Many in-demand job candidates face a tricky “problem” today: how to weigh multiple job offers. Employers are having difficulty staffing open positions. There simply aren’t enough skilled candidates active in the job market right now.
Job seekers with desirable skills are quick to surface on a hiring manager’s radar, and it’s not unusual for them to be targeted by more than one employer. In fact, staffing and recruiting experts have seen an uptick in the number of candidates receiving multiple job offers. A new Robert Half survey finds nearly six in 10 job seekers have received two or more offers at the same time.
What do you do if you find yourself in this enviable position? Here are five tips that can help you choose the right job:
Tip #1: Remember your primary goals
Get introspective. What are you really looking for in a new role? Even if circumstances beyond your control, such as a layoff due to a merger or acquisition, helped set you on your current career path, stop to consider what you specifically want to achieve with your next position — beyond just getting a new job, of course. For example, are you looking for:
- A higher salary?
- More professional development opportunities?
- Better benefits?
- The ability to work remotely?
- The opportunity to work for a certain type of company or in a particular industry?
- All of the above?
Keep these initial goals in mind when reviewing multiple job offers, and use them as a checklist to guide your decision making.
When you’re under pressure to choose an employer, the details of each’s employment package can be so different that they don’t compare well to each other. Referring back to factors you previously identified as most important can help you better rank the offers.
Tip #2: Take a long-term view
As you work to decide which of your multiple job offers most closely matches your primary objectives, don’t be blinded by an immediate payoff. Think about the future and which job will most benefit your career over the long run.
Here’s what I mean: If your main goal in securing a new job is to earn a higher salary, your initial inclination could be to choose Offer A, which pays the most. Simple enough, right? But say Offer B has a lower salary and presents greater opportunity to move up within the organization. Even though Offer A pays more now, you could eventually make much more money by choosing Offer B if you rise through the ranks as expected.
It’s not always clear which among the multiple job offers you receive provides the best long-term benefit. After all, trying to predict the future isn’t easy. But be sure your vision of the years ahead plays some part in your decision.
Tip #3: Consider which company culture is better for you
If you don’t like your work environment, no amount of salary, benefits or perks is likely to keep you happy, especially over time. So when evaluating multiple job offers, identify the employer you think provides the most appealing corporate culture, and factor that strongly into your decision.
Think about these questions:
- Were you able to establish rapport with the hiring manager? Could you see yourself working for them each day?
- What was the energy in the office like? Does it match your preferred work style?
- Did the workers you interacted with or passed in the hallway seem happy and engaged?
- Do you know anyone who has worked for the company? If so, what feedback does your contact have?
If work-life balance is important to you, ask hiring managers about programs and policies designed to help workers find that balance. If you’re hoping to find a very social work environment, look into how the company encourages employees to relax and have fun together.
Tip # 4: Take the driver’s seat
It’s your decision whether to let potential employers know that you have multiple job offers. Keep in mind, though, that being up front about this can be a powerful negotiation tool.
For instance, maybe you’re close to saying yes to a company, but that firm gives less vacation time than another. You could ask your preferred employer if they’d be willing to match the competition.
Having multiple job offers could also prove beneficial if an employer has expressed serious interest in hiring you — by inviting you back for several rounds of interviews, for example — but has yet to extend an offer. Mentioning that you have other offers in hand could compel the company to speed things up.
But be careful. It’s easy to overplay your hand. Only you know how much room you have to negotiate and how comfortable you are doing so.
Tip # 5: Be thoughtful but act fast
The most important part about weighing multiple job offers is ensuring that you give yourself time to carefully think through your choices. However, you don’t want to drag your feet so that you leave an employer hanging — and, perhaps, lose out on a great opportunity. It’s not unreasonable to request a few days to contemplate your options.
When you arrive at your decision, be gracious to the employers whose job offers you decline, and politely explain why the offer did not meet your needs. You never know when you might be searching for another job and cross paths with these individuals again.
Paul McDonald is senior executive director at Robert Half. He writes and speaks frequently on hiring, workplace and career management topics. Over the course of more than 30 years in the recruiting field, McDonald has advised thousands of company leaders and job seekers on how to hire and get hired.
McDonald joined Robert Half in 1984 as a recruiter for financial and accounting professionals in Boston, following a public accounting career with Price Waterhouse. In the 1990s, he became president of the Western United States overseeing all of the company’s operations in the region. McDonald become senior executive director of Robert Half Management Resources in 2000, and assumed his current role in 2012. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from St. Bonaventure University in New York.