You are employed with a highly marketable skill set. Recruiters and hiring managers reach out to you often. When you decide to engage with them about their open roles, you can anticipate an offer. But to make things more intriguing, just when you are ready to accept that offer, other companies surface with offers. This seems like a nice problem to have. But now, the challenge is in knowing how to handle competing job offers.
This situation doesn’t present itself every day. It is imperative to know how to manage this process instead of the process managing you. The companies you have an offer from will know that you are talking to other companies, and they’re going to put a lot of pressure on you. If you’re working with a recruiter, they may add to that pressure. So you have to take control of the situation. Rather than waiting for offers to arrive, establish your thoughts and begin your evaluation early on in the process to minimize the pressure. The longer it takes you to make your decision, the more likely you are to lose offers.
First, you must establish a decision date for yourself that is fair and realistic for all of the companies in the process of making you offers. Suppose you have an offer in hand from one company, and they are demanding an answer within 48 hours. However, you are expecting another offer shortly that will need to be weighed. You need to make it clear that you want to seriously consider their offer, but you are going to need a week or whatever that specific time frame is in your mind. You then need to make it clear to the companies with forthcoming offers that you are making your decision by a specific date. A date established by you.
That initial company may take a hard line and refuse to move forward with the offer under an extended deadline. If this company is at the top of your list, you will need to decide how to take action. But in general, if you are not unrealistic by asking for multiple weeks, companies will allow you the time to receive the offers that you are expecting.
It’s Not About The Money, Money, Money.
It is amazing how little people research their potential employer. Internally, you need to be clear with your expectations for each company. Know specifically what the role is, the organizational structure that you’ll be involved in, the compensation components, the timeline for starting and their goals for you early on. Don’t make it just about money.
Basing your decision solely upon the money is a dangerous path to go down, especially if you are not passionate about the job. If it is an unstable environment, but they are willing to throw money at you and that’s your driving force, that’s a slippery slope. It is also going to turn off one or more of the other companies offering you a job. If the reason you would accept an offer is based purely upon money or title, that’s not a promising decision for your future.
Wiki And Beyond:
A resume filled with short stints at startups can mean that the companies failed. But when your interview reveals that you were often disappointed with the way the companies were structured or managed, it is also a reflection on your inability to do proper due diligence on those opportunities. Save yourself the headache by researching and ranking your opportunities realistically, well in advance of the offer stage.
Look at all aspects. The location and commute. The company value proposition and the potential for success. The security of their financial backing. The career growth path, whether it be from within the company or while moving through additional roles. Examine the title within the context of the company; focus more in terms of what the scope of the role is. Most importantly, evaluate your appetite for risk.
Appetite For Risk:
People often want the upside that comes with a startup. But when it comes down to decision making time, even if the compensation is comparable, that’s when people start having the real soul searching discussion with themselves and their family about their true appetite for that level of risk. You must evaluate the level of risk. Does the management team have a track record? Is their value proposition one that is compelling? Are you passionate about it? Will you be closely aligned with the executive team? Will you have enough time to develop yourself and your brand within the company should there be any acquisition? If the company doesn’t succeed, as long as you are marketable, your ability to find another job is still strong.
Lastly, don’t overlook the cultural consideration. If you go into a company and it is not a good cultural fit on both sides, it can be painful, mind numbing and a really negative experience. All of the money in the world is not going to solve that problem.
Don’t Be Brett Favre.
If you enter into a bidding war between your existing employer and an offering company, or two other companies altogether, at a certain point it will muddy the waters and bring into question your motivation and commitment. A bidding war that you draw out runs the risk of sending up red flags. Red flags that lead to mistrust, limits pushed, and pulled offers. That is why it is crucial to make a decision.
When you turn down an offer, be very clear about that decision in your own mind. If you aren’t firm in your rejection, they may come back to you, giving you more temptation to delay your process. This needs to be a decision for you. You must be clear with all of the parties involved. And when you commit, you’ve got to be ready to commit. Don’t commit if you have doubts. Flip flopping means you weren’t clear in your decision making process up front, shedding light on your capabilities as a future employee.
It is really nice to be loved. When multiple companies are sending you offers, there is that moment where you feel like Sally Field: “You like me, you really like me!” And that can be a bit overwhelming. It is a major decision to change jobs. Do the proper research, planning and consideration in order to make your decision. And once you make your decision, you have to stick with it. That’s why it’s called a decision. You’ve decided something. If you haven’t really decided, then it’s just a possibility. And that is not fair to you, the companies or your recruiter. If you can be so easily convinced within days of accepting one offer to take another one, then you really didn’t make a decision. And that’s going to sully your reputation for building relationships.
This Is Your Life.
You’ve got to manage your future and be clear with what is important to you. It is okay to establish timelines for decisions. Playing the back and forth with all of the companies, but particularly the one that you are most interested in, is rarely the best way to handle your decision making process. You don’t want to be in a place of exhaustion and stress at the end of your choice. Have an immediate framework in your mind. Determine your levers. Rank your priorities. And be clear with others about them. When you are more direct with your recruiter and the companies about your expectations, the stronger the likelihood their offer will be in line with your desires. And the easier your decision will be.