I have been applying for tenure-track positions this year, and just received an offer from University A that I'm pretty happy with (I was relieved to get any offer at all, in this particularly difficult year). I have been given just over a week to make a decision, and have been told that this isn't really negotiable, because the next candidate in line has a different deadline shortly afterwards, and the university doesn't want to lose that candidate.
However, I have a different application in progress for University B (in a different country), which I am much more interested in. It's not necessarily a better university, but it already has a presence in my research area and there are other people in the department I know quite well and would be excited to work with, and in addition it's in a city I much prefer. I've spoken to a professor at University B, who said there is strong support for my application and I should expect an interview invitation very soon, but that they don't think it's possible that an offer can be made before the decision deadline for University A (it seems that both universities were affected in different ways by COVID, and University A brought forward their process while University B delayed it).
So, it seems like I have a few obvious options:
- accept the offer from University A and withdraw my application from University B
- give up the offer from University A and cross my fingers for University B (I have already been told by a much less desirable university that they will make me a non-tenure-track offer, so at least I have this as a backup)
- accept the offer from University A, but continue with the University B application process, and renege on my agreement with A if get an offer from B (presumably this would come with a rather hefty hit to my reputation, and I would definitely feel uncomfortable about doing it).
There are also some slightly less obvious things I am considering:
- accept A's offer, and if I get an offer from B, ask them if I can delay it by a year. So at least I would have spent a year at University A, and technically not have violated my agreement (though I imagine I would still upset some people by doing this?)
- do some snooping to find out who is next in line for University A, and try to speak to them directly, in case they themselves are not that serious about University A or have some way of negotiating more time to decide on their current offer.
Are there any viable options I am not considering? Is there some way I might be able to pressure University A into giving me more time? Does anyone have any thoughts on the relative costs/benefits of the various options?