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Ask HN: How to approach two competing job offers - is bidding war an option?
3 points by mbord 1554 days ago | hide | past | web | 6 comments | favorite
I studied Computer Science, and I recently graduated as a bachelor. I went on to apply to two major Silicon Valley companies, let's call them A and B, and aced the interviews.

I got an offer from A, which I would have happily accepted had I not had another company still contemplating their offer. Now B contacted me, not yet ready to give an offer, but they mentioned that their offer would likely be significantly larger if they would be able to see the offer from A in writing.

I got my offer from A both verbally and in informal writing to my e-mail. I find it clear that if I asked them for the offer in writing now, they would certainly know what's happening (given that I've kept them waiting for some time now). I told this to B already previously, they understood, but it would certainly benefit me if I had it in writing now.

How should this game be played in your opinion? I actually prefer A, and if B's offer were roughly the same size, I would be very happy to take A. However, I am wondering whether I am a wussy if I play it safe now, and take no action, and should I instead try to get some competition between these two. There's also a small chance that A is trying to lowball me with their offer, since I might be too humble analyzing my own value. All this leads me to think that I might just want to get the offer in writing, not caring what they think about it, but I am very very open to other ideas.

Also, I know that I should probably never try to bluff, and that's my intention, too - I'll never try to inflate my offer if I am not really willing to take the competing one. These both are great companies, and B can become better in my mind if their offer triumphs on the financial side.

Now B contacted me, not yet ready to give an offer, but they mentioned that their offer would likely be significantly larger if they would be able to see the offer from A in writing.

I see nothing but red flags here.

It also sounds like you are already dabbling with a bidding war... you are holding back on A, B knows about A, B is "offering" to out-bid A. Now you are wondering if you can leverage a questionable offer from B to up A's offer.

If you escalate this further into a full out bidding war, the probability is high that it won't turn out well. If B wins, you work for a sketchy company just for the money... or they don't come through with a real offer, A drops out (note that you do not have a formal offer from A yet), and you are screwed. If A wins, the person you work for knows what you did to them and resents it.

Sorry to be harsh, but from the outside looking in, B sounds pretty sketchy and your line of questioning doesn't reflect well on you.

I think B only want to see the letter in writing so that they can go slightly above what A has offered.It makes no sense to go largely over.

Why not ask B to make a blind offer based on the value you can bring and what you're worth, tell them you're not interested in them upping A's offer, just formulating their own based on value not competition. You want to hear what they would have offered without company A in the picture.

Not only do you come across less money-motivated but I think you're more likely to get a higher offer from B this way. Plus if you do get company B's offer in writing - maybe you can take that back to A.

After all if you prefer company A, you should be going with them regardless.

"I recently graduated"

"aced the interviews"

"I got an offer from A"

" I actually prefer A"

"B can become better in my mind if their offer triumphs on the financial side."

I believe that last is the only untrue thing you've said.

You're young, capable and have a lot of years in front of you. Work where you want and enjoy it.

IMO, there is no harm asking for formal offer letter (probably a soft copy).

But I would suggest choose the job which is of your interest. Salary should be the second factor. If you choose a job of your interest, you will perform well there and your career growth will be much faster there.

That's my opinion too. I worked in two different jobs in the last years. One of them was in company A, which I always wanted to be part of. The salary was not amazing (in fact, after of some talk with friends, it was low), but I was happy. Then, I worked in company B. The salary was superb, it was higher than average, but I was not happy. That was not what I wanted. I quit.

ask for offer in writing, explain why, and that you'd prefer A, see if they are open to matching B's offer. If so, you might want to take their initial offer to B.

Get B's offer in writing and go to A. Tell A if they match it, you'll work for them.

Do so, that is, if they match B's offer, work for A. Explain to B, but invite them to contact you sometime in the future to see if you are happy at A. Use B's contact to either move to B if A isn't great or to negotiate from position from strength at A.

But work at A to start with.

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