Most job seekers submit their résumés to multiple companies or organizations at the same time. This is a legitimate strategy to help maximize your chance of success, but it may cause awkwardness during the interview process when prospective employers try to gauge your intentions. In addition, you may be faced with a tough decision should you receive multiple attractive job offers and are forced to choose among them. It can also be difficult if you are confronted with the prospect of keeping one offer on hold while you wait for others to materialize.
Generally speaking, career experts suggest that you be honest when an employer asks if you are considering other organizations. You are not required to reveal their identities, just as your prospective employer will not likely share the names of the other candidates with whom you are competing. You should, however, be honest about where you are in the interview process with other companies. Revealing this information will give prospective employers a better sense of where they stand and may even cause the hiring manager to accelerate a job offer or increase a salary offer. However, avoid the temptation to imply that you have other job offers if this is not the case.
If you receive several offers, compare them starting with the factors that you have decided are most vital to you. One way to compare offers is to create a weighted list of criteria, ranking each of your job offers according to this system. You might compare the salaries, retirement benefits, vacation time, and other perks each employer is offering. You should also consider the potential for career growth at each organization.
While salary and benefits are important, also consider intangibles such as the corporate culture and the day-to-day work environment, although sometimes it can be hard to judge these unless you have spent significant time at the company. If you thrive in a fast-paced environment with multiple deadlines, for example, you may not love working in an office that emphasizes a laid-back atmosphere as a means of fostering creativity. Likewise, if work-life balance and the flexibility to take time off is a priority, a company that expects employees to work 60-hour weeks may not be a good fit.
If you are just starting your professional life or have recently made a career change, it might be a good idea to consider taking a job at a prestigious firm, even if some aspects of the corporate culture are not be a perfect fit for you. Having a nationally or globally recognized employer on your résumé can be a great springboard for future positions and may open many doors down the road. On the other hand, you may be able to attain a more challenging position in a smaller company at the beginning of your career, because employees at smaller companies may have a wider variety of responsibilities. Widening your skill set can also benefit your career development. Talking to people in your field may give you a better sense of which way to go in this respect.
While salary is important, also be willing to negotiate other elements. Do not shortchange yourself by failing to consider these things in each of the job offers you may receive. Studies suggest that, although many employers often have some leeway in terms of compensation, others, especially in the nonprofit sector, may not. If salary is nonnegotiable, you may still be able to negotiate your other benefits, such as additional vacation days or paid time off.
In general, avoid negotiating just for the sake of negotiating. It is good to let an employer know that you are aware of your market value, but it is unnecessary and sometimes counterproductive to haggle over each element of a job offer. While you should be willing to negotiate for the things that matter most to you, especially when there is a large gap between what you want and what is being offered, pick your battles. Fighting for small adjustments in the offer's terms can give the impression that you may be difficult to work with. In addition, when you have multiple offers, negotiating so many details can make the process overwhelming.
If you receive two or more offers at same time, decide which one is the most attractive and contact the appropriate hiring manager. Even if you do not reveal your other offers, knowing that you are in demand can give you the necessary confidence to negotiate well.
One of the trickiest situations you may encounter is getting a job offer from one company while waiting for offers from others, especially if you think such offers are imminent. Most career experts advise you to be honest, letting the hiring manager know that you have been interviewing elsewhere and expect to hear back by a designated date.
Be sure to emphasize your interest in the job, however, and be aware that the company probably also has a short list of other candidates and may cut you loose if you are unwilling to commit immediately. If the company is truly enthusiastic about your candidacy, however, they will likely be willing to work with you, given a reasonable time frame of a week or two at most.
In the meantime do what you can to encourage offers from the other companies you have interviewed with. You may consider calling the hiring manager and emphasizing that that their organization is your first choice. While you want to guard against coming across as pushy or desperate, true enthusiasm can be viewed as a positive. If you do receive additional offers as anticipated, make your decision as quickly as possible as a courtesy to each company involved.
When you have decided which job offer to accept, formally accept it both verbally and in writing. When signing an offer letter be sure you have a copy with the most up-to-date terms, especially if you negotiated your offer extensively. During this preemployment period, you most likely will be contacted via phone or e-mail by those involved in the interviewing process. It is a nice gesture to thank them for their time and reiterate that you look forward to joining the team.