Congratulations! You’ve worked hard to earn a reputation as a qualified and talented game changer in your industry. Now, as a result, you have multiple job offers. There are worse problems to have, right?
Of course there are! But managing multiple suitors can be a tricky business! You want to have your pick of the best opportunity without making someone feel like a second choice and burning a bridge in the process.
So, what is the etiquette when you’re evaluating multiple job offers? Who should you tell what, and when?
Tell prospective employers and your recruiter as soon as possible that you are entertaining multiple job opportunities, while maintaining enthusiasm for the opportunity at hand. This will not detract interest from your prospects. On the contrary, it can actually make you MORE attractive to a prospective employer. After all, people tend to want what others have. The fact you are attracting attention from other employers supports the perception that you are a great candidate.
Make sure your prospective employer and your recruiter know exactly where you stand in the evaluation process before you commit to anything that will cost your potential new employer money. In other words, if you’re strongly leaning towards taking the other job, don’t let someone else foot the bill to fly your family somewhere for a long weekend.
Multiple interviews do not an offer make. A smart employer will interview multiple candidates before making a hiring decision and they will typically have at least two or three finalist candidates. Just because you are in a third interview with a company, that doesn’t mean an offer will be forthcoming. Also, in today’s marketplace employers are navigating salary parity issues and budget cuts, which means as much as they want to, sometimes there just isn’t any more to give. Be realistic in terms of your expectations, and be honest with your recruiter or prospective employer about what those expectations are.
Don’t wait until you are at the alter to fully consider each opportunity. The appearance that you have led on an employer or a recruiter can often leave a bad taste. Being proactive and honest with yourself early in the interviewing process is the professional approach and will save you time, effort and relational capital. Consider the following: Which opportunity will be better for your career growth? Which position are you more passionate about? Which job is likely to offer the better salary? Do you like the corporate culture of one organization more? Did you feel like your personality would be a better fit with your direct supervisor at one job? Which geography is a better fit for you and/or your family? All of those are valid and important criteria to consider when evaluating multiple job offers. Be honest with yourself and, if you are working with a recruiter, use them as a resource to talk through some of these issues.
How you handle this situation is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your integrity and standout to both potential new employers and, if applicable, your recruiter. Even if you end up taking another job, if you’re honest, considerate, realistic and self-aware you’ll leave a lasting memory, not only as a highly qualified individual, but as an individual of the highest character as well. Recruiters network for life. If you’re memorable in all the right ways, chances are you’ll be at the top of your recruiter’s list when another great opportunity comes along.
It may seem uncomfortable on the surface, but being honest, considerate, realistic, self-aware and memorable is probably something you’re already doing. And, believe it or not, everyone in this scenario wants you to choose the job where you’ll be the happiest: your recruiter, your employer and yourself, all for different reasons. Your recruiter has developed a personal connection with you, wants to see you happy and maintain a great professional relationship and your employer wants you to be enthusiastic and excited about your new job. By working together and keeping the lines of communication open and honest, everyone wins.