Managing multiple job offers

Working in technical jobs such as IT and Engineering can be very rewarding careers. Where else do you get to be at the forefront of technology, problem solve nearly every day and get the opportunity to work with a really diverse range of people?

So when it comes to the time to change jobs and you are in the position of deciding between two or more exciting opportunities, how can you do this without burning bridges?  After all, you never know when you might end up working with one of them again in the future.

It’s a good problem to have but it’s a problem that seems to come up regularly for technical jobs.  As an IT or Engineering professional, your skills are in high demand and you may find that managing peoples expectations about you joining their team can be a delicate matter.

If you have more than one attractive application in the pipeline at once, it’s often a good idea to identify which would be your preferred role before you get any offers. If you do this before the offer arrives then it’s an easy decision to make.  If however you don’t do this first and you receive multiple offers then you are in a bit of a trickier situation.

The first thing to do is to manage expectations.  If you accept a job and then retract your acceptance, this is not good for your career long term and you may find that this decision follows you.  The best thing to do is to defer giving your decision for as long as is reasonable.  Try and find out how long you will have to wait to hear back on the other role.  It’s not unreasonable to ask for a few days to think about things but once you get to a week or more before giving a decision, you are on shaky ground with the first offer.  No employer wants to feel like they are a safety net or second best.  So try not to delay for too long.

Once you have both offers, you will often know straight away which you would prefer and the decision is easy but if it’s a close run thing, it’s time to write a list. Compare factors like career prospects, the work, type of technology you will be using, company culture, the commute, if relocating is required and what the area is like, the schools for your children, what’s the salary and benefits package?  Once you have done this, try to weigh these factors and make your decision.

Now its time to accept the offer.  Make sure this is done and confirmed before you turn down the other role.

Turning down the other role tactfully is key.  You never know when your paths may cross again.  Try using language such as “I have been really impressed by your company and I am over the moon to be offered the position and I am very flattered.  However, I have also had another offer.  It’s been a difficult decision to make but I am very sorry to say that I have decided to accept the other role at this time.  I really enjoyed meeting you and your team and I wish you all the best for the future and would like to thank you for taking the time to consider my application”.

Now all you need to do is hand in your notice in your current job, dealing with any possible counter offer they may make and start your new role.  Good luck.


Take a look at our other job hunting tips here