Insight News

Feb 11th

Managing multiple offers

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Plan Your Career By Julie Desmond Even in this volatile job market, people continue to look for and find employment. A local radio station this week asked people to call in if they are hiring. People called. And called. Yes, the jobs are out there. Job seeker Bea discovered this for herself recently when she went from unemployed to overemployed in a single day. How did that happen? Actually, she made it happen, and you can, too.

 First, note that Bea needed a job. She has a degree and some great experience. In fact, she is heading toward the end of her career at this point, and after being laid off decided she would look for a “last job.” She does not enjoy the job hunt, and really needs to be working. So she looked actively, working with recruiters, keeping in close touch with friends and networking groups, and applying for positions on her own as well.

If you apply for enough of the right positions, eventually you will get interviews. Bea did. Several. She went on every interview she was called for, and cheerfully went back for a second, a third and even a fourth interview with one company. Then the holidays hit, executives and hiring managers left town, and Bea still didn’t have a job. She continued her process, and went on a few interviews when other people were out shopping or watching football.

Finally, she got an offer --a good, solid offer from a well-known company. The only problem for Bea was that this was not the company she wanted most to work for. She would have preferred an offer from the smaller, more personable group (incidentally, the four-interview group). Being a positive, creative problem solver, Bea turned the first offer into an opportunity. Before accepting the Big Company’s position, she reconnected with someone from Smaller Company. She explained that she had a written offer, but that her preference was to join Smaller Company instead. She asked if Smaller Company was still considering her a viable candidate, and if so, then what was their time frame for making a decision?

It is fine to reach out this way if:  it is true (if you don’t have another offer, you will lose credibility and possibly a potential offer by pushing at this point); you are polite (never threaten anyone – remember, your objective is to become coworkers, not adversaries); you are willing to accept offer number two if it comes your way and if it is acceptable (if you don’t want their position, don’t bother).

Smaller Company told Bea that their decision makers were traveling and they would not be able to pull an offer together until the end of the week. Bea went back to Big Company and explained that she had something else in the works and would need until the end of the week to make a decision. They agreed to give her the time she needed and she followed up with them when promised.

If Smaller Company still did not have an offer by the end of the week, Bea was prepared to accept the Big Company position.  As it happened, the decision makers were reached on the road and an offer was pulled together within a day. Bea accepted their offer, circled back to the other company and declined, and is ready to start something new very soon. She had nothing to lose by approaching Smaller Company in her situation. In the end, it was a win-win for Bea and for her preferred employer.

Julie Desmond is Senior Recruiter for The Walstrom Group in Minneapolis.  Write to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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