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Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

Managing Multiple Offers with Tact

School of Business Expert Contributor – Mike Crespi, Associate Director – Market Readiness and Employment, Undergraduate

You work hard, know what you want to do, you have a strong resume, you network and reach many new connections, and practice interviewing.  You apply for jobs, interview, network some more, connect, interview and suddenly, all is good with the world – you have an offer!  You analyze the role, employer and total compensation.  It’s great – you are ready to accept…

…and then another offer shows up…and they have deadlines to give them an answer, but the offers expire on different dates.

The thrill has now turned into stress – and you thought the stress was in the search!  No worries, you compare the offers and make your decision…

…but wait, your dream employer just asked you to interview.  The good news is that the interview is before you have to give an answer.

The interview went great – and you should get an answer in 10 days.  However, the other offer needs an answer in 5 days.  A great offer in hand or a dream job possibility?

You thought your stress was taken care of when you made a decision between the two offers!  Why is this so hard and stressful?!?!

Make the comparison again, only this time, it is based on how much risk you want to take.  Does the offer give you the opportunity to move towards your long range goals? You could call the employer who has made an offer and ask for a short extension with the reason that you need the extra week to make sure you are making the best decision for them and you.  But you run a risk – what if they don’t grant the extension?  You could call the dream employer and ask if they can move up their date.  But what if they can’t?

What to do, what to do, what to do…you have options.

Option 1: Accept the job in hand.  Awesome, you are done.  And then the dream offer comes.  You tell yourself, “I am going to do what is right for me!”

Hmmm, maybe…be careful – you have a personal brand.  You made a commitment to the employer and to renege on a commitment says something about you.  The world is large, but it is small at the same time – people talk.  Would you be considered trustworthy?  Dependable?  Believable?

Who else is affected by reneging on your acceptance – the University and their relationship with the employer? Your references?  Your network connections? Alumni at the employer? Another candidate who would have received an offer if you had declined? The recruiter who reported that the search for the job was closed and they had performed their job?  The recruiter’s boss?  The hiring manager?  Now they have to reopen the search and great candidates have already been declined – they cannot go back.  Someday, you could be interviewing for a promotion or a role in another organization and suddenly, you meet the “hiring manager” from the employer you spurned – that could be uncomfortable.

Option 2: Turn down the offer knowing your job search may not end with the dream employer.  How?  A professional conversation with the contact – not an email – where you discuss that you just don’t have enough time to make a decision that is in the best interest of the employer and you.  They may ask for a date that you can make a decision – be ready to give them one and it will be the last extension.  Be ready for the “sorry, but we are withdrawing the offer” and respond with “thank you for your consideration and I would like to stay in touch” (you never know, there could be another opportunity later).  Keep the communications positive and open.

If the dream employer offer does not materialize, you will work hard, know what you want to do, have a strong resume, network and reach many new connections, and practice interviewing.  You will apply for jobs, interview, network some more, connect, interview and suddenly, all is good with the world – you have an offer!

Category: Professional Development

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