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Steps for handling more than one job offer

It’s a nice problem to have. You’ve been searching for work and have more than one job offer on the table. Handling this well is essential to your career.

As expert recruiters, we advise you to break the process into manageable steps so you can compare apples to apples. This will help you think clearly, handle more than one job offer ethically and make the best decision without ruining your reputation.

It’s smart to use a professional recruitment company when seeking work since they can help broker job offers and negotiate salary. This takes pressure off you. At face2face, our services are free to candidates.

Using a recruiter also gives you access to more opportunities. This is because many employers who use recruiters don’t advertise their roles independently.

Step #1: Get the offer in writing

Take notes with verbal offers, so you don’t forget anything. Be positive and say you’re excited to consider the offer but would appreciate receiving it in writing. This can also buy you more time.

Step #2: Avoid rash decision making

Don’t get emotional or make a rash decision. Be calm, considered and careful. Apply clear thinking based on facts. You don’t need to accept a job offer on the spot. Thank the prospective employer and ask when they need your final decision. Then stick to that deadline.

Step #3: Gather the facts

To accurately compare apples to apples, you need the same facts for each position. Consider what is important to you. Money? A promotion? Work/life balance? Amazing benefits?

A good way to do this is with a pros and cons table, which puts matters in black and white. Here’s a sample format.

Job offer Pros (positives) Cons (negatives) Gut feeling, head or heart saying:
Rank 1 (low) to 10 (high)
Offer 1 Promotion, Use degree, Great team culture, Free parking Company could be stale in approach, 25K to travel 6
Offer 2

Step #4: Compare options using logic

Now rationally compare the pros and cons of each offer, ranking each on a scale. If you need to clarify details, contact your recruiter (or the employer if you’re not using a recruiter), but only once to avoid leaving the impression you’re unorganised.

Step #5: Negotiate the deadline for deciding

Deciding can be a pressure point. Consider asking for a couple of days to think matters through (no more than that). Your recruiter can organise this for you and most employers will respect the request. It’s important not to avoid create the impression you have doubts about the offer. Thank the recruiter or employer and reinforce that you’re excited about the possibility of working for such a great firm.

Step #6: Communicate your final decision

Once you’ve decided which offer you’ll take, let your recruiter or employer know. Also show respect by thanking the other employers for their offers.

Commonly asked questions on multiple job offers

  1. Do I mention I have more than one offer?

If working through a recruiter, be honest so they can manage the employer’s expectations and the best possible outcome for you.

If you’re working directly with the employer, remember that some will be impressed you’re in high demand. Others may feel you’re a risk and will move on the next top candidate.

  1. Should I use one offer as leverage to secure another offer?

If working through a recruiter, tell them how you feel and provide them with the details of the offers. They can then professionally broker the best outcome.

If working directly with the employer, first write out what you’ll say so you sound confident. You could say you’ve received another offer and that the employer needs an answer by xx date. Indicate that your preference is to work for their organisation if this is the truth. Never leave the impression you’re pitting one employer against another.

  1. What if I accept one offer and then receive a better one? Can I reject the first offer?

This is not an ideal situation and must be handled correctly and quickly.

If working through a recruiter, discuss this with them so they can talk to the employer about reversing your decision in the most professional manner. Employers would rather you reject an accepted offer before starting with them.

If working directly with the employer, be honest and explain why you’ve changed your mind. Thank them again and apologise for any inconvenience.

Importantly, don’t reject an offer until you have the other signed by both parties.

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