How To Handle Multiple Job Offers

By: John Hutchins, Quantix Vice President, Client Services 

When you first started looking for a new job, you thought it might take you a few months before landing a good opportunity. Your job search started out a bit slow, but now recruiters are knocking down your door and you’re faced with the enviable problem of receiving multiple offers at the same time. What do you do? Here are a few tips on how to handle such a terrible situation.

1) Clear and honest communication is the best policy. For some reason, many candidates faced with multiple job offers go dark while they decide what to do. Not only is this a great way to lose the offer, but it will likely alienate the person who made the offer. A better idea is to increase your communication – be clear and honest about the fact that you’ve received multiple offers. Receiving multiple offers is not a crime. You shouldn’t feel guilty about it. It should only reinforce the fact that you’re a desirable candidate with marketable skills. Quality employers will see it as a sign that they made the correct decision in offering you the position. Let the competing employers know the details of each offer, as well as what is most important to you. Ask them to help you walk through the pros and cons of their offer as compared to the other offers. You may learn something about their offer or the other offers that you didn’t think of before. Better yet, it may encourage the employers to become more creative and throw something into the mix that you never considered.

2) Avoid a bidding war. Money is always an important factor when it comes to deciding which offer to accept, but starting a bidding war will end up leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and will not benefit you in the long run. The successful employer, rightly or wrongly, will be concerned about your loyalty and worry that some other employer may steal you away for a few pennies. In addition, they will expect a faster return on investment. If you don’t add value quickly and completely – which is not always within your control – they won’t keep you around for long. To avoid this, only go back to the money trough once with each employer. Instead of focusing solely on the money, also consider the industry, business plan, benefits and perks – in other words, the whole opportunity.

Image Credit: Accessible Mortgages

Image Credit: Accessible Mortgages

3) Don’t accept an offer unless you mean it. One of the worst things a candidate can do is to accept an offer and then change their mind. Instead, take a reasonable amount of time to weigh the various offers and then make a decision – a final decision and don’t look back. If you keep having to postpone accepting an offer, then your subconscious is probably trying to tell you something and maybe you should simply decline the offer.

4) Beware of employers that become negative. Finding and hiring new employees is difficult and time consuming. Employers, of course, are interested in filling their open position as quickly as possible once they find the right candidate. They may not be thrilled that you have multiple offers, but how they handle themselves will tell you a lot about that employer’s culture and whether you want to work for them. If the employer is extremely negative, refuses to discuss the pros and cons, or imposes an unreasonable deadline, include their reaction as a data point in your decision making process.

The IT market is hot. IT professionals are increasingly faced with multiple offers and forced into making difficult decisions. As long as you handle yourself with class and professionalism, you won’t burn bridges or end up in a bad situation.

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