Too Antsy for My Pants

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Dear Del,
I am scheduled for an interview in the coming weeks. I have already been given an internship offer, but I still want to feel out any other possible offers. Is there an appropriate way to bring up this fact without coming off negatively? I really just want them to realize that I have other offers, and they should make a decision quickly.
Or do I not say anything and just wait it out?

Antsy for an Answer

Dear Antsy,
You're too antsy for your pants. Of course, honesty is always best. You mention having an internship already. Does this mean you've already told this employer that you're coming this summer? If so, it makes this situation more complicated.

For example, if you're still juggling interviews and offers, but you haven't accepted a position yet, you can request additional time to make a decision if one of the offers comes through but there are some others that you're hoping come through. It's reasonable for a potential employer to give you at least a week for you to make a decision. You can say, "Thank you for this offer. I'm really pleased. May I give you my answer in a week or so?" You don't have to explain why. It's reasonable that you'd have arrangements and budgets to consider before giving your answer.

After buying some time, it's acceptable to contact those with whom you've interviewed but who have not extended an offer to you to see if an offer is in the pipeline. Be direct and say, "I've received another job offer. They need an answer in a week. I'm really very interested in working for you. Would you be able to get back to me with a decision before this deadline?"

But it sounds like you've already told one employer you'll be there this summer, yet you want to continue the job search as if you aren't committed. This is a more volatile situation because of the dishonesty.

Keep in mind if you come to a first interview and mention that you've already accepted another offer, most companies will say, "Why did you meet with us? We're going to make an offer to someone who hasn't accepted another offer."

If you want to take a gamble and go in a different direction, go to the interview, and make sure to ask when they'll be making a decision before you leave. Then call back after a reasonable amount of time and ask if they are willing to let you know because you have other offers. Know that you may be burning a future bridge, and you may be paying a higher price for this option in the long term. For example, will you be interacting with these people at association meetings and conferences? How close-knit is the industry?

I do know of a situation that worked out well for a student, but her situation was a bit different. She had accepted one offer, and on the day she accepted, she got another one that she liked more. She called the first-offer employer the very next day and was honest.

She said exactly what had happened and why she thought the second place was a better fit. The employer thanked her for her quick notification and said he understood, and if she ever wanted to come work for them, he'd find a position for her.

In the end, it goes back to being honest and treating others how you'd like to be treated. Not really surprising, is it?

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