Decision Time -- How to Handle Multiple Offers

Posted by in Career Advice


Who would think that having more than one job offer would be a problem?  Any offer is welcome in this tough job market.  If you’re sending out lots of resumes, networking and following up with leads you could find yourself with a couple of job offers at the same time.  How do you make a choice and negotiate the best deal without losing them all?


Employers are taking more time making choices.  They interview multiple candidates, conduct second and third interviews with front runners and complete extensive background and reference checks.  This drags out the selection process and keeps job seekers hanging on.  Do you stop your job search and count on a job you may not get?  Do you tell a prospective employer you have other opportunities and you need to know if you’re a front runner?   Here are some things to consider:


1.    Compare the offer to your requirements.  Salary isn’t the only consideration.  Compare travel time, schedule, responsibility, benefits and opportunity for growth of both jobs.  Which job is the closest to your dream job? 

2.    Sometimes a job offer for a less desirable job comes in before an offer for the “dream job.”  No offer is set until you sign the offer letter or employment contract.  Don’t feel compelled to make a quick decision.  You’ve waited for the employer to make a decision.  A few days on their end won’t make that much difference.

3.    If one job comes out ahead except for one factor, you can try to negotiate on that point.  If both jobs are great, but one pays better, try to negotiate a higher salary, more vacation time or some other non-monetary compensation item.  

4.    Don’t pit one employer against the other.  Make a decision on the merits of the job, not on who wants you the most.  You could lose both jobs if negotiations go on too long. 

5.    Don’t take a job just so you don’t lose it while waiting on a better offer from another employer.  If the other offer comes in and you quit after just a few weeks, your current employer will feel taken advantage of.  A reputation is hard to recover.  Your boss and the new boss may play golf together; belong to the same Rotary Club or professional organization.  It won’t take long for the story to come out and it could affect your relationship with your new boss.


Whatever job you take, let the other one go.   Put everything you have into your new job.  If it turns out to be less than expected, make the best of it.  You can’t go back to the other employer and try to revive the other job.  The fact that you’d quit a job so soon makes you a risk—one  the other employer would probably consider a risk not worth taking. 


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