Accepting a job offer while waiting on a potential other job offer ?

So here is the situation, I am trying to get into project management, and I'm currently in between jobs right now. Most of my background has been with positions that had strong project management aspects to them but in a more informal environment. I would love to get into a job where I am in more formal project management environment for learning purposes.

I just interviewed with a company a few weeks ago. The position is administrative coordinator type role, so a lot of project management stuff (stuff I can count for trying to get my pmp as I'm like 500 hours short). Pay and benefits are good. I received word from an acquaintance that I will more than likely get a job offer on Monday.

I also just completed a 1rst round interview with a local software development company. They are looking for a project coordinator, and it's a much more formal project management environment. I did well on the first round interview, and a friend who works for the company says he thinks there is a good chance they will hire me...but I have to go through at least one more interview (which hasn't been scheduled yet I won't know until the end of the week).

So here's my dilemma/question; If I get the job offer from job a (the less formal project management type role) do I accept it or decline and hope for the best on job b? Or, do I accept job A and if job B extends an offer accept the job offer for job b and tell job a something else came up. Note that job a is not a very big company or directly in the field I want to be in so I'm not too worried about burning bridges or reputation If its the latter, how do you handle that?

Agreed with the other response, absolutely do not accept the first offer until you either receive or do not receive an offer from the job you prefer. In my experience, most companies do not give a "time limit" on accepting an offer, but just like to be kept in the loop regarding when you plan to make your decision. I would communicate to them that you are interviewing with another company but should be able to give them a decision by X date. In my experience, it would be extremely unlikely for them to rescind their offer. The fact that you have multiple options just makes you a stronger candidate. You could even negotiate your pay up using the other "offer" as leverage.

Thanks, Emily. Some friends told me to use one offer as leverage against the other too, but I'm afraid that the company I prefer might not be able to match it. If they can't match but I still want to work there, will it make me look bad?

In my opinion, no, not at all. Everyone knows a job isn't just about money. If they can't match it but you still want the job because you like the company and the role is exciting, that isn't something that would make you look bad. That happens all the time! At least you tried, and most likely you will get at least a bit more than the original offer.

Agree with Emily in that you should absolutely always negotiate for what you want (as long as it is reasonable which in this case it should be since that is what the other company is offering you). The worst they can say is "no, we can't match that" and if you still want the job, that shows you actually want to work there and it's not just about the money.

Thanks Janet. Wish me luck!

Most job offers give you at least a 48 hour window to sign and accept. If they verbally offer you the job first, tell them that you are very excited and would love to review the offer and have time to ask questions if needed. That way if need be you can ask for an extension on the deadline if the process with 2nd company is not progressing fast enough.

At the same time, let the hiring manager (or whoever your point of contact is) at company 2 know that you are expecting an offer from another company Monday, but you are really excited about them and if they are able to schedule a final meeting sooner that would be great. This way you are set up so that hopefully both will come together around the same time. If company 2 is unable to really push the process for you, that is a sign that they might not be AS interested as you thought.

I highly advise against accepting a job offer and continuing to interview at companies. It will burn serious bridges and you obviously don't want to do that. The above process keeps an open dialogue without giving too much information, but also lets people add urgency if they are serious.

Hope this helps, and I hope you get both offers!

This definitely helps, and I hope so too! I'll try and speed up company 2.