Dealing with more than one job offer or interview at a time might sound amazing. Like a dream come true! After all, it’s nice to be wanted, isn’t it? Well… yes and no.
It’s a tough job market, so if you’ve managed to nab two or more job offers at the same time, congratulations! You should be proud. It shows that you present well, and your skills and experience are in demand.
But even if you’re proud and happy about it, getting more than one job offer at a time can be stressful. The stakes are high. The pressure’s on. And chances are, you have about a million questions, like:
- Which one offers you the best compensation and best opportunities?
- Should you tell them you’re considering other offers?
- Will they think you’re trying to pit them against each other?
Your next move could change everything… so what should you do?
First of all, take a deep breath.
You don’t have to decide all at once. Let’s break down your options together, step by step. Let’s work on making sure you have the best chance at getting your preferred opportunity. And let’s do it while maintaining your professionalism, ethics, and stellar reputation in the process.
Side note: if you’re currently struggling to get a job interview (let alone a single job offer), this might all sound a bit unlikely. But stick with me. This could happen to you any time you have a few job applications going at once. It’s always worth being prepared, just in case.
Step 1: Get a written job offer in hand (or inbox)
It’s great if you have a verbal offer, but relying on one can be risky. So, before you do anything, make sure you have a written (or emailed) job offer.
Here’s what I suggest you say to the HR person (or whoever made you the offer): “That sounds great! I’d really love to review the contract and all the details and get back to you with my thoughts. When can I expect your written offer?”
This will make you look professional (which you are) and serious about the job (which you also are). And if it takes them a few extra days, it means you’ll get some bonus time to figure things out.
Step 2: Compare, compare, compare
When you’ve got two potential jobs to choose from, to make the right choice, you need to weigh up all your options logically. Even if one opportunity seems to jump out at you, it’s best to get everything down on paper so you can measure them up against each other.
I like to do up a pros and cons list to compare factors between each job. Or you could follow a template like the one I’ve included below:
Factors to help you compare job opportunities
|Job title at Company||Job title at Company|
|Career progression opportunities|
|Professional development opportunities|
|Daily commute length|
|Effect on day-care or school pick ups|
|Private health insurance details/benefits|
|Gym memberships and wellness programs|
Address the factors above, and add in anything else you can think of. Your factors will depend on what’s important to you personally and professionally. But at the very least, this process should help you see each job clearly and logically. You can compare “apples with apples” and see the pros and cons of each opportunity.
It’s important to think beyond just the obvious stuff like salary and professional opportunities. Consider the impact each job might have on your personal life. Especially when it comes to travel times and work hours.
Once you’ve got everything on paper, you’ll be in a much better position to decide which job is a better match for you and your goals.
Step 3: Be honest and ask for a bit more time
Sometimes the best option is to just be honest and upfront. Tell the HR person, interviewer, or whoever made you the first offer that you’re considering your options. Here’s what you could say:
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity. And I really hope that we get to work together. I know that you asked for a response by Thursday, but I’ve got a final interview booked for the end of the week and I would like to see it through. Do you mind waiting a couple more days, so I can get back to you?”
Best case scenario?
They say yes, and you’ll get some extra time. And they’ll appreciate your honesty and transparency.
Worst case scenario?
They’ll say no, and you’ll have to make your choice sooner.
Either way, at least you’ll have tried and you’ll know a little more about your potential employer’s openness and flexibility. Which could be an important factor to consider when making your decision.
Step 4: Bring it up with the other company
Finally, if you haven’t yet had your final interview with company #2, it might be worth extending your transparency them as well. But you’ll have to time this right and tread carefully. If you time it wrong or use the wrong language, you risk looking like you’re trying to play the situation to your advantage.
Even though you wouldn’t dream of doing so, saying the wrong thing might look like you’re trying to weasel a better offer out of each company. And that’d be unprofessional, unethical, and completely against my recommendations. Don’t do it!
So, if you choose to tell company #2 about your first offer, here’s what I recommend you do:
- Time it right
Aim for the end of your interview. By then, you’ll have a pretty good idea about how it’s gone (and what your chances are at getting an offer). Usually, your recruiter will breach the topic by asking if you’re interviewing with anyone else. Or they’ll ask you if you have any other questions. That’s your queue.
- Say it right
“I’m really thrilled about the possibility of working for Company name. I feel like we’re a great match. But I just want to make you aware that I’ve been offered another job. They’re expecting my answer by Thursday. Do you think you’ll have an answer or an offer for the successful applicant by then?”
Best case scenario?
They’ll appreciate your honesty and get back to you with an offer, quick-smart!
Worst case scenario?
You’ll find out a little sooner that you haven’t got the job and you can go ahead and accept your first offer.
Give it your best shot!
The pressure is on, but you can still approach the situation logically, professionally, and ethically. At the end of the day, if you follow these steps, you’ll keep your options open, give it your best shot, and then choose the job that’s best for you.
And while it’s an exciting (and sometimes nerve-wracking time), sticking to these steps will help make it a bit less stressful for you.
Finally, once you decide on your preferred offer, contact each party as soon as possible. Be thankful, grateful, courteous, and heartfelt. And enjoy your new opportunity! You deserve it.
Best of luck!