With Austin employers scrambling for workers right now, you may find yourself having to choose between two or more job offers. What a great position to be in! But how do you respond, and how do you make the right decision? Here are some tips:
- Respond quickly. Delaying your response will leave a bad impression. Be gracious, enthusiastic, and positive. The last thing you want to do is leave the competing employers hanging, possibly resulting in the job offers being rescinded (and you being sent back to square one). Move to steps two and three below as soon as you receive that magic phrase (You’re hired!).
- Ask about the timeline. Don’t immediately announce that you’re waiting on another employer or that you need time to weigh competing offers (unless you’re talking candidly to your outside recruiter). Start by a) thanking them for the opportunity and b) asking about their timeline for a decision. If you need more time, ask for it (but don’t ask for more than one week). State that you’re excited about the opportunity and would like to be sure to make a strategic and well-informed decision.
- Be sure to have the offers in writing. It’s critical to have an offer letter and terms in hand, including salary, benefits and other compensation along with all other terms of your employment. These final details could be different from what you were promised, either purposefully or due to miscommunication. Some of the terms may not have been mentioned previously at all. If an offer letter doesn’t arrive automatically, ask for it. Say something like, “I’d love to see the paperwork that I’ll be signing if I accept the offer, including compensation and terms.”
- Compare the facts. Love charts? Make one! List the compensation, benefits and terms listed in your offer letters side-by-side. Find any surprises? Ask yourself how much those differences matter. You may find, for example, that while one job pays less, it offers many more benefits. Then, get granular and compare the job duties as you understand them. Which “day in the life” description feels better?
- Add in intangible attributes. What about growth opportunities? Commute times? Friendliness of the staff? Consider what about a job would make you happy to work there and add those to the list. You may even want to rate these factors to create a scorecard or matrix of sorts. Harvard Business Review offers an example of a career decision scorecard here. We also love this job offer evaluation checklist from The Balance Careers.
- Follow your gut. Replay the interview processes in your head—did anything about the environments or the people you met give you pause? Did you get a good feeling about the people you’ll report to and work with (not just HR or the executive suite)? We love this classic post from CareerBuilder on how to trust your gut when it comes to a job offer. Your intuition is more powerful than you know—you just need to learn how to tap into it.
- Talk to current and former employees. If you haven’t done so already, search your LinkedIn contacts for connections who either work at the organizations or are connected to someone who does. Ask them, simply, what it’s like to work there. Look at online reviews, too (but take them with a grain of salt). The organizations likely checked out your references; you should do the same.
- Ask more questions and/or negotiate. After reviewing the offers and terms and comparing the tangible and intangible aspects of the jobs, you likely have some new questions. It’s OK to ask them (it’ll help you stall for time as well). It’s common to have lifestyle questions at this point: How much work travel will there be? When will PTO start? Can the hybrid work plan be explained? And then there’s negotiating salary and compensation. Be thoughtful about it, but don’t be shy about asking for what you think is a reasonable request.
- Accept before you decline. Most job offers you receive are conditional, which means that, once you accept, you’ll undergo things like background checks and drug screenings (if applicable). Try to hold off on rejecting your second choice until that process is complete. Then, be gracious with your rejection and offer a brief but helpful reason you’re declining the losing offer. Studies show that 33% of new hires quit within three months, so it’s best to stay on good terms with your second choice.
One final thought: Fielding multiple offers is much easier with a recruiter on your side. It’ll allow you to gather more intel about each job, have open and honest conversations, and gain valuable insights when it’s most needed. If you haven’t touched base with our Austin recruiters in a while, reach out. We’re happy to help you navigate these new waters.
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