How to tell a potential employer you have a competing job offer


Having multiple job offers may seem like every job seeker’s dream, but in reality, this situation can quickly turn into a nightmare if not handled appropriately. While it’s almost instinctual to try and avoid conflict or awkwardness with a prospective employer, poor communication can lead to mixed signals and ultimately, missed opportunity.

If you ever find yourself in the fortuitous, yet tricky scenario of having more than one job offer at the same time, be sure to check out the tips below.

Are the job offers in writing?

First things first: ensure that your job offers are in writing. If you've been told of your appointment over the phone, feel free to celebrate, but make sure you receive the letter of offer or contract. When you’re contemplating whether or not to tell a potential employer about another offer, it had better be a legitimate one.

Be honest

In this scenario, honesty really is the best policy. Give the recruiter or HR manager the benefit of the doubt and just tell them you have received another job offer that you’d like to consider. In all likeness, they will appreciate your candor. After all, they were once job seekers and may even be able to relate.

If you try to play it cool and request more time to think things over without explaining your situation, you may appear disinterested or arrogant. In no time at all, you may find that the job has been snapped up by another candidate.

Be clear

As part of your discussion, you’ll also need to mention how much time you’d like to consider the offers. Speak in clear, definitive language. You won’t ‘try’ and get back to them tomorrow. You ‘will’ get back to them tomorrow by midday. Remember that although recruiters and HR staff are used to these sorts of situations, they have deadlines and schedules too.

When it comes to how much time you should request, bear in mind that businesses often like to wrap up the recruitment process quickly. As more time goes by, second-choice candidates could go off the market. You can ask for a week, but you may not get it.

Be enthusiastic and thankful

In order to keep your offer on the table, it is critical that you remain genuinely enthusiastic and friendly. Once you've delivered the news, follow up by saying just how difficult a decision it is, and that you’re still very interested in the current job offer. This is also the perfect time to probe further and ask any questions that are on your mind. By showing that you are still interested in the position, you may even find that the recruiter or employer will ask what they can do to help you choose their role. Finally, end on a positive note by thanking them for the opportunity, once again.

The world of recruitment is full of surprises. Keep things respectful and genuine by being clear and open with your potential employer and you’ll know you’ve done everything you can to keep that door wide open.

For more employment tips, contact Chandler Macleod’s experienced consultants today and keep visiting the CMG blog.

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