6 Steps to dealing with multiple job offers

4 min | David Brown | Article | | Accepting a job offer

Woman at her desk

While the job market for the majority of sectors across the globe, generally speaking, is in a lot better place now than it was three years ago, you’d still consider yourself fortunate to receive multiple job offers. 

The problem is that, while having options is a blessing, many jobseekers don’t know how to deal with more than one offer without damaging their relationships with the organizations whose offers they decide not to accept. 

Six steps to job search success 

It’s a delicate process of course, but what a problem to have. Fortunately there are a few processes you can follow to ensure you not only don’t offend anyone when considering your various options, but also that you make the right decision. Here are six steps you can take to successfully deal with multiple job offers: 

1. Take your time and get to know the roles 

Don’t rush the job search process. While we are spending less and less time in each role, it’s still a huge decision to make, and one that you only make about a dozen times throughout your life. 

Ask for time to consider your offers. When you have more than one offer on the table you can almost always ask for five working days to consider, allowing you to make a fully informed decision. Use this time to investigate the role thoroughly, weighing up the pros and cons against your own career ambitions. 

Another way that you can really get to understand a position is to ask salient questions during the interview process – here a few questions to consider asking: 

  • Is this role new? If not, how has it evolved? 
  • Is there scope for career progression? 
  • What does a typical day look like? 
  • Can you tell me more about my team? 

2. Read between the lines 

It’s important that you are always looking out for signs of interest from each employer; gauging their enthusiasm for you as a candidate and assessing them as future employers. You can learn a lot about your manager from the way they handle the negotiations with you. The things that you should be looking for throughout your dealings with potential employers are: 

  • Someone who is generous with their time, and full in their feedback 
  • Someone who encourages their employees to step outside their comfort zones 
  • Someone who believes in their team, and grants them autonomy 
  • Someone who is a good listener 
  • Someone who uses ‘we’ and ‘our’ when referring to team accomplishments 

If, when assessing two or more job offers, you find that one hiring manager ticks more of these boxes than the other(s) then this is a pretty good indication that this person will be good for your career. 

3. Think about the long term 

Look at your long term objectives – is this a company you want to be working for in five years’ time? Does it provide you with opportunities to advance your career, mobility or benefits compared to those another company can offer you? Draw up a list of pros and cons for each organization. 

Some of the most important things you should be considering when weighing up opposing job offers include: your job title, learning and development, financial and non-financial incentives, relationship with your manager, length of commute, flexibility, global mobility, size of organization, company culture, direction the company is going in and so on. 

Everyone has different long term objectives. Write yours down before even beginning your job search process, and then bring them out again once the job offers come flooding in. 

4. Salary matters 

While salary should never be your sole motive, it does of course matter a great deal when considering job offers. It’s considered bad form to get into salary specific during the interview stage, but it’s sensible to come prepared to talk about it. If you are unsure of your market worth then you can use the Hays Salary Guide

It’s fine to say that you have another offer on the table – as explained in the next point – but never invent a salary offer with an eye on extracting an even higher one. Salary matters but bear in mind there are many other factors which could have a greater impact on your wellbeing or career advancement which might not pay as well. 

5. Honesty is the best policy 

The number one thing you should avoid doing is accepting an offer and then retracting it if a better one comes along. Retracting your acceptance will damage your reputation with the company and everyone involved in the recruitment process. 

When you accept an offer it sets in motion a chain of events – the other applicants are notified and the job posting is removed. So when you withdraw at this stage you are costing the company as they have potentially lost other candidates they were considering. Don’t play games with any party involved; you may encounter them again on your career path. 

Instead I advise you to be honest and upfront. Most employers and recruitment agencies will ask you if you are interviewing with other companies. Feel comfortable to explain that you are taking your search very seriously, and therefore you are exploring all the options available. This admission will never be hold against you by employers; if anything it’s likely to provoke them into making an offer even quicker. 

6. Use your consultant 

I would advise that you consult with your recruiter to help you choose the right job for your career long term. Many employees are no longer moving for an increased salary alone, and are prioritizing other factors in their job search such as flexibility and global mobility. A consultant will be able to shed some light on how well an organization performs in these various areas relative to others in the market. 

Letting the cat out the bag 

Once you’ve made your decision, advise the company that you have chosen that you will be accepting its job offer. Let the others know, in a professional manner, that you have chosen to go with another offer but that you were grateful for the opportunity. 

Always wait until you receive a written offer before letting everyone know you’re making your move; verbal offers are not official. Also remember to round off the whole process with a round of thank yous to all the parties involved. 

Spinning plates 

When turning down a job offer, be prepared to accept that that employer may never offer you another position again. It’s therefore important to ensure you make the right choice first time round, which you can do by following the above steps. 

Always be courteous, always be thorough, and use all the resources available to you. 

About this author

David Brown
Americas President, Chief Executive Officer USA

David, a 21-year veteran of the staffing business, has been in charge of overseeing all US operations for Hays since 2018. Prior to leading Hays US, David held a number of positions in sales, sales management, and senior management. With his wife and three children, David resides in Atlanta and actively supports a number of regional non-profit organizations.

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