Juggling Job Offers

By Donna Cardillo, RN, MA

It’s bound to happen at some point. You’re going on multiple job interviews, trying to find the right spot for your next career move. Things are going fairly well, and you’ve found several different positions that interest you. So far so good, right? But what if you get offered one job while waiting to hear about another that you prefer? Or what if you’re offered a job before you’ve interviewed for the position in which you’re really interested? Learning professional strategies to juggle job offers will help you find the position that’s right for you.

Scenario one

You’ve been on several interviews. Although all of the positions interest you, there’s one in particular you’re really excited about, and you hope you’ll get an offer for it. In the meantime, you get an offer for another position at a good company that pays well. You can picture yourself working there, but you can’t help wondering about the other position. Should you say no to the offer and hold out for the position you really want, keeping your fingers crossed that things will work in your favor? Or should you take the offer, knowing even though it may not be your ideal job, you’ll feel more secure and can stop interviewing?

Strategy

There’s a natural tendency to grab the first job offer that comes your way because it gives you a sense of security. However, the purpose of interviewing is to thoroughly explore your options and find a position that’s a good move for you.

Tell the company making the offer that you’re interested in the position, but you’re actively interviewing and need a little more time to consider your options. Some companies will take this better than others. You might ask, “May I have a few days to think it over?” Most employers are unwilling to wait very long for an answer.

Understandably, they’ll want to move on to the next candidate if you decide you don’t want the job. They’ll probably give you a time frame in which to respond or ask you how much time you need. Negotiate for as much time as possible, but be reasonable. No employer will wait forever while you make up your mind.

Contact the employer with whom you’re really interested in working. Tell the company you’ve received another job offer, but you’d prefer to work for them. Because you have to make a decision about the other job offer within a reasonable period of time, ask what your prospects are. That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Even if your ideal employer is not yet ready to make a final decision, the company should be honest with you about your chances of getting hired. At least you’ll know where you stand.

Scenario two

You’ve met with some prospective employers and have more interviews lined up. One upcoming interview sounds particularly intriguing, and you’re looking forward to learning more about the position and the company. Before the interview occurs, you receive a job offer from another company. The offer is tempting, but you’re dying to take a shot at the other position.

Strategy

As in the first scenario, let the employer who made the offer know you’re actively interviewing and would like a little more time to consider all your options. Call your ideal employer and tell them you’ve received another job offer. Let them know you’re particularly interested in the position they advertised, and ask whether the interview can be moved up. You can advise them you’d like to see whether the job might be a good fit for both parties before you make a decision about the other offer. Of course, if that isn’t possible, you may want to take your chances and let the first job go while you pursue the other.

Scenario three

Another possibility is you receive two or more job offerings within the span of several days. One of the jobs is your distinct preference, but the other job offers better salary, benefits or hours.

Strategy

Try to buy some time from the offering employers. Mention to your preferred employer that you are most interested in this position but have another offer with a better salary or benefits. Ask whether there is any room for negotiation. Stress that you would prefer to work for them and could easily make your decision if the salary or benefits, could be matched or at least improved. You’re at an advantage here, but don’t flaunt it. Be honest with your ideal employer, and see if you can work things out.

Juggling multiple job offers is a delicate balance of timing, skillful negotiation and making good choices. With a little perseverance and a few calculated risks, you can handle the situation with panache and get the results you want.

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