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I had already asked a question here Just to provide a gist, I was being chosen as a third candidate for the PhD grant and there was only single vacancy.

Now the 1st chosen candidate has been approved another grant and the position is now open again. This information is been communicated by professor, and he initiated the conversation this time.

But the position will only be available after six months. My situation is bit complex: Due to some family issues, I denied couple of other opportunities. I am in talks with one other position, for which I am almost selected (this is what I feel). This position will start from April/May 2016. I am genuinely interested in both the positions as their topics overlap with my previous work.

Now, how what should I communicate back to the professor? I would not want to write it off. It’s safe to have this position on the stack. But at the same time, I would not want to give him a word that I will definitely be his student. How do I tactically say this: “I am keeping you for an option; if I get better position than this, I will go there; if I do not get anything else, I will join you.” I would also like to ask politely: “Why don’t you try harder and create a position till March/April? I would be happy to join you.”

At present, I have two options open and I do not mind going ahead with any of them. Note that I am not asking whom to chose.

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    What's your question here? Obviously we can't tell you which job to choose, or what the likelihood is that you'll actually be offered any of these jobs. What do you want to know that we can actually tell you? – ff524 Dec 25 '15 at 4:50
  • pl see the edited quetion.. – user2705939 Dec 26 '15 at 4:46
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    When will you know if you have been selected for the other place? Do you have a deadline for accepting this position? You can also contact the people at the other position and ask them to give you an answer, since you have another pending offer. – Davidmh Dec 26 '15 at 16:54
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    It’s safe to have this position on the stack. — What "stack"? Expecting the professor to hold their position open for six months until you hear from your other options would be completely unreasonable. So don't do that. Either accept the position and try to negotiate the start date (knowing that you may fail), or turn it down but indicate that you may still be interested later (knowing that the professor may have offered it to someone else by then). Do not under any circumstances suggest that your potential future employer "try harder". – JeffE Dec 26 '15 at 19:17
  • @JeffE Can you turn your comment into an answer so that I can vote for it? – jakebeal Jan 26 '16 at 11:29
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It’s safe to have this position on the stack.

What "stack"?

Expecting the professor to hold their position open for six months until you hear from your other options would be completely unreasonable. So don't do that. Either accept the position and try to negotiate the start date (knowing that you may fail), or turn it down but indicate that you may still be interested later (knowing that the professor may have offered it to someone else by then).

Do not under any circumstances suggest that your potential future employer "try harder". At least to my American ears, that comes across as incredibly condescending and entitled, and therefore likely to alienate the professor to the point of rescinding their offer.

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