Accept Offer Before Possible Better Offer?


Ginny writes:
I graduated from graduate school 9 months ago and have been looking for a
good career supporting job since that time. I interviewed with Company A last
week and it went very well. This is my first choice for employment and I am
almost certain that I will be offered a position. I will find out in 2 weeks. If they
do offer me a position it will be conditional based upon passing a security
clearance (which shouldn’t be a problem) but will take a minimum of 6 months.
Three days after my interview with Company A I was offered a position at
Company B to start immediately. This isn’t my top choice of job for my
career but it is with a good stable company with good benefits and salary.
My dilemma is this: Do I accept company B’s offer and then resign if Company A’s
offer comes through in 6 months? Personally I believe this to be ethically
reprehensible. But Company A’s offer isn’t in stone and I don’t want to be left
unemployed for potentially another year.



The Career Doctor responds:
My mother taught me to believe that the bird in the hand is worth two in the
bush… meaning that the job offer in hand is a lot more valuable than one that
may come down the road some time — especially one six months away. So if I
had no further information I would accept the offer from Company B.
That said of course I think you have some alternatives. I would inform my contact
at Company A that I had another job offer and while I preferred to work for
Company A I could not afford to wait six months for a job offer. Perhaps there is
room for a compromise such as conditional employment pending the final background screening. If Company A is not willing to work with you on a compromise I would
accept Company B’s offer and see what happens. In six months you might find
you really enjoy the work at Company B. And if Company A does decide to hire
you conditionally be sure to politely decline the offer from Company B so as
not to burn any bridges there.
Learn more about negotiating job offers in the
Salary Negotiation Tools section of Quintessential Careers.

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Ginny writes:
I graduated from graduate school 9 months ago and have been looking for a
good career supporting job since that time. I interviewed with Company A last
week and it went very well. This is my first choice for employment and I am
almost certain that I will be offered a position. I will find out in 2 weeks. If they
do offer me a position it will be conditional based upon passing a security
clearance (which shouldn’t be a problem) but will take a minimum of 6 months.
Three days after my interview with Company A I was offered a position at
Company B to start immediately. This isn’t my top choice of job for my
career but it is with a good stable company with good benefits and salary.
My dilemma is this: Do I accept company B’s offer and then resign if Company A’s
offer comes through in 6 months? Personally I believe this to be ethically
reprehensible. But Company A’s offer isn’t in stone and I don’t want to be left
unemployed for potentially another year.



The Career Doctor responds:
My mother taught me to believe that the bird in the hand is worth two in the
bush… meaning that the job offer in hand is a lot more valuable than one that
may come down the road some time — especially one six months away. So if I
had no further information I would accept the offer from Company B.
That said of course I think you have some alternatives. I would inform my contact
at Company A that I had another job offer and while I preferred to work for
Company A I could not afford to wait six months for a job offer. Perhaps there is
room for a compromise such as conditional employment pending the final background screening. If Company A is not willing to work with you on a compromise I would
accept Company B’s offer and see what happens. In six months you might find
you really enjoy the work at Company B. And if Company A does decide to hire
you conditionally be sure to politely decline the offer from Company B so as
not to burn any bridges there.
Learn more about negotiating job offers in the
Salary Negotiation Tools section of Quintessential Careers.