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Question about industry job offers

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Question about industry job offers

Postby M.W.S. » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:14 am

I received a job offer at a major biotech company (not in a biotech hub) that I could be quite satisfied at (position A). Importantly, I have an upcoming interview with a major R&D company (in a biotech hub) that would be the "opportunity I've trained for my whole postdoc" (position B). The problem of course is that position A needs a response before I will potentially have an offer for position B. I understand that if I accept position A and then back out or leave shortly after starting that I will certainly burn some bridges. With that said, I don't want to turn down position A only to find out that I will not get an offer for position B and be right back at square one with no prospects. I would appreciate any advice on how people have handled this type of situation in the past. Thanks in advance!
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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby Rich Lemert » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:04 am

If I'm reading this correctly, you have the offer from 'A' now, and you'll have your interview with 'B' before you need to reply to 'A'. However, you expect any offer from 'B' to come after you have to reply to the offer from 'A'.

Based on this timetable, I'd go on the 'B' interview and at least see what I think of the place. You might find it's not the paradise you think it is, in which case your decision becomes much easier.

However, you'd be better off if you can get one (or both) of the companies to adjust their timetable. You can tell them that you want to make sure you make the 'right' decision because you expect whatever choice you make to be a long-term commitment.

In the end this is a classic situation that happens all the time. It all boils down to your risk tolerance and self-confidence. The fact that you have at least two employers talking to you suggests that you are marketable and don't need to jump on the first offer you get. On the other hand, there is the old saw about a "bird in the hand" to consider.
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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Apr 07, 2015 12:28 pm

M.W.S. wrote:I received a job offer at a major biotech company (not in a biotech hub) that I could be quite satisfied at (position A). Importantly, I have an upcoming interview with a major R&D company (in a biotech hub) that would be the "opportunity I've trained for my whole postdoc" (position B). The problem of course is that position A needs a response before I will potentially have an offer for position B. I understand that if I accept position A and then back out or leave shortly after starting that I will certainly burn some bridges. With that said, I don't want to turn down position A only to find out that I will not get an offer for position B and be right back at square one with no prospects. I would appreciate any advice on how people have handled this type of situation in the past. Thanks in advance!


MWS, are you working with a third party -- a recruiter -- on this post at Position A or are you just in there directly, etc? Ideally, you got in via networking and your contact there will allow you to have an additional couple of weeks for a response about the offer. That's the best scenario. I ask about a third party because a recruiter will NEVER allow you do do such a thing. In fact, he or she will request that you make your decision over a weekend.

I like Rich's response. See what B looks like if you can, but advise them that you have a short turn-around on another offer. Don't make it sound like you're trying to snowball them or bamboozle them into getting an offer out. (Don't be smug, just informative of your timeline when asked. And don't touch the request to reveal the company name, as it will look like you're trying to play company B off of company A).

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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby M.W.S. » Tue Apr 07, 2015 6:08 pm

I have not been working with a recruiter on these particular positions, it has all been done via networking (which as suggested by others on this forum, over and over again, is the only way to have any sort of success at getting your foot in the door for any job in industry). On that note, I have not had much success at all in working with recruiters on other positions. Is there any way to assess if a 3rd party recruiter will genuinely be helpful?
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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby Dave Walker » Wed Apr 08, 2015 1:09 pm

I just want to reiterate Rich's and Dave's advice, I was thinking the same thing. With an offer letter, the ball is in your court at the moment. If you see things that aren't optimal, try to change them.

You didn't say how much time is at stake. You could call up company B and tell them you'd like an earlier interview because of another offer -- to my ears that sound like a good way to spin it. If they want you they will act fast. In the meantime, Company A will be giving you some time to decide, and ask for a little more if you need to. Move both goalposts as necessary.

Congrats on the good position to be in :)
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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby WG » Wed Apr 08, 2015 4:45 pm

(Don't be smug, just informative of your timeline when asked. And don't touch the request to reveal the company name, as it will look like you're trying to play company B off of company A).


How exactly would one avoid revealing the company/organization name in a situation like this? I ask this because I was recently in a discussion about negotiation and one person said that sometimes people ask this to make sure you are not bluffing i.e. you really do have another offer.
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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby Dave Walker » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:17 am

WG wrote:
(Don't be smug, just informative of your timeline when asked. And don't touch the request to reveal the company name, as it will look like you're trying to play company B off of company A).


How exactly would one avoid revealing the company/organization name in a situation like this? I ask this because I was recently in a discussion about negotiation and one person said that sometimes people ask this to make sure you are not bluffing i.e. you really do have another offer.


I'd like to hear what the more experienced folks here would say. But my gut says to NEVER reveal the second company name, and if they are asking then they don't trust you and I would not work for them. Because of course you could be lying, but then you could respond with a lie as well.

Remember all you will do is move up their decision or try to get a concession from them. Not to reconsider you or to change their mind on you entirely.
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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby Dick Woodward » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:20 am

Do not, repeat, do not, reveal the name of the second company! It is sufficient to say that "I am keeping their identity confidential, and I am certain that you would expect me to keep your identity confidential were the positions reversed."

If they do not accept this answer, continue to badger you about the identity of the other company, this may tell you something about the corporate culture - and that could be important in your decision as well.

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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby M.W.S. » Sun Apr 19, 2015 7:38 am

Thank you all for your advice! I completed the interview with company B and my impression was they already had another candidate chosen for this particular position (although as far as I know no one has officially eliminated my candidacy). Due to this strong suspicion I have officially accepted the position at company A! I will finally be moving away from the ivory towers and seemingly endless postdoc (although I have to admit I enjoyed the first 95% of this experience)! Thank you all again for your advice on this thread and others! I will try to update you after I've settled into my new position!
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Re: Question about industry job offers

Postby M.W.S. » Sat Jun 27, 2015 8:51 am

I have now been at my new industry position for about two months and thought I would share my experience thus far. First, I heard back from the second company and they opted to hire at a significantly more experienced level than initially advertised so I am glad I didn't turn down the first position! My experience in the job search process can be sumarized in one word... Networking! All but one of my interviews was a direct result of networking (all with former employees of the companies I was interested in... you never know who knows who!).

The interview process typically consisted of a phone interview with HR (typical questions about resume and interest in this particular company), followed by a phone interview with the hiring manager regarding my scientific skills and interest in the company, then an all day on site interview with EVERYONE (associate scientists/technicians thru director level). I enjoyed the on site visits and never had any difficult people to deal with. My impression was everyone just wanted to know about me as a person and scientist, no one was trying to prove their superiority or brilliance.

I think I ultimately made a good decision for my career and family and truly enjoy the feeling of working with a close-knit team with significant personal and professional aspersions. Everyone is very open and helpful and is motivated to move all of our groups projects forward. I am excited to come to work every morning and feel like there are opportunities to be recognized for my work and eventually be promoted (unlike my feeling as a postdoc).

My advice to anyone looking to make the jump to industry is: network and stay positive... you can get out of a postdoc and academia if you put in some work on non lab tasks! Two piece of advice I should have taken more seriously early in my postdoc are: 1) network from day 1... you never know when/where you will meet someone that can help you or that will be looking to you for help in the future and 2) the job search is more straight forward if you are well situated geographically. By that I mean if you want an industry position in a scientific hub find a way to get to that hub. With that said it's not impossible to get interviews living outside of a hub (if I did anyone can), but unless you are in an extremely unique position a company in Boston has LOTS of talent to look at just in the Boston area so you will need to make a very good impression on the phone and network like crazy to initially "get in". Best of luck to everyone who is actively looking for the next step!
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