The good and bad of multiple interviews
The good news is, you’ve been interviewing for a position you’re interested in (Job #1). Things are looking really good.
The better news is that you’ve been selected for an in-person interview for your “dream job”!
The bad news is that the dream job interview isn’t for at least another 2 weeks!
What do you do?
NEVER count your chickens before they’re hatched
Unless you have a firm, written job offer in hand, you have NOTHING, so keep on interviewing.
The only thing guaranteed in life are death and taxes, so that “dream job” interview and Job #1 could disappear for any number of reasons.
There’s no point in overthinking and trying to address countless “what-ifs”. It’s a waste of time and is only going to stress you out more.
In this case, I recommend that you move forward with both positions and then deal with things as they come.
The top 2 things to identify before throwing your hat in the ring
Like I’ve always pointed out in previous blogs, planning and preparation is key in the job search process.
Before you start interviewing with anyone, you need to decide what you’re going to do if faced with a situation when there’s more than one opportunity on the line.
#1: What’s your target position?
Get crystal clear on the type of position you’re aiming for in terms of the job function and industry.
It would also be helpful to know what kind of companies would be the best fit for you, that way you can narrow down your search. For instance, are you more of a large company person or prefer a start-up?
The more decisive you are about these things, the easier it will be for you to decide which interviews to attend or not.
Which brings me to the next point……
#2: What’s your specific criteria for accepting a job offer?
Determine what constitutes an offer that you would accept.
Notice I say accept and not consider. Everyone has a bottom line which typically translates into money, but it should also go well beyond that.
Some factors you must consider are things like:
- Compensation (salary, benefits, bonuses, vacation)
- Work/life balance (flexibility)
- Advancement/personal development
- Commute time
- Company culture
- Reporting structure
If you can determine this before you start interviewing that would be ideal, but you probably won’t know all the factors until you’ve completed at least the first, second, or even third interview.
As soon as you know which positions do NOT meet your minimum requirements, it might be a good idea to eliminate them completely to make yourself available for more ideal roles.
For instance, if the position is well beyond your commute criteria, that will become a problem so if I were you, I wouldn’t bother considering it.
The only reason you might want to interview with a company that is not on your preferred list is to practice interviewing which wouldn’t be a bad idea. It’s also a good way to network and to find out about other jobs that might be more up your alley if the company is a good fit.
You might have more time than you think
The interview process often takes a long time, so there’s no point in worrying about getting an offer from Job #1 (your second choice) because it could take many weeks – or might never happen for a multitude or reasons.
Once again, until you have a firm offer you are willing to accept, you keep interviewing.
Even if you were to get a job offer from Job #1 and accept it, the start date could be a few weeks away so that would buy you some time to get Job #2 interviews underway.
This means you might potentially have to quit Job #1 before you’ve even started or resign soon after starting which is why you need to figure out what you would do when faced with these kinds of situations so you can move forward with confidence.
You might be able to delay the process
If you get an offer from Job #1 but haven’t interviewed yet (or haven’t finished interviewing) for Job #2, you could try delaying the process with Job #1.
You might request a meet and greet with the staff and tour the office before signing or accepting their offer. This could potentially take a few days, a week, or even longer to set which would buy you some time to complete the interview(s) with Job #2.
If Job #1 can set up the meeting right away it wouldn’t help you to delay the process, but it would let you evaluate the opportunity more deeply. For instance, You might decide it is the “perfect fit”, take the offer, and forget Job #2 altogether. This would be the least disruptive outcome.
But it can get complicated……
Or, you could take the Job #1 offer and try to buy more time by delaying your start date and keep interviewing with Job #2 but this does put you in the awkward position of not starting Job #1 or starting and then quitting soon after.
Or, you could take the risk and forget Job #1 and hope for the best with Job #2, knowing that you might not get past the first interview. It’s a risk because you could end up with nothing at the end of all this.
This is why it’s important to know exactly what you want and what you’re willing to risk.
How to speed up the process with the dream job
You could tell Job #2 that you have an offer in hand, but much prefer their opportunity and would appreciate it if you could meet with them right away in hopes of expediting the whole process. Sometimes this works, but many companies simply won’t break from their process.
You must take care of your needs
At the end of the day, accepting an offer and going to another interview only to decline the first offer and take the second has been done many times. Trust me, you won’t be the only one!
Most companies only care about their bottom line so it’s okay to care just as much about your “bottom line”. The company will survive if you accept their offer only to decline it for another.
It’s obviously better to avoid this awkward scenario but the way things are set up in the hiring process, it’s almost inevitable, so don’t let this prevent you from interviewing for multiple positions.
What are you willing to risk?
As you can see, interviewing with multiple employers can get a bit messy due to the timing which is mostly beyond your control.
If you decide to decline Job #1 offer at the 11th hour or resign from Job #1 because you accepted Job #2’s offer, you’ll need to communicate this change of heart as professionally as you can to Job #1.
However, you need to be mindful of what the repercussion would be to your career if you were to jump ship. Would a last-minute change of direction hurt your reputation and your candidacy for future opportunities? If your new employer caught wind of this, would it hurt your chances for advancement? These are the kinds of things you need to think about.
At the end of the day, it’s your career. You need to live with yourself and any fallout as a result of your actions.
You might choose to not do anything which makes you feel uncomfortable, even if it means losing out on one or more opportunities. It’s your call.
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Hi! I’m Diana.
I draw from over 15 years recruitment, career/job search coaching, and sales/marketing experience to help all kinds of jobseekers stand out, get noticed, and get hired for their dream job.
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