The search for a new career opportunity can be exhausting, with hundreds of CV’s being emailed to suitable positions, calls for interviews and recommendations and more. And sometimes it can take several months of hearing very little from any employer, before you begin to receive responses and schedule interview dates.
Virtually all accomplished professionals have been in that situation, where suddenly there are multiple job offers. What should you do if this has happened to you? What steps should you take to help you decide on the best opportunity to accept? It is a high risk and high opportunity situation, that needs to be managed properly to ensure that you do not miss out or inadvertently disqualify yourself from a job that you really want.
Should You Tell Employers You Have Multiple Offers?
Honesty is the best policy, but when you are in a position where you have received more than one job offer it is best to consider what can be gained (and lost) by sharing that with organizations that are seeking to hire you.
One school of thought is that there could be a benefit to full disclosure about multiple job offers. First, it will help the candidate to understand which organization is most interested in hiring them. When you disclose the fact that more than one employer has made an offer, the positive impression made is that you are in demand for your skills and expertise. That can be a good thing in certain situations.
However, after decades of recruitment experience, our team could also share stories about individuals who presented the information in a negative way. Are you using the fact that you have more than one job offer to negotiate a higher salary? In some cases, that can work. But we have also watched employers simply back away from a candidate who shares that information.
Why would an employer take a high-demand situation as a negative response? First, if the organization has had retention difficulties with the role, they may not want to hire someone who is likely to leave. Employers understand that certain professionals may be in high-demand, however that is also correlated to a higher than average departure risk.
It can cost up to $50,000 or more in the first year for an employer to adequately train and onboard a professional into the organization. They are prepared to invest that effort and expense to get the right person in the job; as long as that individual has a high probability of staying a few years to make the effort worth while.
Another consideration is loyalty. While it is not the candidate’s fault that they received more than one job offer, presenting it as a tool to leverage or pressure an employer is not a good idea. It may create the impression that you are not committed to being part of the organization.
It is a risky situation for a candidate who has more than one job offer. It’s difficult to predict how the prospective employer will react. And ultimately, the candidate will have to decide if the risk of being disqualified from eligibility is worth it.
Making the Right Choice for Your Career
It can be exciting to receive multiple job offers, but that also means some more work and research is required to help you make the right choice for your career. There is always the fear of choosing the wrong employer, and regretting the missed opportunity later, so some strategy and research time may be required.
Culture is a factor that helps determine the kind of work environment that you will enjoy and grow in, or one that will be stifling and unpleasant. Unfortunately, employers are not likely to disclose certain pieces of information that will help you determine what it is really like to work for them. There may be social and team issues that they are keen to ‘keep quiet’ to avoid deterring qualified applicants.
One of the best ways to get an accurate read on the culture of the organization is of course, to ask many questions during the interview. Be pleasant in your approach to asking these sensitive questions like:
- What is the average length of service for employees within the organization?
- How many managers or supervisors will you be directly reporting to?
- What was the tenure length of the last individual that held the role you are apply for?
Employers will understand why you are asking these questions during the interview. No one wants to start a new job to find out that the office environment is rife with toxicity or discord. The reaction that the interviewer has when responding to these questions is where the true insights lie.
If the interviewer responds to your polite questions in a defensive manner, consider that the culture may not be a positive or growth orientated one for employees. There may be problems that will impact both your performance and job satisfaction, and ultimately your tenure.
If the interviewer responds in a positive way and seems pleased that you are inquiring about the culture, it’s a win. Not only have you demonstrated that you are committed to participating in a positive and productive work environment, but you have shown the interviewer that your work environment matters greatly to you. These are both positive attributes of a professional who wants to grow and remain with the organization.
Financial needs can sometimes lead candidates to accept a role that they aren’t sure is a good long-term fit for them. Consider the difficulty and time it takes to find a new job and invest yourself wisely by choosing an employer that you can visualize staying with for a long time. Between training and onboarding, building new relationships with co-workers and indoctrinating yourself into the organization, accepting the ‘wrong job’ can disrupt even the most talented professionals.
Weigh your options and all considerations and make time to thoroughly consider all the advantages and disadvantages of the new role. The result will be a satisfying career opportunity that will help you advance.