How many is too many? What to do when you’re faced with multiple offers

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Looking for a job is tough! The average job seeker can spend a lot of time writing applications for multiple jobs at different companies. For new grads especially: the less professional experience you have, the more applications you send. It can become quite difficult to keep track of all the places you’ve applied to.

So your hard work applying has paid off: you’ve received responses from a few different companies and are fully engaged in multiple recruitment processes. But what happens when you’ve reached the final stages of interviewing with a few different companies and you end up receiving multiple job offers? What then? How do you make a decision that won’t end up leaving you with serious FOMO about another opportunity you passed up on? How can you make a decision that you know deep-down is the right one? It’s a lucky position to be in, but a tough one. Here are a few tips for when you receive multiple offers and you don’t know what to do:

First thing’s first: keep your cool and don’t rush.

When you’re anticipating making the daunting decision of choosing where you want to work, it’s easy to get anxious and end up making a rushed or snap decision. It’s important to level-set with yourself and remind yourself that you received multiple offers for a reason: people want you to work at these places. Therefore, companies will be reasonably patient for your response.

Take time to weigh the pros and cons of each offer and decide what’s important to you without getting blinded by which company is providing the larger salary.

The highest offer might not necessarily be the best decision for your career growth or for other factors that may be important to you. Try not to make your decision based solely on money. Take some time to make a list of the pros and cons to each offer, and omit the salary. This will allow you to weigh your decision on the things that are intrinsically important to you, rather than just money. Here is a brief list of things to include in your pros and cons list other than salary: type of company, type of industry, number of employees, type of culture, work-life balance, level of autonomy, personal and professional growth, benefits/other perks, leadership, team.

On the note of perks: identify what a genuine perk is vs. a buzzwordy one.

Sometimes companies promise really cool, shiny extras as a part of their compensation package. Look out for buzzword statements like “flex time” or “unlimited vacation”. These perks may not actually be all they’re cracked up to be. Make sure to validate! What does flex time mean and will it apply to your role? Unlimited vacation sounds really lovely, but is it realistic for the type of work that you do? Perhaps you discover that you really care about whether a company offers an educational benefit, but a lot of those benefits come with certain limits that companies sometimes don’t immediately disclose. Make sure you dig further into the things that you care the most about when considering total compensation.

Ask as many questions as you can!

When you’re receiving an offer from a company, make sure to ask the leadership about important (but often forgotten) details. Even seemingly miniscule things like: When does my offer expire? This will give you the opportunity to let the other company(ies) know when you need to make a decision by and will allow you the space to perform your “balancing act” of deciding where to work. When does each company need you to start by? Do they need to gather your references by a specific date? Will they be performing a background check? All of these little details that sometimes are missed can make a huge difference in the way you make a decision. Is there something one company is offering you that another is not? Let them know. Perhaps there is a chance the first company can match your offer.  Ask as many questions about an offer as you can so that you have multiple data-points on which to measure your decision.

Be honest.

And try to be honest earlier on in the recruitment process. If you are interviewing elsewhere, it’s good to give a recruiter the heads up so that they are more conscious of the time it will take to move you through their recruitment process. If you are expecting more than one offer, tell the first company who offers you a job that you are expecting an offer from another company or that you have multiple offers and you will need a few days to think things through. It’s okay to be human, and most recruiters understand the need for a candidate to have a few days to themselves to think things over.

Be respectful.

With all this in mind, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t waste any time: yours or theirs. This is especially important if you know deep-down that a role is not for you. If you receive an offer that you’re not happy with, be honest and tell them why. If nothing can be done, let them know that you will be declining. There is always a silver-medalist candidate behind you in the works who will be next in line for that same opportunity. It’s not fair to leave a company lingering on your decision if you know you will not be moving forward. Try and give recruiters a timeline for when you believe you will have a concrete answer for them. Most often they will let you know if it’s realistic or not.

Above all: seek out advice.

If you’re having a particularly hard time making a decision on multiple offers, reach out to someone you consider to be a mentor or trusted confidante – perhaps even a family member will do. They may be able to shape your perspective in a different way. Through talking it out with someone, you may realize something you hadn’t previously considered.

Receiving multiple job offers is an exciting place to be! You deserve to be proud of yourself. But making a big decision like this can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you’re an early-career candidate looking to make their first leap into the professional world. But with the above 7 checks and balances in place, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision that’s right for you. Congratulations and good luck!

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