Business Newsletter: Events to Prepare for Consulting Recruiting
April 18, 2022 – Business: Upcoming Events, Opportunities, and Resources
When you’re trying to lock-down an internship or job, you’ll frequently be put in the situation where you’ve received an offer from one company while still waiting to hear back from another company. In many cases, the deadline to respond to the first company will be before you’ve received the offer from the second company (or even before your final-round interview with the second company). This puts you in the position of having to decide whether to take the first company’s offer and stop pursuing the potential opportunity with the second company OR reject the first company’s offer while not being guaranteed an offer from the second company.
This is a very common occurrence throughout your career. While there are some tactics you can attempt in hope of extending/speeding-up the timeline (discussed below), in most cases you will have to make a decision without having both offers in-hand yet.
The main factors to consider when offer timelines conflict are:
- How interested are you in the second (later) company)?
- How un-interested are you in the first (earlier) company?
- Is there a major difference in compensation between the first company’s offer and what you expect to be the second, company’s offer?
- Based on your interactions with the second company, what’s the likelihood they will offer you the role you’re interested in at the compensation level you’re expecting?
- What is your risk tolerance for rejecting the first offer while not having the second offer guaranteed?
The most important thing to note is that:
Once you accept an offer, you should not retract your acceptance (unless there is a major change to your family/financial situation which prevents you from being able to take the internship/job you’ve accepted
Step 1: Attempt to speed-up the later company’s timeline
If you have not already done so, ask the recruiter at the second, later company whether it is possible for you to interview earlier and/or get a final offer decision earlier. You can communicate explicitly with the recruiter (either via email or phone) that you currently have an offer from [insert name of earlier company here] that you must provide a final response to by [X] date. You are really interested in working with [insert name of later company here] but also want to make sure that you can lock-down an [internship/job] and not have to start from square-one with other companies in searching for one. Ask if there is any way for the recruiter to move up your final interview/decision date to [Y date, 2-3 days before your decision is due to the earlier company]. The goal here is to continue to express your deep interest in the second company while also asking them to give you extra leeway. In many cases, the second company will tell you that they CANNOT move-up their timeline (especially given that they may be interviewing many different candidates all at the same time), but it’s worth asking just in case they will be flexible.
Step 2: Attempt to extend the earlier company’s timeline
If you have not already taken a full 3 weeks to consider the first company’s offer, you can request an extension on when you get back to them. Georgetown University policy for employers is to give students 3-weeks from the date of a full-time job offer to consider whether to accept or 2 weeks from the date of an internship offer. Some firms are not aware of this, and others are aware but try to push people to give them answers sooner. If the earlier company’s recruiter wants a response shorter than these, you can say that you were chatting with the Georgetown Career Center and reference/send the policy here and ask if that is acceptable. The company can still refuse to extend their response timeline, in which case that should go into your own calculations of risk and interest (see steps 3 onward below). (Note that having this amount of time to decide on an offer is really only a luxury present when you’re getting your first job out of college, for most of your future career you will be given at most a week to decide upon a job and usually just have 72 hours or so.)
Step 3: Compare your interest in the two companies/roles
If you are not able to make the timelines of the two companies overlap, you will need to determine whether your interest in the second company is so much greater than your interest in the first that you are willing to reject the first even for the uncertain possibility of maybe getting the second. It’s important to understand that this is NOT a question of which company/role you are more interested in (since you only have one offer guaranteed). For both internships and jobs, you will need to assess what the opportunity cost is of rejecting the first and potentially not getting the second, forcing you to find a third option.
Step 4: Determine your risk tolerance
Rejecting a certain thing (the offer from the first company) in favor of an uncertain thing (the potential to get an offer from the second company) is inherently a risky option. You will need to assess whether that is a risk you are willing to take. This consideration is not based only on the binary of getting an offer or not, but also the potential that the second company’s offer has lower compensation/less flexibility than the first company’s offer. In making this personal risk assessment, you should determine what your plan would be if you both rejected the first offer AND did not get the second offer. Are you prepared to go back into the internship/job search? Based on the responses you’ve gotten so far, do you think it will be relatively easy or relatively difficult to interview/get an offer from an organization in a field you’re interested in?
Step 5: Communicate your decision
Path A: You accept the first company’s offer
Once you have made your decision, you will need to communicate it to the relevant recruiters. Talk with the first company’s recruiters and tell them you gladly accept their offer and look forward to working with them. Note: All compensation negotiations with the first company should occur before you reject the second company. Make sure you get final confirmation from the first company’s recruiter about the position before messaging with the second company.Then message the second company’s recruiter, express how appreciative you have been of their time in reviewing your application/interviewing you but that you have decided to take an opportunity with [insert name of company] doing [role description] which will give you [additional experience you will gain from the opportunity]. Leave the door open for future interaction by telling the recruiter that you look forward to staying in touch with them and learning about additional opportunities with them in the future.
Path B: You reject the first company’s offer
Talk with the first company’s recruiter, express how appreciative you have been of their time and of their offer but that you have decided to pursue an opportunity with [insert name of company] doing [role description] which will give you [additional experience you will gain from the opportunity]. Leave the door open for future interaction by telling the recruiter that you look forward to staying in touch with them and learning about additional opportunities with them in the future. Then proceed with interviewing with the second company. If you would like, you can also communicate with the second company’s recruiter telling them that you are really excited about the potential of maybe getting an offer from them and that in the hope of working with the company you have rejected an offer you received from the first company.
Also, if you are a student with a disability, The Lime Network is a great resource for networking opportunities and job postings various business sectors, including Finance, Consulting, and Tech. You can sign-up for their newsletter and updates here
If you have questions on this or anything else, I can be reached at email@example.com
Nick Bellomy (he/him)
Manager, Employer Relations and Industry Advising
Consulting, Finance, Marketing, Real Estate, and Business
Cawley Career Education Center, Georgetown University
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