FAQs About Job Offers: Part One

You’ve interviewed with a company and things went well. The next step is the job offer. In most cases, it’s a simple process — they offer you the job; you accept. But sometimes there are circumstances surrounding the job offer that complicate the process.

Here are strategies for how to handle the situation when a challenge arises.

Question:

I’ve been interviewing for several jobs simultaneously. What if two companies offer me a job?

Answer:

Sometimes, this is an easy decision to make. But it can be a difficult decision if you like both companies. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to each job, and that can help you choose.

A “pros and cons” list can be a good way to objectively evaluate which position is the best fit. Possible categories to assess can include: salary, benefits, work/life balance, company culture and reputation, commuting time/telecommuting, if you will find the work challenging and interesting, who you will be working with (and for!), industry stability, and whether the job fits into your long-term career plans.

A more likely scenario, however, is that you will receive one job offer before the other. So what do you do if the job offer you get isn’t from the company you want? Read on.

Question:

I’ve interviewed with two companies. I’ve been offered a job with Company A, but I want to see if I get an offer from Company B (which is the company I really want to work for). How do I handle this?

Answer:

Do you have an idea of when Company B will be making a hiring decision? That can influence how you handle your response. If you’ve interviewed with both companies, and you expect a response from Company B in the next 48-72 hours, you may be able to “stall” Company A by requesting the offer in writing so you can review it “before accepting.”

You can also take this opportunity to negotiate the offer, which may buy you some additional time. In the meantime, if Company B hasn’t told you when the hiring decision will be made, you can contact the hiring manager and ask about a timeframe. You may even mention that you have been offered another position, but theirs is the job you really want, and you wanted to follow up to see what the timeframe is for making a decision before you let the other company know if you were going to accept their offer.

However, there’s that old saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” You may not receive a second job offer. And if you put off Company A for too long — or don’t act “interested enough” — you may even lose that job offer.

In some cases, you may be better off taking the job with Company A and then seeing what happens with Company B — which leads us to the next scenario.

Question:

What do I do if I accepted a job with Company A, but Company B offered me a job after I started my new position?

Answer:

If you’ve already started working at Company A, this puts you in an uncomfortable position. Your current employer has invested time and money in the hiring process, and has put resources towards training you and getting you up to speed with the company. So don’t make the decision to leave lightly. Again, assess the pros and cons of both positions.

But if you are going to make a change, make it quickly. You will be burning bridges, but you don’t need to make it any more difficult than it needs to be. Offer your resignation to your new supervisor in person. Don’t put it in an email or text message. Be gracious. Thank them for this opportunity. You may even want to explain that you were surprised to be offered your “dream” position, and it’s an opportunity that you just couldn’t pass up. Offer your two weeks’ notice, as you would if you were a long-time employee.

Letting your new boss know right away also holds true if you have accepted the job at Company A, but haven’t yet reported to your first day of work. If you are going to revoke an accepted offer of employment, let the company know as soon as possible. Don’t wait to let them know — and don’t just fail to show up for your first day of work. While the company may be disappointed with your decision, the sooner you let them know you’re taking another job, the better.

Check back soon for more job offer FAQs!

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About Charlotte Weeks - Executive Career Coach / Executive Resume Writer / Outplacement Consultant

Prior to founding Weeks Career Services, Inc. Charlotte Weeks worked in human resources at a national association, where she experienced the hiring process from the other side. She's also the past president of The National Resume Writers' Association (The NRWA). Charlotte specializes in providing C-level executives (CEO, CFO, CMO, etc.), association executives, executive directors and senior-level professionals (director, VP, SVP, etc.) with comprehensive career coaching services and high-ROI resumes. She is author of "I Want a Job in an Association -- Now What?? A Guide to Getting a Job in a Professional Association, Membership Organization, or Society" and featured author of "101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career." Additional book contributions include "The Twitter Job Search Guide," "Resumes That Pop!," and "Step-by-Step Cover Letters." As an internationally-recognized expert, Charlotte provides programs and documents tailored to each individual’s needs. To ensure that each person is given the highest quality of attention and service, Charlotte works with a limited number of new clients each month. For more information about Charlotte, please visit her Web site at www.WeeksCareerServices.com.
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