I’m a graduate student about to finish his dissertation. During the last two months, I applied to several jobs, one of which, is the most exciting and well-paid of the bunch. I had an interview and everything seemed OK. However, I didn’t hear back from the employer in almost two months later and assumed that, since the position was so attractive, there had been many applicants and someone with better qualifications had been chosen.
As any person in need of a job, I did what was most logical and continued applying to other posts. One of these applications went well, but just in the verge of signing the contract, I got an email from the employer I had been excited about telling me to “formalize” my application in their online portal.
I’m unsure if this means they are offering me the job or just that further selection will take place with a narrower set of applications. In the former case, I’d decline the contract I’m about to sign and go for the offer from my preferred employer; in the latter, I’d better play safe and stick to the position I’m about to get signed to.
Is it acceptable to ask and employer if his offer is definitive? How to do it without embarrassing myself?