How to manage recruitment / offer timeline?

New answer on May 16, 2020
6 Answers
Anonymous A asked on May 15, 2020

Given the current economic situation, the demand for new hiring has been quite uncertain, and the recruitment process takes longer than usual. I would like to seek advice on how to manage the recruitment timeline.

Let's say you got an offer from a few firms you are not so satisfied with, but the odds of getting an offer from your dream firms are highly unpredictable. Would you choose to join the firms that you are not so satisfied with? On the other hand, is it normal to cancel or renege offers in consulting industry, or even quit in a few months to join another firm? Would this action make me "black listed" or have a bad reputation in the industry? Thanks!

Overview of answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Anonymous replied on May 15, 2020


This is a highly personal choice. Just my 2 cents here.

1. Ask yourself how satisfied are you with the current offer. Is it a 50%, 70% or 90% satisfaction compared to your dream firm? Personally I would take the offer with any score above 70%. At this current moment, having a job on hand is probably better than taking the risk, as long as the gap is not too huge.

2. If you want to buy more time, you can ask for a later start date. It should be quite easy nowadays. Changing your mind after accepting the offer but before starting the work would not make as big a dent.

3. If you start the work before you get your dream firm, I would suggest you stick with the firm for at least 1 year before jumping ship. It would allow you to learn more about the job and the firm. Maybe you can build good connection in the firm or maybe the culture actually fits you better...Give it a fair chance.



Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on May 15, 2020

Dear A ,

You're not alone with this challenge. Basically most of my mentees decided take their existing confirmed offer while they're still waiting for other interviews which were postponed to later in this year. So just take what you have on your shelf, and after half a year you could still have another interview and another offer and simply smoothly switch from one company to the other.

Hope, it helps.

Good luck ,

Was this answer helpful?
Anonymous replied on May 16, 2020


Given that the offring and target firm is the same category but only different tier / prestige (e.g. second tier vs MBB, Big 4 vs a larger Big 4), I would suggest that you join the firm that give you an offer and work there, if anything you will at least able to learn and train yourself.

You can always quit and join the bigger firm when you got concrete offer. Your only risk is that the original firm might be blacklisting you. However, if you perform very well in the job they might not even do that. It is normal in the industry to see people move to bigger firms.

Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on May 15, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Even in non-Covid times it was almost impossible to manage the timeline. Thus a couple of tools:

  1. Take time to consider the offer if you get one
  2. Once you get an offer from one MBB company (let's say not your dream one) - communicate this to another company (your target) to speed up the process
  3. Don't overthink it - the acceptance rates are so low now due to covif, that the situation of multiple offers / timeline issues will hardly happen

But there still may be several strategies to get more time:

  • Be transparent - you want to finish the process with all companies (And it's not about the particular company. For example, Bain was giving me an Intern Role while McKinsey gave me a Senior Analyst)
  • Ask for the time without explanation and if there is an urgency ask back why is the urgency
  • Time to learn more from employees: Given with what I've seen so far I am happy to sign the offer but I might need some more time to talk to people, visit the office and learn more about the company
  • Contract - Need time to check the contract details (it's not just about salary but also you can't have equity ownership as a consultant and you need to sell your businesses)
  • Refer to feelings - you can say that you don't feel comfortable making a fast decision and need some time to reflect
  • Family reasons - Need time to discuss with the partner


Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on May 15, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

A few answers. I should note that my responses are highly subjective and relative. Please take it with a grain of salt, and I trust that my colleagues will provide some counter-points to balance this out.

1) I would personally take an offer I am less satisfied with. Right now, the saying "one in the hand is worth more than two in the bush" has never been trueer

2) I think that, in one's career, you have one, maybe two (if spread out) chances to go "off the books". Again, in this case, if I had done step #1 and then, a few months later, were offered the dream job (and I was unhappy in my current job), I would switch.

This being said, you can only do this once AND you have to do right by all parties (i.e. give truly advance notice, be honest about your reasons/dreams, give company #1 time to adjust to you leaving, etc.).

People generally understand if the unexpected comes up and you have to follow your dreams/heart. However, you have to do it in an honest way (i.e. you're not taking offer #1 when you know offer #2 is coming in 3 months)

Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on May 15, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Anwering this question in a theorical level is not going to add you a lot of value, I am afraid.

Can you share the specificities? (e.g., companies, rejections, etc.)

Hope it helps!



Was this answer helpful?