Job Search

What to Do When You Have Multiple Job Offers

Advice from a pro on handling this awesome-but-tricky situation

You’ve searched through the job boards. You’ve scored the interviews. You nailed the follow-through. And you did it, in spades: not just one job offer, but two at the same time. That just means you’re doubly-awesome, right? While this is a good problem to have, it takes skill to navigate.

So you can be sure you’re making the best decision while also maintaining a good standing with both companies, we talked with Alex Twersky, career expert, co-founder of Resume Deli and Mediabistro’s own resume and cover letter writer, to help shed some light on this topic for you—the luckiest job-seeker ever who we’re not jealous of at all.

Tackling the Ideal Situation

In a perfect world, you’d be given two job offers around the same time. Here, the first thing you should do—after somehow landing two job offers, you magical beast—is contact the companies and ask for two or three days to make a decision.

Throughout this process, Twersky reminds candidates to be “professional, courteous and sincere” and warns job-seekers against attempting to start a bidding war between the two companies.

Making a Decision

Deciding between two job offers can be a tough call—you job-landing wizard—and in order to make a sound decision, Twersky recommends making a list followed by a good old fashioned gut check.  

Create a spreadsheet or just a simple mental checklist, which, as Twersky recommends, includes qualitative factors such as your perception of the company culture at Company A versus Company B.

While salary and benefits are always going to be determining factors in your decision, “choosing between one position and another entails imagining how you will feel on a day-to-day basis occupying one role or the other,” says Twersky.

If your situation is the more common scenario—where you’re offered one job but are holding out for another job offer—then you’re going to need to employ a little more strategy. Read on.

Tackling the Less Ideal—but Still Equally Amazing—Situation

So Company A sent you an offer, but you’re still holding out for an offer from Company B, who you’ve already interviewed with—you samurai of the job search. The first thing Twersky recommends doing is asking yourself if you can feasibly take the risk by holding out for Company B.

If you’re in need of paycheck to pay your rent or mortgage on time, then the smarter move might be to take the offer on the table. But, “if time is on your side, and Company A doesn’t entice you enough to leave your present position, then you can certainly take the risk and wait for Company B,” says Twersky.

Lighting a Little Fire

To aid the process, Twersky suggests you send an email to Company B’s recruiter or HR team asking about their timeline for making a decision, stating that you’d prefer not to entertain any other offers until you understand Company B’s disposition.

By doing so, you’re sending the message that you’re wanted by other companies while also reaffirming that Company B is your top choice.  

You can also reach out to HR and let them know that, if offered, you would accept the job without hesitation, says Twersky. And of course, with all your correspondences remember that, “HR is not your best friend so you need to frame things you say or write accordingly,” reminds Twersky.

Removing Yourself from Consideration

When you finally make your decision between offers—you master of the job boards—you should contact the other company right away to remove yourself from consideration, kindly professionally and graciously.

And if you fall into the situation where you’re still holding out for an offer from a second company, consider this:

If you’re not completely enthused by your backup job choice, and you’re financially able to let it go, “then practice good job karma and let it go so it can land on another deserving candidate while you apply your energies to snagging the offer you REALLY want,” says Twersky.

Taking a strategic approach to your job search is known to up your interviews, increase your salary offerings and land you in a job you’ll actually love. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level, check out Mediabistro’s Career Services, whose experts help transform your resume, cover letter and social profiles into a professional package employers can’t resist.

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