Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dear CR: I've Got A Job Offer... Now What?


So how would you recommend a candidate handle the delicate situation where he/she has been offered a job that is acceptable, however there are still a few other opportunities in progress with high potential that they want to see if it turns into an offer. Is it better to accept the job, pushing out the start date a brief period (say 2 or 3 weeks) to allow time for the other opportunities to succeed / fail. Or is it better to just delay accepting the job until those other opportunities succeed / fail? If so, how would you explain this to the company that offered the job? In general, would companies understand and accept this? Or should you just say goodbye to those other opportunities and take the job?




You've got a good problem in this economy. My gut reaction is that you should take the offer since it feels reasonable, but that may not be the best advice. Let's take a deeper look...

The company that extended the offer revealed their hand too quickly. They should have asked you, "If I extend you a fair offer today, would you take it?" Your answer to them would tell them how interested you really are in the company. Maybe they are desperate to hire someone or maybe they just goofed, and you'll never really know.

Let's be honest about one thing. Not accepting this offer is gambling, there's no doubt about that. Someone is willing to pay you something now and you may not find another opportunity for a while. When you get another offer, it could suck more than your current so-so opportunity.

So... your current job offer won't be good forever. You'd be wise to get an offer in writing from them, otherwise it's not a real offer. An offer in writing SHOULD come with an expiration date. Then you know how much time you have to keep looking.

My I-gave-it-more-thought advice is this. Talk to your significant other, or (in absence of a partner) talk to you significant reflection, and ask how supportive they'd be if you decided to reject the offer and keep looking. The stress of gambling isn't worth it if everyone isn't on board. To bust out a Wheel of Fortune metaphor, unless everyone that counts on you (including you) says "spin the wheel", my solicited 2 cents says "solve the puzzle".

As for getting another job offer, there's nothing that prevents you from interviewing other places. It'd have to be a pretty good offer to want to leave a job you just started, and in that case it's probably worth taking. Just remember, the world is smaller than you think, and you can only piss off so many people before it catches up with you. Still, If I'd just taken command of USS Not-That-Bad and someone came along and offered me command of the USS Enterprise, I'd jump ship in a microsecond!


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