My wife is currently finishing fellowship and finding her first attending position. I’m hoping you all may be able to offer an unbiased view on academic physician recruitment process etiquette. My question is, when has a candidate committed to a position from an etiquette standpoint? Obviously, nothing is legally committed until a contract is signed, but we want to make sure we understand the etiquette. She has offer letters for two academic job opportunities. She told one place that she is interested in moving forward to the contract phase. Apparently this is a lengthy process requiring multiple administrative approvals throughout the university, so she is waiting for an unknown period of time before she has a contract from them. While she is waiting, the chair of that department uses phrases that make it sound like she has definitely committed – ie “I’m so glad you are joining us, etc.” Meanwhile, she is at a point with the second place where she needs to tell them whether she is interested in moving forward to the contract phase or not. From an etiquette standpoint, is it generally acceptable to be in the contract phase with more than one place simultaneously? She has been told that is the smart thing to do in case one contract falls through, but the verbiage of the first place makes it sound like she has fully committed to them already. She has also been told by one of her mentors that "you have nothing unless you have a contract in hand." Do you all have any etiquette insights?
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