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 Articles and Advice

 Juggling Multiple Prospective Employers

By Joe Stein

What a tremendous position for a Job Seeker to be in…having to manage multiple employers pursuing them. Sounds like a dream come true and, in many ways, it is, as long as you juggle these prospective employers properly. Handle this situation improperly and you may find yourself with no prospective employers courting you.
The following are some tips for Job Seekers who find themselves managing multiple suitors.
·         Don’t accept a position with the intention of keeping your options open. Western New York is a small community and this is a great way to burn bridges. Once you have said “yes” to an offer, then you have made a commitment to that organization. A key to avoid being placed in this situation is to know what you want and weigh each offer to your criteria, prior to selection. This will allow you to weed out those offers that do not measure up. My exception to this rule is when you have accepted the offer and either the terms of your agreement changed on the employer end, or once you start, you have found that the position has been misrepresented. 
·         If you do decide that you must accept a different position than the one you originally accepted, then inform the other company immediately. It is tempting to avoid the situation until the day you are to start and then leave a voice message. This, in my opinion, just makes a bad situation worse. Let your “new” employer know personally with a phone call, speaking directly to the Hiring Manager. I know this will be a tough conversation, as I am sure the Hiring Manager will be disappointed, but it is the right thing to do. Be sure to sincerely thank the person for their time and interest in you.
·         A real skill, when listening to multiple prospective employers, is how to delay your interested employers. This is especially crucial when you have received one offer, but are expecting to receive another. A start is to explain to the offering party that you will need a few days to contemplate. Leverage your spouse/family, if possible, explaining how you want to include them in the decision. You may also have a few legitimate questions that they will need to answer and, therefore, buying yourself some time. If there is a piece of information not provided in detail yet, such as benefits information, then that can be requested. You can then call the other employer and explain to them that you do not mean to rush them and you respect their need to make the right decision, but that you are reviewing an offer. When you have this conversation, stress how truly interested you are in this company and the position, and that you would love an offer by them, prior to your deadline. At this point, the other employer can put some speed in their process, or decide they are not ready and pass.
·         A key, in any of this jugging is to make sure that all parties feel that they are your priority. In particular, the organization you are most interested in, needs to believe you are most excited about them. Very few employers are naïve enough to believe you are only focusing on them. If anything, having a little competition will sometimes make an employer more interested in the candidate. In any situation, however, it is not wise to flaunt your options in the process (if you inform them at all). If you have a professional need to bring up other suitors, then do so, but in a fashion that does not appear like braggadocio.
·         You may be asked about how your job search is going. I know that I like to ask this one when I am interviewing. My recommendation is that you speak generally about how you are speaking with a few different companies. Stress that you are being particular in your job search, and not just applying for every opening out there. Emphasize how excited you are about the opportunity with the prospective employer you are speaking with.
·         If you do have the luxury of having two offers, then compare the two very closely on a side-by-side basis. Compare this review with your priorities in a new position. Whatever company “loses” this upon completion should receive a personal phone call from you thanking them for their interest.
·         Be cautious with “making up” offers to create competition. For one, the prospective employer may decide to pull back their interest fearing you are not committed or because they want to avoid a bidding war. Also, Western New York can be such a tight-knit community that your fib may come back to haunt you if called out on it.
Having multiple companies interested in your services is an enviable position to be in. This situation does require some savviness to ensure the situation will prove to be a positive for you. 
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNY Jobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.