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  • 1.  Job hunt: Accept the job offer in-hand or wait for the job you really want?

    Posted 05-23-2019 04:37 PM

    This question was posed to me by an ASCE young professional who wishes to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, and it's a common enough quandary that I thought others may benefit from this discussion. Here's his dilemma, what do you think? 

     The dilemma: A recent college graduate has a job offer in-hand that he believes would be a good fit and would be a great launch into his career (we'll call this Job 1). At the same time, there is a second job he is interested in and has begun the job process for; however he is not far enough in the process to know if he will receive an offer (we'll call this Job 2). Job 2 is potentially an even better fit, and the engineer is not sure what to do.

    His questions:

    1. If he's really interested in possible Job 2, should he tell those in Job 1, or maybe ask for an extension on the Job 1 offer acceptance window?
    2. Should he accept the offer for Job 1, and then if an offer for Job 2 materializes, quit Job 1 (assuming job 1 started) and go to Job 2? Should he be worried about potential future repercussions if he accepts Job 1, and then quits Job 1 before he starts or immediately after it starts?

    My thoughts: If I was him, I'd go to my contacts related to Job 2 immediately (within the Job 1 offer acceptance window), and say: "I have another offer, and I have to make a decision. If you would like me to consider coming to work here, let's discuss your offer terms. Otherwise, I'll need to go a different direction at this time." In my opinion, if you have an offer in-hand that you believe would be a good fit, and are unable to secure, in writing, the second offer, unless finances are not a concern for you I'd accept the first one and discontinue the job process with Job 2 since you did give them a chance to make you an offer. As a word of caution, employers know that usually when someone asks for an offer acceptance extension, they don't really want to work there and are just using the first offer to get another offer elsewhere. Asking for an extension to weigh your options doesn't bode well for your long-term success at Job 1 if you end up working there, as colleagues will assume you are just "biding your time" until something better comes along.

    Stephanie Slocum P.E.,M.ASCE
    Engineers Rising LLC

  • 2.  RE: Job hunt: Accept the job offer in-hand or wait for the job you really want?

    Posted 05-24-2019 08:44 AM
    Hi, this is a common issue to any job seeker.

    I will tackle the topic from a professional viewpoint; I think that any job seeker should consider the offer that best fits his expertise, otherwise, he (she) will not be successful in fulfilling his job obligations if beyond his or her expertise and eventually will become a failure.

    Best Regard

    Ala Al-Kazzaz M.ASCE
    Procurement Consultant
    World Bank
    Holly Springs NC

  • 3.  RE: Job hunt: Accept the job offer in-hand or wait for the job you really want?

    Posted 05-24-2019 11:18 AM
    One job might offer a better career path, but the other may offer more lifestyle advantages.

    Factors that are not mentioned include:

     - amount of travel time
     - amount of field time
     - commute time
     - where you want to live
     - work hours per week
     - benefits
     - ownership structure of the firms

    If job 1 does not offer any advantages in these departments, ask for the extension and do not give a reason... it could be anything and not necessarily another opportunity.  

    Chad Morrison P.E.,M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
    (401)231-4870 EXT 2207

  • 4.  RE: Job hunt: Accept the job offer in-hand or wait for the job you really want?

    Posted 05-24-2019 04:54 PM
    I think Stephanie's answer is very appropriate.

    Item 2 is potential career disaster.  Unless Job 1 and Job 2 are in completely different parts of the country, People from Job 1 know people from Job 2, and will remember the employee, and will not be polite in what they say about what the new employee did.  The civil engineering community in Houston TX, the 4th largest city in the US, is much smaller than you would think.  In my 15 years in the private practice side of civil engineering, I have worked with, hired from, had employees leave to or come back from 90% of the civil engineering companies in Houston.  Item 2 is a pretty big bridge burner.  If you accept a job, always think that the minimum length of time that you are going to stay is a year.  If for some reason you need to leave before then, it needs to be for a better reason than you got a job that fit better.  

    Note, this same concept applies to using the interview process at a potential new company, to get a better pay offer from your existing company.  Don't do it.  I was told by senior management at one of my employers that if I ever brought that particular employees name in with a recommendation to hire, that I would be fired.  Interviewing and selecting skilled candidates is a time consuming and expensive process, especially so for skilled employees.  Companies cannot afford to waste their time on potential employees that are not serious about coming aboard, and will not hesitate to place those using candidates on the not eligible for hire list.

    I agree with Stephanie's assessment of number 1 too.  Unless you are very unusual, and have some specific experience that they are trying to hire, the job 1's number 2 prospect will be given your job while you are waiting.

    My recommendation is take Job 1.  There is no way from the outside to know if you are a great fit until you have been there a while.  That's why many companies have a 90 day burn in period.  You might like the work, but hate the commute, or people, or hours.  They might like you, but hate your communication style, work ethic, etc.  After a year with Job 1, you may decide you love them, you will be better qualified, and probably be able to get a better position at Job 2 anyway, or may decide that Job 3 is better for you than either of the initial options.

    Dwayne Culp, Ph.D., Ph.D.,M.ASCE
    Culp Engineering, LLC
    Rosenberg TX