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How long can you postpone a job offer?


samman1994
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Hello everyone,

So if anyone has read my previous posts, this is an extension to that. 

So I had 3 potential job offers, and was awaiting a response from all of them. I was told 2 of them would take 2 weeks, and one of them would take 1 week. However, I don't know if they really liked me, or just said two weeks so they had a workable timeframe, I just got a job offer from one of the 2 week ones. As per my previous post, this is from the small start up company for 40k/yr with benefits. I am awaiting another job offer next week (I don't think this will be better than my current offer), and another one in 2 weeks. The one in 2 weeks is the big pharma 45k/yr with stock options. 

My question now is, how long can I postpone accepting the offer? I think I can tell them I'd like to give them my decision next week (at this point I'll have heard back from at least on of the interviews), but is postponing for 2 weeks too long? Secondly, I told them this was my ideal job and I'd love to be a part of the company (which is true, this was my first pick until I received info regarding the 45k/yr with benefits and took into account big pharma could be a great resume builder), so would they be insulted/offended if I didn't accept it right away? 

I don't know if this is a factor, but they told me they also would like me to start immediately (Monday of next week). I've already called my current job and told them I'm leaving, but I don't want to lose this job offer, only to wait 2 weeks and find out the other company said no. It also appears to be a general concensus however the big pharma offer is a better deal. Thank you ahead of time, and sorry for all these posts! This is my first "big" job in the pharma industry and my future career, and I really don't want to burn any bridges or lost my chance to get my foot in the door. 

Just a bit more info: The current job offer is an R&D job at a small company. The Big pharma job is manufacturing. I do plan on pursuing a career in R&D after my PhD, not manufacturing. Finally, I do plan on leaving summer of next year for my PhD, so I'd only work for a little over half a year. This may upset the company, and if it comes down to burning bridges, I'd much rather burn the small start ups bridges than the already established big pharma company. 

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Most HR departments have a set timelimit for holding positions. American standard is 2 weeks, but it will depend on their company policies.

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Congrats on getting the job!

I think the next step is to actually decide between this one and the "Big Pharma" one. It sounds like you really do like this job better so if you prefer it, then you should take it. Despite what I said in the other thread, I personally would pick this one over the Big Pharma position. Personally, for something meant to fill a year between undergrad and grad school, the difference in salary is not worth the extra commute and the less interesting job. But I answered the other thread based on what you stated your own priorities were, so the best answer depends on each person of course.

I'm not familiar with employment through contracting companies---it's not clear if this is one of those positions (like you wrote about in the weeks prior) or if you are being directly hired by the small biotech firm. If it's a direct hire, can you ask for a better compensation package? What if you said that you did some more research about these positions and you believe a fair salary would be $45k per year? As far as I know, most industry jobs expect you to negotiate, but if this is one of those contractor thingys then I don't know how that works.

If this salary bump is the main reason you prefer the other job then this is probably the best thing to do. What I mean is that you should only proceed to negotiate if you plan on accepting if you get what you want.

In addition, the process of making the request and them considering then making their decision known to you will take up some time. Maybe you'll here from the Big Pharma company in a few days too.

Or, you can just ask them if you can have some time to think about the offer. I would normally say you might consider whether or not you want to say there's a potential for another offer so you would like a little more time. However, this would seem odd given that you told them their job is your ideal job. If they made the offer based on the thinking that you would love to be there, then this action might change how they feel about you. In addition, because this is a small, 50-person company, it's not like you can just blend in and be anonymous.

Note that you should take this advice at your own risk! Nothing is certain and it's not unheard of for companies to change their mind if the candidate tries to ask for more time or negotiate. But this is probably a sign that you might not want to work there anyways. Just some things to think about here.

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1 hour ago, samman1994 said:

Hello everyone,

So if anyone has read my previous posts, this is an extension to that. 

So I had 3 potential job offers, and was awaiting a response from all of them. I was told 2 of them would take 2 weeks, and one of them would take 1 week. However, I don't know if they really liked me, or just said two weeks so they had a workable timeframe, I just got a job offer from one of the 2 week ones. As per my previous post, this is from the small start up company for 40k/yr with benefits. I am awaiting another job offer next week (I don't think this will be better than my current offer), and another one in 2 weeks. The one in 2 weeks is the big pharma 45k/yr with stock options. 

My question now is, how long can I postpone accepting the offer? I think I can tell them I'd like to give them my decision next week (at this point I'll have heard back from at least on of the interviews), but is postponing for 2 weeks too long? Secondly, I told them this was my ideal job and I'd love to be a part of the company (which is true, this was my first pick until I received info regarding the 45k/yr with benefits and took into account big pharma could be a great resume builder), so would they be insulted/offended if I didn't accept it right away? 

I don't know if this is a factor, but they told me they also would like me to start immediately (Monday of next week). I've already called my current job and told them I'm leaving, but I don't want to lose this job offer, only to wait 2 weeks and find out the other company said no. It also appears to be a general concensus however the big pharma offer is a better deal. Thank you ahead of time, and sorry for all these posts! This is my first "big" job in the pharma industry and my future career, and I really don't want to burn any bridges or lost my chance to get my foot in the door. 

Just a bit more info: The current job offer is an R&D job at a small company. The Big pharma job is manufacturing. I do plan on pursuing a career in R&D after my PhD, not manufacturing. Finally, I do plan on leaving summer of next year for my PhD, so I'd only work for a little over half a year. This may upset the company, and if it comes down to burning bridges, I'd much rather burn the small start ups bridges than the already established big pharma company. 

So did you decide to not apply to PhD programs?

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Thankx for the advice everyone!

1) A salary difference of 5k isn't too big for me to pick one or the other. The stock options maybe, but I don't know if you lose those when you leave (which I plan to do), and I don't even know how valuable those are. Interest wise, again its hard to say, I stated why I like the small start up more than BP, but I could end up being wrong about them when I actually work there.

2) I've looked at the company on glassdoor, for my position their wage is actually a little above average that they are paying me. I could maybe push it for a bit more, but I don't want to come across as greedy or lost the job because of it. Also because its so small, if I do leave a bad taste in their mouth just for an extra 2 or 3 thousand, it's not like they're in an entire other state or part of the building, I'd literally see the person I haggled everyday and work in the same office as they do. 

3) I am still planning to apply to PhD programs 100%. 

So, how exactly would I ask for time? Do I just say thank you for the offer, is it ok if I give you my response next week? Would they ask why? Would it look bad? Again, I'd rather take this job and lose the other 2, than lose this job and hope I get the other 2, since I already quite my current job. 

 

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Yeah your point #2 is what I mean when I mentioned the size of this company. If it's some mega-corporation, you'd be doing this with HR and not the dept you're working with. But at a small place, even if there are separate HR people, they would still be around and be in contact with your dept.

If salary isn't that important after all, then I'd say do what you think you'll enjoy more.

The value of the stock options in the big company would completely depend on the details of the offer, right? I guess you won't get that info until later. It might require you to stay employed for some time before you can exercise the option. Is the "Big Pharma" company already publicly traded? Do you have the capital to buy the stocks to take advantage of the option?

If they didn't tell you when they wanted a decision from you, then you could ask them. They might ask you how long you need, so be prepared for that question. But again, only need to "stall" if you are interested in the other offer over this one. If you know you want this one more, and you don't plan on negotiating the offer, then just take it.

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So an update on my job search. One of the jobs "trolled" me, and decided to tell me they'd be giving me 50k/yr, but instead offered me 30k/yr and would not negotiate the price, so that's out. The other job, big pharma, is not worth the drive. Driving there and back today (leaving when I normally would be if I worked there), took me 3.5 hours! There is no way I am doing that everyday (plus I'd be leaving early in the morning during rush hour, so my drive would probably be a total of 4+ hours a day for a normal 8 hour work shift). So I've decided to accept the small start up instead (only an hour drive a day). Less pay, but at least I'll have my sanity. 

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Congratulations on the job @samman1994 ! Yeah,  places sometimes do that (offer less than they originally said) and it's really annoying, but I guess it makes the decision easier. Also, a 3.5 hour drive sounds horrible.

I'm still doing the job search grind. :/ 

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