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Author Topic: Multiple offers, different timelines  (Read 1383 times)

examiner_bio

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Multiple offers, different timelines
« on: 06-06-17 at 03:28 pm »

A lunch topic discussion that associates brought up today after a general case law meeting was how to handle multiple offers, or potential offers with different timelines. One associate brought it up and it created quite the conversation.  This gist of it is as follows.  Let's say firm A offers a job to applicant "at-will" on Jan 1 and requests a notification from the applicant within two weeks of the offer date. Notification simply means verbal commitment and signing forms for the background check. Applicant also interviewed at firm B, who said applicant is a front runner and they plan to make an offer around Jan 20. So, let's say applicant decides to accept the offer from firm A since it's at-will. Also, from the applicant's perspective, at least they can have a potential job ready to start while they wait for a formal response from firm B.  Two weeks pass and on Jan. 16, applicant receives notification from firm A that they have cleared the background check and are able to start anytime.  Meanwhile, a few days later, they receive an offer from firm B.  Both firms are located in the same location. However, firm B offers a much higher salary and a work-from-home option starting on Day 1. On Jan. 22, after a discussion with Firm A regarding the offer from Firm B, Applicant decides to withdraw from Firm A and accept the offer from firm B.

Some people at the table said this is all fair game and is all part of the hiring process.  Others agreed, but said that applicant is only damaging his or her reputation and would likely never be considered again at firm A should they desire employment there in the future.  I understand both sides, but is there truly negative damage by switching firms during the hiring process, prior to the date of actual employment?  The way I see it, the firm can do the same thing.  They can terminate a potential hire for any reason prior to the date of hire and there really is not any real employment agreement until papers are signed saying as much. As to the reputation issue, I think an applicant can sign background forms with anyone and be offered start dates, but nothing is cemented until formal employment documents are signed. I don't think reputation is at stake, since if applicant receives a better offer, they are simply acting in self-interest and assuming the other firm cannot or is unwilling to match. Likewise, the firm is acting in their own self interest. I can see some babbling among people and disappointment, but I think any issues with reputation just reflect disappointment and the firm's inability to match an offer more than anything else.  Has anyone experienced this situation or seen someone else go through it?
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ExaminerEsq

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #1 on: 06-06-17 at 10:12 pm »

I wouldn't worry too much about it.  You're assuming that people at firm A will always be at firm A.  People play musical chairs all the time.  So even if you reapply to firm A in a couple of years, it's possible that the people working there have changed.  I think your debate only really matters if you want to work for firm A.  If that's the case, then take the offer at firm A.  Plus, it's unlikely that anyone from firm C or firm D will every know you reneged on your acceptance to firm A.  So I don't think your reputation is damaged should you ever decide to apply to firm C or firm D in a couple of years.

Also, don't worry too much about hurting the feelings of the firm.  There will always be someone else to take your place.  I'm sure firm A will find someone else to hire.
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blakesq

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #2 on: 06-07-17 at 01:38 pm »

I think one question will put this all in perspective...Would firm A honor their offer to applicant if applicant did NOT clear the background check? 

If not, then *#$% Firm A, and take the job with Firm B with a clear conscience
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smgsmc

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #3 on: 06-07-17 at 02:30 pm »

I think one question will put this all in perspective...Would firm A honor their offer to applicant if applicant did NOT clear the background check? 

If not, then *#$% Firm A, and take the job with Firm B with a clear conscience
I don't get this.  The offer from Firm A is contingent on the applicant passing the background check.  If the applicant does NOT pass the background check, then the offer is voided.

Isn't the more poignant question, Would Firm A always honor the offer if the applicant DOES pass the background check?  The answer is not always, because sometimes firms hit a glitch, and lose major clients suddenly ... in addition to laying off current employees, they retract pending offers.
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smgsmc

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #4 on: 06-07-17 at 04:23 pm »

When I was young and idealistic, I would have said that, once you have made a commitment, you should honor it.  But having gone through multiple rounds of layoffs, I'd say get the best deal you can.  I've come across people who have accepted and then changed their minds for a better deal; I've even come across people who have accepted, started work, and then left after a few weeks for a better deal.  This might seem unacceptable behavior, but I've also seen people get laid off a few weeks after they've started ... or had their offers revoked before they've come on board (because of a business downturn).  So, "at-will" works both ways.  The only neg is that you'll probably not be welcome to reapply at Firm A if the same people you've interviewed with are still there and remember you reneged the first time around.  But that's a minor neg in the overall scheme of things.
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blakesq

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #5 on: 06-07-17 at 09:12 pm »

Smgsmc,  fair enough.  It seems we agree on the bigger point, since Lincoln freed the slaves, acceptance of any job at will is contigent upon nothing better coming along.


I think one question will put this all in perspective...Would firm A honor their offer to applicant if applicant did NOT clear the background check? 

If not, then *#$% Firm A, and take the job with Firm B with a clear conscience
I don't get this.  The offer from Firm A is contingent on the applicant passing the background check.  If the applicant does NOT pass the background check, then the offer is voided.

Isn't the more poignant question, Would Firm A always honor the offer if the applicant DOES pass the background check?  The answer is not always, because sometimes firms hit a glitch, and lose major clients suddenly ... in addition to laying off current employees, they retract pending offers.
« Last Edit: 06-07-17 at 09:15 pm by blakesq »
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abc123

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #6 on: 06-07-17 at 10:07 pm »

I agree with Smgsmc. Post great-recession, there is not a lot of "loyalty" left, if there ever was any in the first place.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #7 on: 06-08-17 at 10:32 am »

One caveat (not a dealbreaker on its own, but something to consider): Conflicts.  If you start work at Firm A even for just a few days, then switch to Firm B, you have conflicts that have attached to you from the work you started at Firm A and possibly some entire fim conflicts that will stay with you for varying amounts of time.  Best would be to delay accepting Firm A for a few weeks.  I've rarely seen that refused.  I had an offer and asked to back it up 3 weeks (to take vacation, sometimes that's the only way to take a good chunk of vacation).  They were fine with that (though did say they'd prefer sooner, but I'd imagine that if they want to hire YOU now, they would also be fine hiring YOU in a few weeks).
</ramble>
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Rabid Levity

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #8 on: 06-08-17 at 10:39 am »

One caveat (not a dealbreaker on its own, but something to consider): Conflicts.  If you start work at Firm A even for just a few days, then switch to Firm B, you have conflicts that have attached to you from the work you started at Firm A and possibly some entire fim conflicts that will stay with you for varying amounts of time.  Best would be to delay accepting Firm A for a few weeks. 


Good point there.


I had an offer and asked to back it up 3 weeks (to take vacation, sometimes that's the only way to take a good chunk of vacation).  They were fine with that (though did say they'd prefer sooner, but I'd imagine that if they want to hire YOU now, they would also be fine hiring YOU in a few weeks)

Haha, yes, they take 4 months during the process of deciding which person they want to hire, then once the decision is finally made it is like, "Of course we need you to start now-now-now-now-now!"
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smgsmc

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #9 on: 06-08-17 at 03:38 pm »

One caveat (not a dealbreaker on its own, but something to consider): Conflicts.  If you start work at Firm A even for just a few days, then switch to Firm B, you have conflicts that have attached to you from the work you started at Firm A and possibly some entire fim conflicts that will stay with you for varying amounts of time.  Best would be to delay accepting Firm A for a few weeks.  I've rarely seen that refused.  I had an offer and asked to back it up 3 weeks (to take vacation, sometimes that's the only way to take a good chunk of vacation).  They were fine with that (though did say they'd prefer sooner, but I'd imagine that if they want to hire YOU now, they would also be fine hiring YOU in a few weeks).
</ramble>

Could you clarify this?  What difference would several weeks make in the event of a conflict?
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fewyearsin

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #10 on: 06-08-17 at 04:48 pm »

smgsmc:

What I mean is, say you go to work for Firm A, and they task you with prosecution/licensing/litigation, whatever, for Apple.  If Firm B has Samsung as a big client, they may no longer want to hire you because you would be conflicted out of work for Samsung that might be related to any of the work you did for Apple, even if you only worked on Apple cases for a few weeks.  Does that make sense?
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smgsmc

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Re: Multiple offers, different timelines
« Reply #11 on: 06-08-17 at 04:58 pm »

smgsmc:

What I mean is, say you go to work for Firm A, and they task you with prosecution/licensing/litigation, whatever, for Apple.  If Firm B has Samsung as a big client, they may no longer want to hire you because you would be conflicted out of work for Samsung that might be related to any of the work you did for Apple, even if you only worked on Apple cases for a few weeks.  Does that make sense?

OK.  Got you.  Missed the part about delaying action on Firm A to the point where you don't even set foot there.
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