have a problem with you asking to move things up. (Now due to availability of interviewers they may not be able to- but that's another matter). – Gabe Sechan May 12 '17 at 4:33
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    @bhilgert He already has the bird in his hand AND two in the bush. So really either he accepts company A without giving B and C a change. Or he asks company B and C for earlier inteviews. At worse they say no, he can then accept company A there offer. At best they say yes and has more options. – Jeroen May 12 '17 at 8:56
  • @GabeSechan In bhilgert's defense, that was exactly my concern, which is why I asked the question. I'm really surprised that this question is so poorly received. No upvotes, and one unexplained downvote. I think fearing a loss of the interview with the preferred company is a legitimate concern, and apparently I'm not the only one who would be worried about it. I did follow the advice and ask; now to see what happens. – Beofett May 12 '17 at 14:05
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Ask. Some companies will ask you about your timeline in an effort to make sure that they can move through the process before you are faced with a timeline for another offer. Telling a company that you're actively on the market (no surprise--you're interviewing with them) and would like to see whether they have some flexibility is not inherently problematic.

This is especially the case if you can tell them -- hey, you are a really attractive company to me, I want to make sure we have a chance to see whether this is a good fit.

Of course, maybe they won't be able to, in which case you'll need to manage the other timelines as best you are able to. If your preferences are C > B > A and you're doing well then maybe it won't matter -- you can get an offer from B before you need to make a decision on A etc.

[As for the comments: accepting an offer only to back our days later seems to me an inferior option -- it's far more likely you can delay getting the offer (or making a decision, or extending the negotiation process etc.) without doing something that should feel a little ethically questionable.]

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    Yup - you can always ask, you don't have to provide a reason, but be prepared for them to say no. – HorusKol May 11 '17 at 23:01
  • I definitely agree that backing out of an offer after accepting is poor form. I don't want to burn bridges. – Beofett May 11 '17 at 23:14
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From my experience I tell you that you should ask.

I've been in the same situation and being honest turned out pretty well. I told them I was interviewing at others companies at the same time , and that some of them already made an offer but they (company C) were my first choice , and that I would realy like to have an answer from them before accepting (or not) the offer from an other company.

They told me they understood the problem , and scheduled an interview pretty fast.

As long as you show them you're honest about them being your first choice , I don't see how this can give a bad impression.

In the case they disagree , as suggested you should try your best to manage your timeline the closest possible way to what you want. You could ask A how much time you've got before giving your answer because you need some time to reflect and make your choice. Same goes for B if they make an offer.

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    No idea why this answer (or my question) got a downvote. Seems good advice. +1 from me. – Beofett May 12 '17 at 14:06

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