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How to Handle Multiple Job Offers

After your hard work pays off and you secure and accept a job offer, what do you do if another, more attractive offer is made by another company? The second offer might be particularly attractive, but do you want to risk the possible damage to your professional reputation by turning down the offer you’ve already accepted?

If you end up with multiple job offers, your best bet is to delay a final decision for as long as possible—but don’t extend the delay for so long that your potential employers become impatient and irritated. Tell employers that you need some time to think about their offer, or ask for another meeting for further discussion about the position, or to meet key employees. This gives you time to evaluate your job offers and decide what course of action to take.

It’s important to think very carefully before refusing an offer that you’ve already accepted. Your professional integrity might be at stake here, and because of that, in most situations taking the offer you’ve already accepted is the best—and most ethical—thing to do. If you really want to take the second offer, make sure that the benefits outweigh the possible disadvantages by a significant margin. The job offer you take should be the one that best fits your career goals and job priorities.

Once you’ve made a decision, it’s best to tell the employer as soon as possible. If you’re refusing an offer you’ve already accepted in favor of another job, politely explain that the second offer is a better fit for your requirements. Be honest, and offer an apology. If you’re lucky, they will understand. Note, however, that doesn’t mean they will forget. When you’re job hunting in the future, you’ll be unlikely to receive another offer from that company—so be sure that you’re prepared to permanently forgo the opportunity to work there.

Of course, the best way of solving this problem is to avoid it happening in the first place. Before you even start looking, decide what you want in a job, and keep that focus in mind—prioritize the different elements of a position, such as the workplace environment, the chance for advancement, or the compensation package, and decide what’s most important to you. By deciding in advance what your priorities are you’re less likely to end up in a position where you’re torn between two jobs.

How to Handle Multiple Job Offers - By Kevin Donlin
Multiple job offers ­ now there’s a problem most of us would like to have. But … if you don't handle them right, you could miss out on your ideal job AND put your career in jeopardy.

Fortunately, with a little advance planning, you can deal with multiple job offers and land your dream job at the salary you deserve.

Handling multiple job offers all boils down to three things. Here they are …

1) Know what your ideal job looks like
Start by writing a detailed description of what you really want in your next job. Because, when you know what the right position will look like, it’s easier to say no to the wrong job, company or salary.

Carole Martin, an interview coach with 20+ years of experience advises, "First, take time to evaluate your options and determine what criteria are most important to you in your job search."

Martin suggests you consider the following factors:
Compensation ­ salary, benefits, stock options, bonuses
Content ­ the type of work, preferred industry, preferred company
Career Progression ­ chances for promotion, relocation, working conditions, professional development
Quality of Life ­ travel requirements, corporate culture, vacation time
Location ­ preferred city or state, transportation costs, taxes.

If you get two job offers, simply rate each opportunity based on how they meet your criteria. Divide a sheet of paper in two, add up the scores in each column and let that guide your decision.

2) Know how to ask for time to decide
Let's say you get a job offer on Monday from Company A, but you expect a better offer on Thursday from Company B. How do you stall for time without alienating that first suitor?

Tell them you want to talk it over with your family, suggests John Whitmore, a recruiting professional from Edina, Minn.-based Princeton Search.

"Simply say that you appreciate the job offer, you're excited by it, and you want to discuss it with your significant other to make sure they're on board, so there’s no second guessing. That ought to buy you two or three days to consider another offer," says Whitmore.

You can buy time with other delay tactics, such as asking to meet with key managers and co-workers who haven't interviewed you yet.

3) Know how to say no
If you get a better offer from Company B and accept it, your work isn't done. You still have to say no to Company A in a way that won't burn bridges. Because you never know when you may have to reactivate your job search and call those people again!

When turning down a job offer, you can never be too diplomatic. Try language like this: "I really appreciate the offer, and although I've been offered another position that's a better fit for my goals, I want to say how impressed I was with your company and the people I had a chance to meet. Thanks again."

It takes courage and deep thinking to pick one job offer from among several. The best way is to list the pros and cons of each opportunity on paper ­ this will crystallize your thinking. Then talk it over with your family. Trust your gut. And be diplomatic in all your dealings with every employer, even those you turn down.

Now that you know how to handle it, here's hoping you'll run into this "nice problem" of multiple job offers soon!

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