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Two job offers - nice problem!?

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about 4 years ago by Julie Mazzei

Two job offers - nice problem!?

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It sounds like an enviable position to be in but having two job offers on the table can be a very stressful process. As the candidate, you will be pressured to make a decision quickly, by one or both parties, and often not when all the facts are clear.  And with the recession now behind us and talent attraction at the top of most agendas, I am finding myself having to coach and counsel candidates through this situation more and more often.

Earlier this year I had one person with four offers on the table. We both learned a lot through the process that I think will be helpful to share. Here are some tips if you find yourself juggling multiple offers:

  1. Keep calm and focus on the end result - getting the best fit job for you.
  2. Be transparent - make sure you let all parties know that you have two (or more) offers to consider, and share the details.  This is easiest when you have a recruitment consultant representing you but if you are dealing direct you will have to be your own agent.
  3. Understand your motivations - before there are two offers on the table I ask my candidates to consider this as a likely possibility and prepare themselves to make a decision.  Look at the pros and cons and determine what will be the deciding factors for you - is it money, the chance to progress, role remit, flexibility, location, benefits etc?
  4. Prepare yourself - anticipate what your answer would be if given an ultimatum.
  5. Ask for time - this is a major life decision and it is acceptable to ask for a moment to consider…  You may find the company with the offer signed off pushing for an answer in order to close the deal - ask for a reasonable deadline and then stick to it.  Do not ask for more time at the end of the agreed period. Explain that you want to have an informed answer with all the facts rather than saying yes to a verbal offer and then changing your mind when other offer is confirmed.
  6. But don’t dither - taking too long can sour the feelings on both sides.  A reasonable time frame is a few days, if you creep up to a week the company will think you favour the other company over them and are not excited about the role.  Whatever the time line agreed stick to it and do not ask for further extensions.
  7. Be committed - if you give a verbal ‘yes’ – mean it! Don't see it as a way to say yes to one offer, biding your time for the other offer to confirm whilst you wait for them to draw up the contract.  Stick by your word or be at risk of losing two offers.
  8. Seek advice - this should be your recruiter but I have heard terrible examples of recruiters pushing candidates to make a decision which only backfires.  Yes your recruiter has a vested interest in you saying yes but if you have a credible consultant they will give you an objective advice. A good recruiter will know exactly what their client’s view point is - if they have a close second that they may offer to and how they will react to asking for time.
  9. Trust your gut - facts and logic are great but don’t underestimate your gut instinct. You will have a feeling if a role/business/culture is right for you, beyond the facts and figures, so don’t ignore it.

It can be a very stressful time but being professional and true to yourself will get you through.  Nerves of steel and a relationship with a good recruiter will simply make it easier!

By Julie Mazzei
Lead Consultant, UK Regions

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