Multiple job offers

The good news is you’ve got a job offer. The bad news is you’re not sure if you should accept. There are interviews you are still waiting to hear back from. There are still more interviews at which you fancy your chances. What should you do? Take the bird in the hand? Wait to see what else comes your way? Or something else entirely?


Managing job offers can be a minefield. Some potential employers will understand the difficulties involved. They appreciate that job-hunters are looking around and that they need time to make up their mind.

But others are less flexible. The moment they give you a job offer they can expect you to leap up, shake their hand and take it there and then. If you don’t, they may threaten to withdraw the offer and leave you with nothing.

If you find yourself in this situation, what is the best way to proceed? Go with your instincts. If you are being pushed into making a decision, trust your gut reaction. But this advice comes with a caveat.

Remember what it is you want to do with your career. In the rush to say yes or no, and perhaps in the urgency just to get started, it is easy to lose sight of your objective.

Fortunately, you don’t have to immediately accept or reject most job offers. Most large companies are prepared to wait several weeks for an answer. This is because large companies are often slow moving so there is usually no need for a rapid-fire response.

In this case you should simply send a letter acknowledging receipt of the job offer and informing them that you will be in touch in the near future. In the meantime you can haul in any other offers before finally making a decision.

Smaller or medium sized companies may not be able to give you this luxury. By their very nature they can be more dynamic. Their business must keep going, with or without you. So, out of fairness to them you should make your decision within a couple of days. Sought-after candidates may be able to gain extra thinking time.

None of this alters the fact that choosing between one job offer and another is difficult. You’re dealing with nothing less than that all-important first break.

Whatever you do, make sure you get the basics right:

· Find out exactly how long you’ve got to make your mind up

· Gather as much information as possible about the job or jobs on offer

· If you’ve got another interview approaching, ask if it can be brought forward

· If you’re still waiting to hear back from an interview, contact HR to determine exactly when a decision will be made. If they sound sympathetic explain your situation, they may just be able to let you in on something.

· Finally, always, be courteous when rejecting a job offer. You don’t want to burn your bridges. You never know when you may come across a particular person or their company in the future.

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