Job Offer While Waiting To Hear Back from Another Company
I've been getting some questions lately from job seekers waiting to find out of they have a job offer from a company they would prefer to work for, and yet they are sitting with at least one job offer already in hand. What to do?
Understandably, this is a tough choice to make. Do I wait for the one I really want and risk losing the job offer I have? Is there anything I can do now to push the company I want along?
Should you tell the preferred company what's going on?
First it's important to take a deep breath and know that you will find an answer, one way of another. Hiring decisions can take far longer than you or they ever imagine – even with all the best intentions on their part. The company that you really want has its own schedule. And while there are actions you can take to help you get to the job you have your heart set on, it helps to not get so caught up in the understandable tension and the feeling that "I must get them to decide" that you lose sight of the reality of the situation – including what you can and can't control. And you also don't want to lose sight of the positive side of it … you have an actual offer!
What should you tell the preferred employer?
I would start with a call to the person you connected with most. If they don't respond to your call that day, send an email. Remember that your goal is to convey the situation clearly and quickly, without looking like you are trying to push them to meet ONLY your needs – even though you of course are. But some employers respond badly if they feel pressured. So tread gently. Tell them as concisely as possible that you understand that they have a lot going on (shows you are aware of their process needs), but that you have another offer and would really prefer to work for them. Ask if there is any way that they can help. That's probably the best you can do at this point.
Again, be very polite and respectful – and as natural as possible. Don't try to play them. They can sense that. If they can't give you an answer within a few days and the other place is pushing for an answer, then you'll have to decide whether to say yes or let the for-sure offer go. Trust your gut.
A few more thoughts
In the meantime, use the waiting time to make sure which job you really would prefer. Sometimes long delays or non-responsiveness are just normal (even the best companies can take longer than we'd wish), but sometimes they are indications of how a company might be to work for. So do some online research and see if you find any "reviews" or stories that might help you be sure. If you know people who work there, even better. But again … don't push too hard, especially if you don't already know the person. I've been in companies where last minute super-aggressive flurries to get strangers to push for them lost the candidate the job.
One more thought … you never know what a job is really like until you work there. I once took a job I didn't want as much because the second offer got delayed. But I wound up meeting people who became dear friends – and found my next job through someone in the less-preferred company. So even the "wrong" job can turn out right.