Multiple Job Offers

If your skills are in demand, we're back to the employment cycle that may afford you an opportunity to receive multiple employment offers from competing companies. Congratulations! or maybe my condolences - depending on how you handle the situation.

If you're collecting all your offers in writing before you've made a decision, you're likely going to burn bridges with all the companies you eventually turn down. You assume they'll forget with a future possibility of them rekindling their fond memory of you for another offer down the road. That's doubtful in the day of database and applicant tracking systems. When an offer gets finalized, most companies now track why it was rejected and permanently recorded in their database. When you come back to them a few years later, all of the details of you rejecting their offer is at their fingertips. Using the analogy of dating, when you turn someone down for the third date, they liked you and you've rejected them - they're not likely to forget 2 years later. They're not likely to forget you used them or how upset they were at the time making sure they are not compromised again by you in the future. Once the company feels scorned from being rejected at that stage or 'used' (and you likely did use them to increase your other offers and activity) you've burned that bridge.

The smarter play:

Don't collect written offers - at that point they've gone to the 'well' and are much more likely to feel scorned. Instead, go on the interviews, do your due diligence, make your assessment - and if it's not lining up right, get out of the process before they move to written offer. If you don't know they're about to go to written offer and how much that offer will be, then you didn't do you due diligence properly or you're 'off' on your assessment of the situation. If you get out before the written offer, they are less likely to feel used and you preserve your standing for a future relationship. It's similar to not going on the 3rd date where the other party takes the breakup more personally. Just like dating, there's usually a definitive line you cross leading to the other party is going to take rejection personally - in interviewing, it's the written offer.

A quote from a hiring head from one of our Fortune 500 clients after the 2nd interview: 'If he needs four offers before he makes a decision, I'm afraid his assessment skills are not as sharp as I need - let's make the offer to the other candidate'.

Larry Rubin is currently the Managing Partner of both Talent Partners and IT Services - Engaged Search Consultants and Executive Search.