Job Offers: Asking for More Time
The excitement of receiving a job or internship offer can be a relief. After dozens of resumes, and rounds and rounds of interviews, there’s finally an end in sight. But what if you’re still waiting to hear back from another employer?
Let’s play out a hypothetical situation. You get a job/internship offer from Company ABC, and they’ve asked you to make a decision within a week. However, you’d rather work at XYZ, where you’re still in the process of interviewing.
If you’re hesitant to let ABC know you’re pursuing other opportunities, you can refer them to the iSchool’s recruiting policy, which stipulates how long employers should give students to respond to offers. Since many employers aren’t aware of the policy, passing it along would be a tactful way of letting them know you need more time to make a decision.
That being said, I generally advise students to be transparent when working with employers. They know students pursue numerous opportunities, so letting ABC know you’re waiting to hear back elsewhere shouldn’t be a deal breaker.
If you’re comfortable going this route, I’d first tell XYZ you’ve received a competing offer but are still interested in their role, and are wondering if they could expedite your interview process. Assuming they have genuine interest in hiring you, making accommodations shouldn’t be an issue. Offering some flexibility on your end (i.e., offering to interview at an off-hour, schedule a Skype interview, etc.) can help.
Now reach out to ABC. Demonstrate your appreciation, but be straightforward. Something like:
“Thank you for the opportunity to work as [position title] on your team. I am excited at the chance to do such interesting, meaningful work. Before making a final decision, I wanted to let you know I am in the process of interviewing with another company. While I am truly appreciative of your offer, I want to make sure I consider all available opportunities. I have reached out to the other company and asked if they could expedite the interview process, and I should be able to make a final decision regarding your offer by [date].*”
*If XYZ has given you a specific date by which they’ll be able to give you an answer, add one or two days to be safe.
You may, however, not receive a specific date from XYZ. In that case, you can combine the above message with a mention of the recruiting policy. Something like:
“I have reached out to the other company and asked if they could expedite the interview process, and will let you know as soon as I hear back. I did also want to mention that the Information School has a recruiting policy* that asks employers to give students until November 30 to make a decision, and I was hoping ABC would honor this date.”
*Make sure to link to the recruiting policy page on the website.
Maintain contact with ABC as you’re finishing up with XYZ. Let them know if/when you’ve scheduled an interview, and if you ultimately receive an offer. Continued communication with ABC will reflect your professionalism.
Should you end up with multiple offers, it’ll be time to weigh the pros and con of both opportunities. Consider more than just salary — company culture, upward mobility, vacation, benefits, and stock options are also important factors, just to name a few. You can also negotiate with both companies on these fronts, and will have additional leverage to do so with competing offers in hand.
Making the decision:
After you’ve evaluated your options and finished negotiating, it’s finally decision time. Accepting the job you’ve chosen is easy. For the one you’re declining, be honest and graceful in communicating your decision to the company. Read here and here for advice on tastefully turning down an offer.
What to avoid:
During the process of pursuing multiple opportunities, there are some things to avoid doing. Most importantly, do not accept an offer and continue interviewing elsewhere. This is unprofessional and could very well cost you the job you’ve accepted. Additionally, it reflects poorly on the iSchool, and might affect how willing that employer is to work with future students. You can find our recruitment policy for students here.
If you’re interested in more information on preparing to negotiate, watch this recording of a past workshop.
(Please RSVP via iCareers for any iSchool event you plan to attend, unless otherwise noted.)
11/03: ProQuest Office Hours; 12:30 – 2:00pm, MGH 173R
Representative from ProQuest will be on campus to discuss openings for their part-time Content Support Specialist position (iCareers ID 5315). Job has potential to transition into full-time work.
11/03: A Day in the Life: Online Interview with Kathryn Cuff, UW MLIS Alumna and Sr. Content Business Analyst at ProQuest; 7:00 – 8:00pm, online
Kathryn will share information about finding your first job post-grad school, working in the library and information science field, and more. Join using the above link.
11/09: Career Exploration: MLIS Students; 12:30 – 1:30pm, MGH 224
Still figuring out what exactly you’d like to do with an MLIS degree? Join this session to explore the range of possibilities and narrow your focus.
Career & Internship Center
11/07: Quora InfoSession; 6:00 – 7:30pm, MGH 134
11/08: Graduate Students: Data Science Career Information Night; 4:30 – 6:00pm, SMI 304
11/09: PepsiCo presents: Professional Development and Networking Tips; 12:30 – 1:20pm, MGH 134
11/09: Graduate Students: Data Science Networking Night; 5:00 – 6:30pm, HUB Lyceum
01/19: 2017 Science and Technology Showcase; 5:00 – 7:00pm, Anthony’s Forum (Dempsey Hall)
Are you working on a technology that has potential for commercialization? Participating in STS allows you to further explore the commercialization potential of your science- and technology-based ideas by presenting them to an audience of fellow scientists and engineers, MBA students, and a panel of judges that includes prominent entrepreneurs and investors form the Seattle business community. Apply using the above link. Attend an upcoming Team Formation Night on Wednesday, November 9, from 5:30 to 7:30pm in HUB 145.
Top job/internship opportunities:
- Emerging Leaders Program (ELP): Information Technology, Geico; iCareers ID 900
- Oil Transportation Data Specialist (Environmental Specialist 2), Washington State Department of Ecology; iCareers ID 5382
- Special Collections Student Digitization Technician, UW Libraries; iCareers ID 5392
- Web Authoring Internship, PACCAR; HuskyJobs ID 108933
- Cataloging and Metadata Intern, Smithsonian Gardens; iCareers ID 5422