A reader writes:
In mid-June, I applied for a job with company A, and also one with company B at the end of June. Company B's interview process went much more quickly than A's, and B extended me an offer in late July. I turned down the offer because I felt I would've been happier at company A - much better rapport with the people I interviewed with, and a chance to gain experience in a new area - and thought my chances with company A were good.
Now it's 2 full weeks later and I have not heard back yet from company A. This is somewhat expected as the hiring person (the director of the program) seems to be very busy with her other responsibilities. After she extended me a second interview for example, it took about 2.5 weeks and a fair amount of follow up and persistence on my part before it was scheduled for mid-July. She keeps giving me dates of when things are expected to happen. For example, they expected to make a decision by end of July, but those deadlines are never met, thus causing me to need to follow up constantly. I did let her know about my job offer (no response), and continue to express my interest in working with her organization. She has given me her work cell phone, office phone, and email contact info and I have made use of all 3, but its been very difficult getting a hold of her. I have not been told that the position has been filled or that I am not in the running.
At this point, I'm starting to worry and regret my decision to turn down the offer from company B. I not sure if I would've been happy there but having a job and having financial security looks great right about now and much more important than happiness and whatever else I was holding out for. I feel that the hiring person from company A is very genuine and that she is truly swamped with other responsibilities. At the same time, I feel very frustrated and foolish to an extent for continuing to wait on them and investing so much effort into following up.
What do you think about this process? I have began searching for other openings already, and last week noticed that company B reposted the same position. I'm assuming that their second candidate did not work out either and am wondering if I should write to them and see if they'll re-extend the offer to me. What are the rules in regards to this? Truthfully, I am not sure if this would be the best environment for me especially in comparison to company A but I am at a point where I just want to be working already.
Juggling this sort of thing -- an offer from one company while you're waiting to hear from a different company you think you'd prefer -- is really tricky. My usual advice when that happens is to let the other company know that you've received an offer and ask them if there's a way to expedite their timeline, if they're interested in you. But you did this and got no response, so then what?
Here's what I can tell you, based on my own experience as a hiring manager. (As a disclaimer, the hiring manager at Company A may think entirely differently from me, so factor that in.) If a candidate is high on my list, I don't want to risk them accepting another offer. If a candidate who I was interested in told me that they had another job offer, there is zero chance that I would not get back to them. Generally, I would try to speed up our process, but if that weren't possible, I would at least explain to them what factors were holding things up on our side. So because she didn't respond to you, and continued not responding to your other attempts to contact her, unfortunately that indicates that it's likely that they're not seriously interested at this point, and you should move on. If they contact you at some point in the future, great. But don't make plans around it.
As for the position re-opening at Company B, you should consider this totally independently of the position at Company A. If you had never learned about the position at A, would the job at B interest you? If you don't believe the job at B is right for you, I'd keep looking. But if you think B could make you happy, absolutely call them up and tell them you'd like to re-submit yourself as a candidate for the position. Be prepared to explain what has changed since you turned down their offer and why you're now interested (it shouldn't just be "I need a job").
And of course, the lesson here is: Never, never, never count on a job offer until you actually have it in hand. Things change, other candidates come along, plans for the position evolve. Counting on an offer you don't yet have is the job equivalent of never making plans with your friends because you hope that cute boy might ask you out and you want to be free if he does ... but with much more serious repercussions.