I've been made an offer for a position that I will likely accept. I've been given a week more time than planned (at my request) to make a decision, which makes it possible to attend a campus interview (already scheduled) for another position, although it probably won't be as good as the already-offered one.

Knowing this, should I just accept offer A? I feel bad taking the full extended time to make a decision that I've pretty much already made privately, although I feel that I can't cancel the campus interview since they already booked the travel accommodations (on the same day I received offer A no less). (And I suppose it could actually be a better offer).

Will it hurt me to take all the time they've given me? I would literally be letting them know maybe 1 or 2 days ahead of the full bracket. I don't want to look like I'm dragging my feet and they've made it clear that they're trying to close it out quickly. My assumption is that they've given me time, so I should use it- but I just don't want to hurt my chances.

The alternative however would be, I suppose, to accept offer A and then attend the campus interview, which sounds worse. Thoughts? Thanks.

  • I actually had a similar story, but I was open with them about the other interview. After all, it is the obvious reason to want an extension, isn't it? Though I did also (honestly) tell the first one I liked it better based on what I saw so far. Then (well before the deadline) I started getting emails from faculty welcoming me to the department, so be careful how you word that part... May 31, 2018 at 1:38
  • 5
    Meeting a deadline is never wrong. Missing a deadline is always bad.
    – J...
    May 31, 2018 at 12:08
  • 3
    Do you expect an offer to made quickly from the campus interview? That offer may not come before your deadline is reached. If the campus interview goes well, you may do well to let them know you have another offer and ask for what their level of interest is and what type of offer they would be considering. If you can't get that, the deadline may pass before you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
    – Jim
    May 31, 2018 at 19:39
  • No, of course not.
    – Andrew
    Jun 1, 2018 at 2:15

3 Answers 3


Not at all. You should go to the interview, see the competing offer, if you get it, and then decide. Note that you will likely not have time to have either school make a counter offer. Therefore, I would recommend that at the interview you let the school know you have an existing offer and deadline and that they will have to move quickly and at least match the other offer (or whatever it will take to get you there).

If the school that has made the offer asks, just tell them you are waiting to hear from one last place. You could send a preemptive email telling them that, but there really is no need.

  • 2
    So this. If they needed or wanted a sooner decision, they would have given an earlier deadline.
    – corsiKa
    May 31, 2018 at 14:51

Taking the time and considering the other place is certainly a good plan, and it isn't rude. However, you're considering the wrong alternative option. It's not ok to accept the job and hide it from the other school, but it is totally reasonable to accept the job offer that you're excited about now and withdraw from the other search. Going to an interview if you know you're not going to take the job is a waste of everyone's time, and it's not rude to withdraw if you have an offer you prefer. You can say that you're still happy to give a talk or cancel the visit as they prefer, but they won't need to have half-a-dozen people meet with you including a dean when it's all a wasted effort. (See Frank Thorne's answer.)

  • 4
    Going to an interview if you know you're not going to take the job is a waste of everyone's time - Yes, see this question: academia.stackexchange.com/q/106960/19607
    – Kimball
    May 30, 2018 at 20:13
  • 10
    But also see various comments and answers on the question @Kimball linked to, pointing out that you should never "cancel anything until you have formally accepted a formal written offer." May 30, 2018 at 22:28

If there is any chance that offer A will be filled before you accept, than you should accept it and never look back. If you believe that they will keep it open for you (despite them wanting to fill it quickly), then take all the time available to you. If in doubt, accept offer A.

People might say its unlikely (and so unprofessional!) that they will fill the job if they offered it to you, but its happened to me.

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