How the Firms Will Pressure You Into Accepting Their Offer


From the Bean Counter mailbag:

The dragon has been slayed…and my crazy journey is almost over.

I received an offer from Grant Thornton for full time in NY-metro. (I have to let them know by Nov 6th)
my problem now lies in the fact that PwC wants me in for an office visit 11/25!
How do I handle this? Do I tell PWC I can’t commit? What do I do?! I don’t want to burn any bridges but I am still grateful for an offer at a company I honestly loved visiting!
This is a very common problem during recruiting season. Firms are under pressure to make a certain number of hires and they need confirmation right away. If you reject Grant Thornton on November 6th, they’ll try to find another hire before the semester is over.
I had this same problem when I went through recruiting. This was my first email response to the person:
His response:
I am going against the grain but I really enjoyed Grant Thornton. I know everyone says Big 4 is the way but …
For him, the answer is simple. He loved Grant Thornton so he should take it. I had the same dilemma with PwC and another firm. I received my offer and cancelled my future interview because I got my #1 choice.

What if the firm is not your #1 choice? Or you don’t know?

This is a tougher situation. If you a) truly don’t know which firm you want or b) want to get a chance to meet all the accounting firms, you need to ask for an exception.

Send an email to the recruiter at the firm where you received an offer that has a deadline and say:

Dear Recruiter,

Good morning!

Thank you so much for having me in the interview process, I really enjoyed meeting everyone at Grant Thornton and am flattered to have received an offer!

Do you have a few minutes to chat? There is something I’d like to run by you.


Hopeful Recruit (put your name here)

This email is guaranteed to get a response. You could write the entire dilemma in an email, but when you’re in these types of tricky situations, it’s better to go ahead and call. If you’re asking for an exception, the person needs to hear the tone of your voice.

Here are a series of steps I would go through during the phone conversation:

  • Thank them again for the entire process and offer. Express gratitude.
  • Tell them that while you appreciate the offer, you have a request.
  • Now this is important. You need to show how important this decision is to you. Say something like:

“This is one of the most important decisions of my life and I plan on working at whichever company I chose for many many years. I feel obligated to myself, my wife/husband (if you have one), and the firm to make the right choice. That being said, I have an interview with another firm on November 25th and would like to attend.

To be honest, I have all intentions of choosing Grant Thornton, but I feel obligated to myself to explore all my options.”

I know multiple people who have done this and I’ll be honest, the outcome isn’t always the same.

If the firm is okay with it, then this is an awesome sign and should make you want to work there more. It’s a reflection of how much they like and care about you. It is also a sign to come for how they handle conflicts within the firm.

If the firm is not okay with it, then you need to consider what that means. Are they more concerned with their hiring quota than your larger career goals and life? If they aren’t willing to make an exception for you in a MAJOR life decision before your hired, how will they handle small problems once you’re an employee?

If they say yes, do the next interview and choose whichever firm you want! If they say no, you’re in a tough positions. You could go into the next interview and not receive an offer, then you’re stuck. Personally, I would recommend doing that. I don’t get a good feeling when the firm pressures you into responding to an offer. It’s TOO big of a decision in your life to not have the opportunity to explore all options. It also tells me this is a first of many dictatorial and one-sided decisions to come.

Note: Firm names have been changed for privacy of the emailer and dates and offers do not relate to specific firms.