Sometime candidates interview so well that they end of recieving multiple offers. Good problem to have right? Could be...but what do you do when you have hiring managers making you offers and they are not your first choice? You might like that job but you want another job at a company who hasn't finished their hiring process with you yet. How do you strategically "wait it out".
Some people say no and hope their number one choice will end up making an offer. This is risky. It's kind of like being asked to the prom by your second choice but you're still hoping to be asked by your dream date. What do you say? How long can you put them off without losing the offer? Handle this poorly and you could end up without any offers (no date to the prom!).
Relax, below are some tips you can use to help maximize your chances of getting what you want without blowing your chances with what you have.
Buy time to make a good decision.
Starting a new job is a major decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Candidates should take some time to make the right decision and if laid up the right way the company will completely understand. Similarly, companies want to make sure they have an employee who is not only qualified for the job but is interested and committed to the job in the long turn. When you receive an offer from a second or third choice company make sure you do the following to buy some time:
Thank them for the offer! Be excited and tell them how happy you are to receive such a great offer. Remember, this could be your best offer so act like it. Let them know you want to make sure you make the right decision so you can commit to the job and then ask them for a week to make your final decision. For example: "Wow, thank you so much. This is a great offer. I am really excited and interested in coming to work for ACME Software. Before I accept I want to sit down and think thru my decision so that I am making the best decision for your company and myself. Is it ok if I take the week to make my final decision?" Traditioanlly a week isn't out of the question for someone to make a decision so you shouldn't jeopardize your offer by asking for a week to decide.
Ask for an offer letter. If you're not comfortable with the first option you can delay your decision by asking for an offer letter first. When the hiring manager or their human resources person calls you with the offer, express your interest in the opportunity and ask them for an offer letter so you can look it over and make a decision. This should also buy you about a week before you need to respond. Important note: Read the offer letter! Some companies put it a timeframe for when you need to respond.
Follow up with some questions. If the company has given you some time to make your decision it is wise to keep in touch with them by asking some informational questions. This show your interest in the company and can buy you an extra day or two. One example is to send a follow up email to the hiring manager or HR letting them know how interested you are while asking them to send you some specific information about the benefits package.
Inform your first choice company.
It is completely acceptable for you to reach out to your number one choice and inform them of your situation. Actually having other irons in the fire can help speed up their decision making process. It can also give you the best indication of how they view you. They may flat out tell you they are no longer considering you for the position. While that might not be the news you wanted at least you have it and won't jeopardize your other offers. Hopefully what happens is they either schedule that final interview or speed up their decision process and make you an offer.
Simply send the hiring manager an email informing them of your situation. Keep the email short and to the point. Let them know your interest level and inform them of your situation. Finally ask them if they can kindly respond with what the next steps would be. Here is an example:
Hope all is well. Just thought I'd shoot you a quick email to check in on the status of the Business Analyst job we spoke about as well as inform you of my situation. I just received an offer for a business analyst position from another company . Although it is a good offer I'm more interested in working at your company and would very much look forward to continuing in the process.
Please let me know if you'd be interested in proceeding to the next step with me.
All the best,
In the end having multiple suitors is not a bad problem to have if you have a good game plan to keep your second and thrid choices warm. In fact, sometimes thru this whole process your second or third choice increases their offer with perks or a higher salary and trumps your original first choice.