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    If candidates are so highly sought-after, couldn’t they request extensions on their offers?

    I realize it’s a bit risky, and the real challenge is disseminating this knowledge.

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      I suspect the exploding offer or vanishing signing bonus is a tactic that takes advantage of the young candidate’s lack of experience with interviewing and getting hired. They just spend a bunch of money on an expensive degree; it seems foolish to risk giving up a signing bonus or an entire offer to wait for a better offer that may not materialize.

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        I’m curious if this signals that they are becoming less sought after – in other words, that companies realize they have the upper hand, and can strongarm candidates. I have no way of knowing, though.

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        Last year, I got an offer from Company A about 2 hours before my 7th? (8th?) interview with Company B. I did well w/ Company B; they were confident I would get an offer, but it would have to go through a committee first (1 week) and they wouldn’t have any numbers until the week after that (2 weeks). So it goes.

        Meanwhile Company A said they will not wait that long for my decision. Both recruiters said the other is playing hardball, not to trust them, choose us, et cetera. I had a totally incomplete view of my options, and neither wanted to give me an extension/rush to accommodate the other. They say it’s good to have multiple offers at once, but I found it very hard to get that timing right.

        Aside: I nearly went to university in Florida when school after school turned me down for scholarships during spring of my senior year. I’d pretty much forgotten I’d even applied to my alma mater when I finally got a packet in April. I’m very glad I waited, but an ‘limited-time-offer’ scholarship could’ve made me choose poorly

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          Different issue, but companies wanting 7 or 8 interviews before they make offers isn’t helping the situation either. They take forever to get through the hiring process on their side, and then want a very quick decision on your side, which is a poor combination. Also suggests that tech workers don’t have as much leverage as seems to be assumed, since you can only get away with that kind of imbalance if the company is holding all the cards. Maybe it’d be more balanced if we had unions, or even a halfway effective professional society (imo, ACM is not a very effective advocate for tech workers).

          Regarding the university story: I’m not sure if it’s also true of undergraduate scholarships, but for graduate fellowships this is quasi-formalized, with major universities mutually agreeing to not require firm responses before April 15. Besides it being nicer for students to not have to deal with exploding offers, the motivation on the universities' side is to avoid putting themselves in a situation where every university is racing to send out exploding offers before everyone else does (somewhat like the situation Jane Street complains about here).

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            . Both recruiters said the other is playing hardball, not to trust them, choose us, et cetera. I had a totally incomplete view of my options, and neither wanted to give me an extension/rush to accommodate the other.

            I had that happen straight out of school as well. I ended up turning down company A because of it, and immediately got a phone call back from the hiring manager apologizing and giving me an extension.