You may gasp at the prospect (who would have thought it?!) but when looking for a new job it’s often the case that you receive more than one job offer at once. Although an exciting prospect, it can be overwhelming as there're lots to juggle and the stakes can be quite high. Which one should you take? How do you make the best decision? How do you manage the process? Do you tell the companies about one another?
However, by breaking it down into a straightforward process you’ll be able to make the best decision, just in time to get excited about your new jobs prospects and get stuck in!
Get all the information
Before you make a decision, you really want to know everything about each job offer given to you so you can make an informed comparison. If you don’t have all the information to hand, speak to the employer and seek clarification, whether it’s regarding supervision, job content, benefits, or advancement.
You also want to make sure that your offers are written, and that they are the real thing. This might also buy you a day or two in making your decision, as you’ll have to go back to the HR manager or recruiter and ask when you should expect to receive a written offer.
Compare job offers
Once you’ve got all the information hand you can compare your job offers. List the factors that are important to you in your job, whether it’s salary, benefits, stress level, learning potential, advancement opportunity, flexibility, work/life balance, ability to work from home, commute time, job description, travel within work, relationship with your team or relationship with your boss.
Then assign a weight for each factor reflecting how important it is to you - the higher the factor the more important it is to you. Also assign a value of fulfillment in that factor for each job offer, for example, if you regard learning potential as the 8th most important factor on your list, and you think that this company does it well and you ascribe it with 10, you’d have a total weight of 80 for learning potential within this company.
Do the same for all your decision factors and compare the totals for the jobs in contention. You’ll end up with an overall number for each job offer. But remember that you might also want to use your gut feeling along the way; you may have just walked into an office and decided that you liked the people you met and the working environment and you’d be much happier there.
You can also spend time discussing the offers with your friends and family. They might be able to help you see through all the excitement and help you think about what matters most and which job really is right for you.
Ask for more time
It’s best to be honest when making a decision about job offers, especially if you are waiting for a reply. You don’t want to keep the company with the open job offer stalling, so you could ask for extra time by, for example, asking to meet with staff at the same level as you, that you didn’t have the opportunity to meet during the interview process.
With an offer on the table
With the company that has already given you the offer, something along the lines of “I have one final conversation with another company this week and I’d like to see it through” would work nicely. If they say they want your decision earlier then you’ll have to make a decision, but it’s likely that they’ll give you an extra few days if they really like you and will be open to extending the offer deadline.
When writing to potential employers remember to not create doubt in your degree of interest and remain positive, so it doesn’t look as though you are waiting for another, better, job offer to appear on the table.
While waiting for an offer
In communicating with the company you are waiting for an offer on, be careful as you don’t want to come across as though you are pitting one employer against the other in some kind of bidding war. You also want to wait until the right time to let them know, and this may be after the final interview, especially if you think it went well.
Remember to be positive, and thank them for considering you. But let them know that you’ve another job offer has arrived on the table, and while the company you're in conversation with is by far the best pick there are aspects of the other role that appeal. You can then ask whether the company anticipates making a decision in the next few days. The company you’ve emailed with appreciate your honesty, while they may also accelerate their decision so they don’t lose you to a competitor or other opportunity.
Remember to say thank you
It’s important to send that round of thank you emails, especially to the company whose offer you declined, and even more so if you declined after they gave you extra time and consideration. In a few years’ time you may want to reapply to the company, and leaving your last communication on a high note means that they will be more likely to consider you in the future.