After posting a thank you here and getting an offer, I realize I do need help with multiple opportunities. Specifically #C below where offer was low, not sure if opportunity is right, but no relocation involved. Over the weekend I listened to the casts on Declining and Accepting an offer, and both on how NOT to accept an offer, and I am even more conflicted. This week is a holiday week and I am travelling interntionally week of Jul 8 for business, and they all know this, which buys me a little time.

Company A: Recruiter sent job description (scientific) and I was very excited. I was concerned I lacked certain competencies, but hiring manager said at phone interview (mid-June) he could teach me, but needs things I know. Asked me to e-mail contact info ASAP and he wrote back 5 min later that I have unique skills needed for this new venture. Tried to fly me out for an interview for following week, before his vacation, but couldn't get his staff together. Interview is July 12. It includes dinner with him day before, and 3 hour tour of the area so I am bringing wife and baby.
PRO: Exciting job in hot therapeutic area i want to learn, involving things i'm good at
PRO: Best company (large) in this business, and mentioned in a book I reviewed on this site
PRO: Supervisor sees my potential, and is fairly accomplished himself
CON: Relocate wife and baby from north-east to south-west with their generous relocation program
CON: Leave my therapeutic area after 7 years; though maybe it is time for something different?
Company B: Recruiter found me last week, along with others for opportunity at a large company. After talking with hiring manger, decided I wasn't experienced enough for open job, but wants to create new position because I have unique skills he needs. Had phone interview Jun 28 and he really liked me. Is flying both my wife and me down for interview on July 3. 
PRO: New area (regulatory) in the unique therapeutic area I know well, and therefore an advancement so I am mostly excited to do this 
PRO: Large established company
CON: Not being considered for higher position
CON: Recruiter is quite aggresssive
CON: Relocate wife and baby from north-east to south-south-east with their pretty good relocation program
Company C: An employee submitted my resume for this project management position, involving a new therapeutic area for me, but not as hot, at a small, local, contract manufacturing company. Growing fast so they are trying to fill three PM positions. At interview 2 weeks ago, HR asked me range, and following podcast, I gave 10% to 44% above my salary, saying I was flexible based on opportunity and benefits. HR told me salary is decided by HR, with some room for negotiation, and hiring manager not involved with that. Had 2nd interview last week and HR, very nervously, made offer two days later (Friday afternooon) 15% above my salary (they do not know my salary), but with weaker benefits compared to my current, large employer. 
PRO: 10 miles further than current job, so no relocation
PRO: Gets me into project management, but job description is less than what I offer (education and experience), and I don't feel that excited
PRO: Gets exposed to lots of different things
CON: Disappointed they offered near the bottomn of my salary range, and really only 5% above current given less 401k matching, no pension, and more expensive / less comprehensive health insurance since wife has a condition, and without big company perks, security (generous severance), etc. I am used to
CON: Limited exposure because a contract lab, not the ones doing it
CON: Money will always be tight since it is a contract lab 
CON: Contract labs not always seen as good on resume
If I did not get A or B, and volunteered to get laid off from current company and got our nice severance, I think Company C could be a decent option. Lay offs may not happen until Sep-Oct, and not sure I'd get let go. 
I am conflicted because Mark said not to negotiate, and don't tell the hiring manager it's benefits aren't as good. The alternative is to decline Company C. Yet they want me, have three open positions, it's HR not hiring manager, so shouldn't I tell them my concerns? If Company A worked out, and we could relocate, nothing C did would make me choose them though. Company B interview is in two days, so I can see how that goes. 
Should I tell recruiters for A or B anything that could help get me a better offer, or just do the best I can at the interview on Jul 3 and Jul 12? 
Since this week is a holiday week, and all of them know I'm travelling out of the country week of Jul 8, that buys me a litle time. I have not sought advice from anyone in my network yet because for A and B, I don't have offers yet and I am excited about the possibility of both positions, just not trying to sell the house..

maura's picture
Training Badge

Wow, three strong leads.  That's what I call a high class problem.  (grin)

I think you should decline company C for now, simply because of your statement "and I'm not that excited".  If A and B don't pan out, and you do end up getting laid off in the Fall, AND Company C is growing as fast as you say, there is a good chance there will be additional opportunities avaiable at that time.

Now, between A and B:

Company A is the clear frontrunner, from what you've said, and I think the two cons you list are maybe scary, but not necessarily cons.  I've followed your story for the past several months and although I don't actually know you, it seems like something new would be just the breath of fresh air you need. And the fact that the supervisor is someone accomplished, who sees your potential, is huge, compared to what you've been dealing with. I haven't spent much time in the Southwest, so I can't weigh in on the location itself.

For company B, discount the fact that the recruiter is quite aggressive.  Just because you don't like the guy selling the tickets doesn't mean you won't like the show.  I know from prior posts that although the title is somewhat important to you, the freedom to do the work you believe in is most important to you.  Hopefully that will be explored in your interview on Wednesday, because that's probably going to be your deciding factor.  Till then, not enough information to really give any guidance.  As to location, I moved from the NE to the SSE, and it's a heck of a culture shock.  Don't worry too much about the "pretty good" relocation because cost of living is much lower here - but factor in private school for that baby, because the education system is... lacking.

Good luck!  I'm considering making a move after 10 years at the same company, and I can only hope I have the kind of luck you have had, with multiple companies interested.


svibanez's picture

My concern for you is relocation.  You list it as a con for both A and B, and lack of relocation as a pro for C.  Everybody has different reasons for their position on relocation so you need to give this serious thought.  If the snow-bound winters are something you love and will miss dearly, then either A or B may be a poor fit for you.  Some of us can't wait to move to someplace new, while others have very strong ties to extended family or to region-specific activities that drive us remain in a certain location regardless of opportunities elsewhere.  Relocation is a very personal issue.

I agree with Maura regarding the professional and growth opportunities.  It sounds like you're in a good place in your career and will probably remain in demand should these other opportunities not pan out.

Assuming you have the opportunity to pick from all three, think carefully about family happiness as well as advancement in your field.  If relocation is in the cards for you, make sure your wife is onboard with the decision.


DiSC 7114

TNoxtort's picture

 Thank you Maura for having following my story

Other people in my network are also telling me to decline Company C.
The hiring manager for Company B called me last night to tell me about the area. He really wants to meet my wife tomorrow when we're in town though I'm not sure if that is a good idea. He also mentioned the not-so-good school system, but our baby is only 1.5 right now. The concerns I have about this position are
- individual contributor role, not leadership role, which they are trying to hire, but that person has to have more experience in regulatory
- outside the lab, so not creating innovative new products
- in this business (pharmaceutical), you can't put a boring or innovative product on the market without regulatory approval, which drives everything, so learning regulatory would be good
- the best way to learn regulatory, I've been told, is to work on a Phase III project but at my job, that won't be happening, so this may be the next best thing (or maybe even better), and keep in mind this job is still staying in the same unique therapeutic area I've worked in for 7 years, so no learning curve on the science, and still same network of people
- my future coworkers on this job  have 10 - 20 years of regulatory experience, but lack scientific background, so i could learn a lot from them
- I've noticed several EVPs of R&D came up through regulatory ranks
I just spoke to someone in my network who said that many people try to do regulatory, but many fail because they can't mix the regulations with the science and instead act like mini-cops saying "no" to everything their coworkers. I'm really good at balancing different perspective, and good at being interdisciplinary, so it could be good for me. 
As for relocation, the negative is because love our area (close to everything), and have our favorite restaurants, and many more still on the list to try, and a few friends. All replaceable I guess. My parents are on the East mid-Atlantic, wife's are in the South East. The winter ain't bad at all. Just the hassle of moving and selling a house. I think may THINK she likes one better than the other, but she will adjust and like any option and I hate to make a decision based on her impulse of the moment. Baby will be OK too.
Company A does have me excited, but it is a totally new therapeutic area, and even job function, and would be a new network of people. That interview isn't till next week, so let's see. I just hope I get good offers. Meanwhile, we're almost ready to file the patent on the work in my current job, and maybe write two more papers (before I were to leave) to publish. Too bad my work here isn't recognized, but both A and B are I think, better than what I have now, and definitely better than the two opportunities I looked at last fall/winter.

TNoxtort's picture

 Had interview yesterday with Company B. About 12 people, including his whole staff and a few associated staff. Everyone seemed to like me, kept telling me I have many complementary skills that could help them, and were telling me why I should work there. Hiring manager met me at the end and told me the feedback from others was very good. He took me, my wife, and our baby out to dinner and spent several hours showing us the area. He even had drawn on a map all the places for us to check out.. The hiring manager told me he has budget to go well above my salary, and I am the only candidate he has, and is not pursuing any others. His company is buying another company, and that deal HAS to go through this week though, or else the position is gone.

My wife really liked the area. All of her previous concerns, her friends, her doctors, her job, didn't seem to matter anymore. 

I am starting to think Company B may be a better career move than Company A, which I was more excited about, for the reasons I listed in the previous post. It's clear they need someone for this regulatory position who understands the science, which I do, and they seem to want my good computer skills, my good writing skills, and my good public speaking skills.  Also, the other folks, who work for the hiring manager, spoke very highly of him.

I'm going to have make sure to keep in touch with my network for advice on how to get the most out of all this. The CT podcasts had some good points, but were less helpful because Mark said don't negotiate since there are 100 other people who are qualified for the job. For these jobs for me however, I think there are very, very few people qualified and I need to use that to my advantage, especially when it comes to title.

dmb41carter36's picture

You mentioned the wife's previous concerns seemed to melt away. I would not dismiss them so fast. Grass is always greener, espcecially when it seems they are rolling out the red carpet.

Think about it from her side. Goes from having a job, friends, social life and an established support system for Baby to the opposite end of the spectrum. Stting at home, by herself with baby with no one to talk to. Is she going to work in the relocation? If so, consider how tough it is go through the job search process multiplied by about 10 when you factor in the lack of support system (baby, friends etc.). If she does go back to work, then you also need to find reliable, cost effective, safe child care.... in a brand new area. That alone is not simple.

Please also consider that this is a very difficult time for you too. You will be trying to impress the new job and will be tempted to work extra hours and at home. Juggling this with the complications of your wife and personal situation is not easy.

I obviously don't know you and your situation personally. I simply want you to be aware of the hidden risks, I've seen people take the offer/relocation only go through hell.

ajhoffman1021's picture
Licensee Badge

I agree with dmb41carter36 on relocation conerns.  I've moved my family twice to unfamiliar areas and while my wife was very supportive at first and she was able to keep her job (she became a tele-commuter), it took her about 2 years each time we moved to get connected into the community we moved into.  During that two years stint, I wouldn't say it was "hell"...purgatory, maybe...but not hell.  :-)

Kidding aside, it was a very stressful time for my wife.  The biggest issue for her was in meeting people and making new friends.  With respect to kids, the first time we moved, we didn't any.  When we had our first, we were able to find a dependable daycare relatively easy.  When we moved the second time, it was more of a challenge as we not only needed to find a dependable and safe daycare (it took us two tries to find the right one) but we also had to make a decision on where to live based on the public school district to ensure that it was safe and met out standards.  We failed on that part because we didn't know the area and we didn't have any connections to know what was good or bad; the realtor was not very helpful in this regards either.  In the end we were going to enroll into a private school to ensure proper education (I am using past tense as we are currently in transition yet again).

On the plus side, our transition this third (and hopefully last) time around is taking us back home so the transition should be pretty easy.  My wife is very excited about this because all we have to do is re-plug into our network and she does not have to "prove she is worthy" to find friends and a support network.

I am only one example of what happened and your experience(s) will be very different from ours.  To tag onto what DMB stated, make sure you talk with your wife to understand any reservations she may have and try to do some research to help get her connected into the community (via church, daycare, welcome clubs, etc.).  As with DMB, I only want to make sure you are aware of the stress a relocation can be on your family during the transition; which can last long after the move.

TNoxtort's picture

 Thank you all for the comments on the effect of relocation on my wife.

I appreciate the input, but the way you describe your wives sounds very different than my wife. She's about the least stressed person you'll ever meet and doesn't worry about anything. Her support system is me and calling her mom, but she's rarely under stress. This can be a problem for me when she forgets bills, etc, but for something like this I think she'd be OK.
The hardest time for her was when we got married. She had leave the state she had spent her whole life in, and join me 600 miles away. She's never had a lot of friends and doesn't have a huge social network here, just a few friends who are single. She doesn't have any fellow friends who are  moms. Our baby goes to a daycare franchise full time that was actually started in the same state as Company B. 
My wife works for a university, but she drives around the state visiting clients, so mostly works from home. She's trained as a teacher but left that 3 years ago after finishing her degree and networking (thanks to my coaching) caused her to be approached for positions. She only works part time. She sees opportunities in both Company A and Company B geographies. She also plays a musical instrument and will probably find a community band. 
Company B is also closer to her parents and in a very touristy part of the country, so I expect her parents will visit a lot. Both of us are pretty good about getting out and talking to people, so I don't think it'll be as big of a problem. 
Our plan would be to rent for a year and then buy after learning the area. Both my current employer, and Company A and B have much more generous relocation plans than described in the MT podcast , and would include paying all commissions and closing costs, as well as packing and moving expenses, and allow us to wait up to a year before buying. In our new area, we'll start by downsizing into a luxury apartment in the downtown area (have fun), and then buy in the less expensive suburban area later on.

TNoxtort's picture

So the word on Company B is that they like me and I like them. I sent my thank you letters to each of the 12 people I met last night, and the hiring manager wrote me back a few hours later.

But now the recruiter is playing the dirty negotiation game. He said he wanted to know what I was looking for, and it's hard to tell given I'll have to sell my house and things and move much further away. I haven't even seen the numbers on the benefits or the relocation package other than his assurance that it will all be taken care of. I was dumb and told him a number and he just claimed it was way too high and he didn't think they could do it and they'd probably go to another candidate. Then he went way lower and I said forget it and he went a little higher. He also told me he wanted to see evidence of my exact salary and bonus because 9/10 times, the company wants to see it. This is all BS. Before my last interview, I had prepared on answering the question and I wish I had done better here, but I wasn't ready for his call. Last week, at dinner with my wife and I, the hiring manager said he had plenty of budget for my salary, and I was the only candidate. And he seemed to really like me.

This hiring manager does want to check reference, and the recruiter insisted I go through him. The hiring manager said he'd be OK talking to the guy who hired me 7 years ago, since they kind of know each other, he's retired now, and we talk often. This person, who hired me 7 years ago, hired me at a higher level and said he'll make that case to the hiring manager.  He agreed that this recruiter may be BSing me. Then I talked to a few other recruiters and she said it sounded a little suspicious, but he doesn't get paid unless I take the job, so he wouldn't want to lose me. 

Also, the recruiter had told me this was a "retained" search, yet I've seen this job advertised by other recruiters elsewhere on the Internet. 

Anyhows, I go out of the country tomorrow so I won't have to deal with it for a few days. And then my interview with Company A, which, when I wrote this post, was my first choice though Company B is now my first choice.

TNoxtort's picture

 Interview with Company A was incredible. Great company, the supervisor and the 12 other people I met with really noticed my strengths. The interview included a 2 hour tour with a relocation consultant and so I am glad I paid to bring my wife. This place is more expensive than the already expensive place we live. I will also have to learn a lot, since it is a new function with a new type of molecule, with new therapeutic areas. However, that opens me up to those areas for the future, whereas Company B is still in my therapeutic area. Which isn't bad. Wife did not like Company A geographical area as much since it is so far. Another negative is that at Company A, I'll be the small fish in the big pond, rather than at Company B  (both are still big companies).

Meanwhile, recruiter for Company B was calling a lot but I wasn't taking his calls. I said I was out-of-the-country and also did not want him to cloud my thinking at the interview for Company A. 
I did call and the recruiter made the offer for Company B. It included the title, the salary, the location, a start as soon as possible, and to get back to him this week. I still think it is suspicious that it came from the recruiter instead of the hiring manager or the HR. The offer was at the top of what I had discussed the week before that I posted about. I wish I had gone for 4% higher, but oh well. The benefits are comparable to what I have now, and include a 3% retirement benefit I had not considered. Further the relocation package is very good, better than what I expected. I still dislike the recruiter's tactics.
I know they want me to start ASAP, but they only start you on health insurance at the start of the next month. I cannot leave my company in time to start Aug 1, so then Sep 1. This is significant since my wife has a chronic condition. Unless they want to pitch in to COBRA. Meanwhile, I have things I have to finish at my current job
Also, they expect me to start remotely, from my state, and fly back and forth every week by plane, and I have to figure out how and when we will do the actual relocation.

jrb3's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

While I've found it not unusual that an offer comes *through* a recruiter, you phrasing it as coming "from" the recruiter raises red flags for me.  You *must* be clear on this.  Find out who will be issuing the W2 (or non-US equivalent).  Get the written offer and see on whose letterhead and authority.  If the answer to any of these is not "company A", you are NOT repeat NOT getting employed by company A, you are getting employed by the recruiter's firm and being billed out (at a markup) to company A.

Had this happen to me once, where a recruiter represented a job to me as a "permanent placement at company X", form of payment to be W2 by company X.  Things were fine until the offer came through.  All conversations were saying very clearly I was going to be a direct employee of company X;  the offer came on recruiter stationery and did not mention some standard benefit to company X employees.  I asked "what about that benefit", and got the answer "what about it".  So I asked the magic question:  "Who issues the W2 to me?"  Hem, haw. (RED FLAG!)  The recruiter's firm.  "So who did company X offer to?"  Hem, haw, the recruiting firm.  "When did your firm accept that offer?"  Hem, haw, two weeks before I met the recruiter.  "Ah, so if you're misrepresenting this key component of the deal to me from day one, what else are you being dishonest about?  Good day."  Missed a great job at company X, and kept out of the clutches of a soon-to-be-locally-notorious recruiting firm.

Ever since, one question early on in any opportunity, verified at least once before and also at the offer itself, is "how am I paid, and who pays me and my taxes".  I can handle any of the answers going in;  I refuse to accept a change-of-answer I did not help arrange for.

-- Joseph

svibanez's picture

and it was a direct hire for the company.  They just processed everything so the company didn't have to (they had a 2-person HR dept, working on a massive build-up at the time).  Everything went very smoothly and I got everything I was promised.  This was my only experience with a corporate recruiter so consider all the input you get on this subject.

Once you get clarification on who you will actually work for, I recommend you put your feelings about the recruiter out of your head.  Base your decision on which position is right for you and your family.  That recruiter is no longer part of your life once you make the decision, so don't let them be part of the decision.


DiSC 7114

TNoxtort's picture

Thanks for the warnings.

In my business, pharmaceutical, I don't think people are ever employed by the recruiting firm. I did see the benefits and it is all on letterhead of the company. Offer letter should be here in a few days, so I'll check.

So I accepted the offer from Company B today. The hiring manager is on vacation, which may be why it came from the recruiter. I decided to just be happy with the lower salary than I wanted and not as high of a title because, 1) the salary is at the top of what I asked for, 2) it's a big jump for me, 3) other recruiters I talked to said the salary I got was very good, 4) the relocation and 401k plan are nicer than I expected, 5) titles don't mean much to future good hiring managers as they care more about the publications,  the products developed, and the technologies I've worked with, knowing I already have a PhD 

As for Company A, the feedback I got was the hiring manager really, really, really liked me. The other employees under him though were not sure if I had the right knowledge; he made it clear to me he needed something different than what they had for this job. So they wanted to to talk to other candidates before making an offer. Given than wife liked the geographical area of Company A less, and B wanted me bad, and I liked B, I decided to go ahead and accept B without waiting for A. I have not told A yet. Let me pass the background checks and drug screens. And then I need to inform my employer. And my network of all the recruiters I know. I probably have about a month before they want me to start because of their own vacations.

I did decline Company C.

Now what would be awesome is if my own company did some restructuring and I got laid off and got the awesome severance. Unfortunately, unlikely to happen in the next month, and even if it did, unlikely for me to be cut.

maura's picture
Training Badge

Congratulations Art!  I'm so happy and exited for you and your family.


svibanez's picture

I wish you all the best in your new position!


DiSC 7114

TNoxtort's picture

 Thank you all for the input. Other good news:

- the state we are moving to as no income tax (the hiring manager said he would not fact that into the offer because governments are notorious for having other ways to make it up)

- my wife works, but has a disability and our current state has a problem that provides $1000 / month in housekeeping services. Turns out the new state also has a similar program. In asking for the salary that I got, I mentioned that, so this is great that the extra salary is then ours to kee

Also, after listening to the How to Resign podcasts, I plan to setup lunches with people and but only give a 2.5 week notice to my current employer. The reason for the shorter than 4 weeks is because 1) my project is over and I don't really have much to do at work, so there is little that anyone needs to catch up to, 2) no one reports to me 3) there is so much dysfunction and politics and jealousy, so I want to get out quickly once I tell them 4) more time to give a greater chance to perhaps leave on a lay-off package instead of resignation, though I doubt the timing will work out. I plan to use the sample dialogue that Mark and Mike provided in the cast.