I am currently in the process of finding a new job. Several days ago I had two interviews with prospective employers, both of which expressed interest for a second meeting.
- Company A asked me to come over to talk today. There was no further interview, they simply made me an offer and explained terms.
- Company B has scheduled me for a hands-on evaluation tomorrow, after which I will know their final answer within a week. I am fully confident they will also make me an offer and moreover that it will be financially preferable to that of Company A.
Since Company A offered first, I told them that I cannot evaluate their offer before Company B also let me know of their decision. This did not sit well with the person I was talking with (the COO). Here are his two main objections and the gist of my answers:
- "We do not want to be anyone's second best option"
I explained that in fact they were my first option, in that all other things being equal I would prefer to work for them. In addition, since the meeting was chronologically first there was really no way for me to be honest with them without letting them know; so this is not a matter of being my second option but rather of me being level at the negotiating table.
- "We cannot wait for you to make up your mind"
I explained that as they surely understand, making a decision without evaluating all alternatives would be me acting against my own best interest. In addition, the skill and modus operandi of evaluating before deciding is definitely something they will expect of me on the job (and something that factored into their decision to make an offer). Finally, there is a hard limit on how long they would have to wait for an answer (a week); I also volunteered to tell company B "I would appreciate it if you could inform me of your final decision as soon as possible, since I am also considering another offer".
At this point I am fairly certain that Company A just want to intimidate and pressure me into making an uninformed decision. Evidence towards this conclusion include:
- Their playing hardball during the first interview, which was quite intense and slightly uncomfortable. Initially I justified this as a result of their sense of technical excellence, but after this second meeting I have reconsidered. After all, if the reason for their behavior was the bar being too high for me then making me an offer without any other intermediate step would not be logical.
- The first interview being conducted mostly in "senior personnel" mode (they only asked two questions having straight and definite technical answers, which took maybe a minute out of almost two hours total time), but their offer being for a lower-ranked position.
- Their ominous references to how bad the employment situation is right now in Greece where I live; things like "we always pay on time and in euros" (with the obvious suggestion that in case of Greece defaulting they will not be affected because they only do business with customers in the US). This I regard as pure FUD.
- Their insistence that I need to give them an answer by tomorrow at most. I am fairly certain (due to other information I have) that they are not considering any other employee for the same position; rather, for them it's a question of "do we pick this guy up or not?". Also, what kind of employer would agree to sign you up today but turn you down next week? And why would they ask me to behave in a manner that actually gives you away as someone they wouldn't want to hire? It does not make sense.
In fairness, I should also mention that these people look like they have achieved a high Joel Test score in an environment where the median score is either zero or one (for using version control). They look like their conduct of everyday operations is dramatically better than most other IT shops around here. And they only work with US customers, which implies they achieve a level of professional standard shall we say, uncommon here in Greece.
Is there any convincing justification of why they would require an answer within two days at most? Especially since I told them I 'm expecting another offer and the worst case scenario is an answer within a week? Or am I correct in reconsidering if I want to work for them at all?
Thank you for your valuable input.