Juggling Job Offers

June 07, 2012 by Careerminds

Jennifer Fry
Careerminds Consultant


During your career transition, it is extremely likely that you will submit resumes and applications to multiple employers with the hopes of being invited for an interview with each of them, impressing the pants off each of them, and receiving offers from each of them. Unfortunately, the likelihood of getting an offer for every single position for which you apply is fairly slim, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you will not be faced with more than one offer.
If you find yourself in this position, there may be a couple of questions on your mind: 1. how do I get one employer to wait while I’m waiting to hear from another, or while I’m making my decision? and 2. how do I choose between more than one employer/position? We’re here to advise you on both.
Question #1:
To begin, it can seem troublesome to ask one employer to wait for your response to an offer, but if you’re choosing between two or more offers or potential offers, it is necessary to give yourself a little bit of time to think it through. You don’t want to make a snap decision, especially one that will effect your career. Even job seekers who are offered one position commonly request a short amount of time to think it over, or discuss it with their families, so don’t fret that you’re expecting something out of the ordinary.
If you need time to decide between more than one position, you are likely in one of two situations: you’ve received offers from multiple employers around the same time, or you have received one offer, but you’re waiting for or expecting to receive another from a more appealing employer. Either way, you’ve got a choice to make, but depending on the situation, you may need to handle thing differently.

  • For the first siuation, you simply need to request an exact amount of time to consider your options, which typically ranges anywhere from 5-10 business days, depending on the pace at which things are moving during the hiring process– if the process has been moving fairly quickly, the employer will likely prefer to allow you fewer days to think things through, as they are likely in a rush to fill the position and start training. You don’t need to tell an employer that you’re choosing between them and another organization– in fact, it’s probably to your benefit to avoid telling them that explicitly, as it could damage your perceived committment to or enthusiasm for the organization at hand. You only need to explain to them that you’d like ____ days to consider their offer, and, if that is acceptable, you will contact them via telephone, email, whatever you’d like (but specify how they will hear from you) by a particular time on a particular day, and absolutely stick to your own deadline.
  • For second type of situation, however, the process may be slightly altered. Perhaps you’ve gotten an offer from one organization, but you’d really like to hear from another before you make your decision– maybe the second position will offer a higher salary, or better benefits, or just a better professional opportunity for you in the long run. Whatever your reason, it is best to be open with all parties involved. Upon receiving the first offer, you will need to request time to consider it, as stipulated in the previous situation, but it could do some good to explain that there are other organizations/positions concerned in your decision, in this case. By letting all employers know that more than one potential job offer is in the mix, you could speed up the process for the employer on whom you’re still waiting– but don’t expect them to rush into making you an offer because you’ve asked for one– and/or you could receive useful feedback that can help with your decision. If you contact the second employer, for instance, who is still conducting interviews, and they explain that they are unable to make a formal offer at the time, but that the hiring manager was very impressed, it can be inferred that you are, at the time, at the front of the pack. That’s not a guaranteed in, of course, but it may be a good reason to wait it out, especially if you prefer this employer over the other for whatever reason.

Question #2:
Now that you’ve gotten the time you need to mull things over, what exactly should you consider? There is no single common deciding factor for all job seekers considering all positions at all companies; it’s really dependent upon your individual situation and what you want/need out of your job at the time. Here are a few points that may or may not affect your choice:

  • Salary/benefits– If one employer simply isn’t offering the right salary to afford a living, or an insurance package that will cover your whole family, for instance, that could be a deal breaker. Don’t turn down an offer just because they aren’t offering you a fortune, though, especially if it will benefit your career and life in other ways.
  • Location– The simple fact that one office is closer to home than another could be a deciding factor, especially depending on your mode of transportation– paying for public transport, filling up the gas tank, etc.– and your home life. A professional with a family, for instance, may prefer to stay closer to home to allow for less commute time and more family time at the end of the day.
  • Day-to-day responsibilities– Consider what your average day will be like in this position. Will you be working late a lot? Would you be required to travel frequently? Is any of this out of the ordinary compared to your previous position, and could any of this affect your home life in a negative way? This job is going to be your everyday routine, and if that routine is something that you don’t really want or can’t really handle, for whatever reason, it may not be the right choice.
  • Long-term affects– Have a long-term career plan, and think about how this position will fit into it. Is this the job that will help you reach your ultimate goal? Or is it simply a job to fill in some space until you find the one that will help you achieve your goal?

Juggling job offers may seem like a lot of work, and the decision you will need to make could be tough, but in the end, your choice should be considered a victory– you applied for a position you wanted, you aced the interview, and you got the job!

Careerminds provides scalable, strategic solutions to organizations seeking affordable, web-based outplacement services. Using a Web 2.0 e-learning platform that delivers affordable, online career transition services, Careerminds provides a high-tech and high-touch blend of on-demand career transition education supported by senior-level career consultants to help displaced workers reenter the workforce quickly.



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