How Candidates Should Handle A Multiple-Offer Scenario

How Candidates Should Handle A Multiple-Offer Scenario

This post is written by Damien Richburg

It’s one of the best times ever to be a job candidate. Companies are going on hiring sprees, salaries are growing, and employees are pursuing new opportunities at a record pace.

In this environment, it’s not uncommon for people to receive multiple job offers in the same time period. It’s a good problem to have, but what’s the best way to approach this scenario to achieve the ideal outcome? 

Below is my advice based on having witnessed hundreds of job searches and job offer negotiations.

Get The Offers In Writing

A verbal job offer holds little weight. If you are weighing multiple job offers, disregard any option that is not in writing. It’s too risky to turn down a formal offer in anticipation of a written offer from a company that has communicated the job to you verbally. Any hiring process is fluid. Things change quickly. All that counts is when you have a legitimate offer in writing.

Make A Priority List

If you don’t know what’s most important to you in a job offer (or your career), it’s difficult to make an informed decision about a new role. This is what leads to analysis paralysis. To avoid long deliberations, write down your career goals and intentions. Then score each job offer against that criteria. This will help eliminate subjectivity from your decision making.

This process is particularly important if you decide to counteroffer. Too often, candidates counter an initial offer as a stall tactic without considering the offer in detail. This typically backfires if companies accept the counter and the candidate remains unsure. Do the work ahead of time so that you can negotiate with confidence and decisiveness.

Maintain Your Confidentiality

Be careful in disclosing your offers to other companies that you’re speaking to. You don’t want a company to feel like you aren’t seriously considering them in your negotiation.

The best approach is to decide which job you want. If that role carries lower compensation than your other offer, communicate with the hiring manager at the company you want to work for. Let them know that you want to accept their job offer, but you need them to – at a minimum – match your other offer. 

If you receive an offer before another formal offer arrives, buy yourself some time by telling the company that submitted the first offer that you will give them a decision by a specific date. Then you can let the other company know that you need their offer before that date. 

Cover The Downside

If you’re evaluating multiple offers and you’re leaning toward a job that is more risky, there’s a way to mitigate part of the risk. It’s not uncommon for people interviewing for C-level roles or jobs that require moves to a different city to pre-negotiate their exit agreements. Ask for 3-6 months pay in the event that you are terminated (or the job is eliminated) within the first year. Adding this term to an employment agreement upfront can put your mind at ease as you weigh competing offers.

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