Dancing the Job Offer Tango
The other day a coaching client of mine called to tell me that she got a job offer! We celebrated that she had made it this far in an interview process and obviously wowed the hiring manager but I could sense that something was missing in her voice. I get these kinds of celebratory calls often with candidates that I’ve coached but this one was different. After a pause I asked, “So, why haven’t you accepted the job offer?” Bam! She was a little surprised by the question too but it was just the question that she needed. Actually she had not moved forward with accepting the offer, even though it was a good job and a good offer, because she was holding out for something better. She is currently in an interview process for another job and isn’t ready to close that door but they aren’t ready to make an offer yet either. Ugh. This is the Job Offer Tango. What is a candidate to do in a situation like this?
In my experience recruiting professionals 12+ years I will say that it’s very rare that a candidate has multiple job offers on the table at the Exact Same Time. Not to say that it doesn’t happen but most of the time candidates end up in this weird tango predicament.
A) Accept the job offer and forget about the other job?
B) Accept the job offer but continue in the interview process in case they offer her a better job making more money?
C) Decline the offer because if she’s thinking about the other job clearly the first one is not her top priority?
The answer is this…It depends. Ideally a candidate would try and “ask for a little more time to weigh the first job offer”. Gaining an additional 4-5 days in order to make a decision might give the candidate a better idea of where they stand in the other interview process with the other company. I highly recommend at this point to also let company #2 know about company #1’s offer. It’s amazing how competitive nature impacts an interview process and how quickly companies are able to speed up the interview process. At the end of 4-5 days candidates generally have a better sense of where they stand with company #2…if they want you they will jump through hoops. I promise! Ultimately this time period allows the candidate to make a better informed decision.
In all cases maintain the highest level of integrity. Do not, I repeat, do not burn any bridges and therefore option “B” above is usually a pretty poor choice.
In some cases it’s best to call in an expert to help you sort through your feelings about each job, company and also help you determine if passing on a job offer is worth the risk of not getting a second offer. Tough choices nonetheless.