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Asking for a hiring decision

  1. Mar 9, 2011 #1
    Is it out of line to politely ask a prospective employer to make a hiring decision in a certain amount of time? Specifically, I'm applying for internships right now. I was just offered a job by my B choice and they would like me to accept or reject the offer by this weekend. My 'A' choice, in theory, is supposed to announce a decision 'soon'. Would it be proper to email my 'A' choice to mention that I have a deadline coming up and I would appreciate it if they could make a decision by the weekend?

    On a similar note, how frowned upon is it to un-accept and offer for an internship. i.e. I have an open application with NASA which would probably be preferable to my other options. If I'm offered that position, lets say in a couple of weeks, what are my options for decommitting from the original internship? I realize its not preferable to the employer, but does it happen? Are employers understanding of that sort of situation?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2011 #2
    This is a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

    This is a seriously bad thing to do, and you will be hated if you do that. The problem is that once you've said "yes" then lots of things start happening, which causes pain and agony to the employer. Once you say "yes" then employer sends out e-mails to all of the other people applying saying "sorry, job is filled" and if you change your mind, they can't undo that, because all of the people that they said no to have now found other jobs.

    If you have to decommit, you minimize the damage if you do it quickly. If you say yes, and the next day you change your mind, then people will be annoyed but you won't cause serious problems. If you wait a few weeks, then you will cause serious problems, and people will hate you.
  4. Mar 9, 2011 #3
    Apart from the "intangibles", such a withdrawal would also have legal implications, although most likely no one would go to great lengths to try and make you repay the damages they've incurred, as you're only applying for an internship. I also fully agree that it is more than acceptable to ask the employer to make the decision in the time you are given by the other party.
  5. Mar 9, 2011 #4


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    I wouldn't e-mail them because that can take too long and managers are usually swamped with emails and only get to them at the end of the day.

    I'd call and ask them if they have a timeline of making a decision. They will tell you when they expect to have a decision, at which point you can ask them if there's any way to have a decision sooner because you have an offer at another company B, but you'd rather work at A company, but can't risk declining offer B in case you're declined from A as well.

    Typically they have an idea of whether or not they want to hire you, but it just takes time to get all the paperwork through the right people and to get the managers to sign off. There might also be a delay if there are a lot more applicants than positions, but that will vary from position to position. Especially with an internship, if they're interested they could probably at least give you a verbal decision if the paperwork still needs time.

    In addition, I would first call company B and ask them if you could have a few more days to make a decision. If they just gave you the offer, it's reasonable to ask for some more time to make a decision. If they really need a decision by the weekend they will tell you and if they can spare a few days they'll tell you as well. Obviously don't tell them you're waiting on another offer, but say something like you're discussing it with your family, etc. They won't ask for a reason so you don't even have to give one.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2011
  6. Mar 9, 2011 #5
    Thanks for the prompt replies, I'm going to send an email to the manager at company 'A' tonight. He's been quite responsive with emails in the past so I think that will be fine.

    I actually originally said I would have a decision next week sometime. But I got a call today asking if I could make a decision by the end of the week (I told them I would try) because their number 2 choice has a deadline by this weekend. So I guess they want my decision so they can get their number 2 if I decline. I suppose the other guy probably has a similar issue to mine but with a different company. Its interesting how that all works out. I also thought it was odd that the manager told me all that, but who am I to judge?
  7. Mar 9, 2011 #6
    You can really get sued over changing your mind from a job offer? Does this apply to "at will" employees too?
  8. Mar 10, 2011 #7
    I don't know what "at will" employees are, but yes, you can get sued over changing your mind. But here you have to understand it all comes down to damages. You can get sued for anything, it's just that the suitor will only win if they prove they have incurred damages and that you are responsible for them. Then causality comes into play, so it's hard to generalize how much one would be able to get from you if you were to change your mind. If you already signed a contract, it's much easier for them, but even if you don't don't, there are still legal consequences to any choice you make. Note also that even if they would incur damages due to you changing your mind, you wouldn't necessarily be responsible for them. I don't know the US system, but I assume you have something similar to most countries using civil law, who have a standard of reasonable expectations. For example, if you say yes, and they prepare a huge surprise party welcoming the new intern, your later change of mind will probably not result in you being responsible for those costs :smile: In any case, it's going to be very unlikely for them to try and sue an intern, and the chances of them getting anything would probably in general be small, as well, but the higher up you go, the more important actions become and the greater the responsibilities.

    And like twofish said, it's just bad practice.
  9. Mar 12, 2011 #8
    for those of you who may be curious, I was told that I would not be offered the 'A' job so I have accepted the other position, and from the responses, I will be keeping it regardless of what happens from here on out.

    Thanks for your help!
  10. Mar 12, 2011 #9

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    Stuff happens, either on the side of the employer or the potential employee. The job isn't real until signatures are signed, sometimes even after signatures are signed (e.g., a detailed background check).

    Yes, it is bad faith to renege on an offer, and some employers have very long memories. Except for very high levels of responsibility, reneging typically does not have legal implications.
  11. Mar 12, 2011 #10


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    The other posts have answered the legal side of this, but as well as that, information about you can "get around" in surprising ways. There's a lot of truth in the saying "be careful who you annoy in business - you might finish up working for them some day".
  12. Mar 12, 2011 #11
    Yeah, this is what I wanted to get across in my second post, usually nothing will happen. However, like I said, just because the job isn't real prior to the signature doesn't mean legal implications aren't, either.
  13. Apr 28, 2011 #12
    I prefer to do Internship because the company will always understand school matters, unlike in real work. It is better to complete your internship, it won't have any pressure occurs like what you have now. You know, the firm will always do a background check for workers if they are suited for the job. Good thing that you have a great decision.
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