Choosing among job offers: 5 strategiesMar 3rd, 2009 | By admin | Category: Negotiating Jobs
By JOE GRIMM
The most difficult career decision you might face can come when you must choose between competing offers. Unfortunately, this is most likely to happen early in a career, when you’re less experienced and have thrown out a lot of lines, trying to catch that internship or first job.
Later in a career, job changes become more linear, and the choice is more often between the job you have, which you know about, and one new opportunity.
This is about juggling two or more offers and catching the one you decide you want.
Rule No. 1: Keep your word. Once you make a decision, stick to it. Do not accept one job, planning to break your word if the other job comes through for you. Journalism is largely based on trust, and if you break your word, people will hear about it. In one case, a reporter at one paper who accepted a job at a second paper and then accepted a job she liked even better at a third paper. Both offers were withdrawn after editors at those two papers, in different regions of the country, met at convention and were idly comparing notes. Because she had already resigned from the first paper, she quickly went from three jobs to none. Ask yourself how you would feel if a media company did that to you: “Yes, we had a deal last week, but yesterday we found somebody better, so we’re giving the offer to them, instead.
Rule No. 2: Remember what you want. Don’t get so caught up in the high drama and flattery of the competition for your talents that you forget what you want and sour the better employer or pursue a job that is not right for you. If your preferred employer has made an offer, take it. Don’t drag out the other employer just to see what they’ll offer. Don’t go through a sham interview just because the process has already started. Call, explain and politely withdraw from consideration without wasting any more of their time and money.
Rule No. 3: Be careful about playing one against the other. If you seem to be using one offer to leverage the other, one newsroom will feel used and the other will be less excited about having you come.
Rule No. 4: Ask for more time. The nature of competing offers is that you lose some control of the timetable. One company makes an offer and sets a deadline; the other won’t make a decision for two weeks. Or, one company, detecting a competitor, makes a fast offer and demands an immediate decision. Ask for time, but do so with care. When you tell one place that you can’t respond to its offer until you hear from the second, you’re telling the first paper it is your second choice. Be careful with that. Again, thinking in the employer’s place, how happy would you be knowing that, though they hired you, you really wanted to be somewhere else? Would you be comfortable about the new hire’s commitment?
Rule No. 5: Be judicious about how much you share. You do not have to tell prospective employers where the other offer is or might be coming from. They certainly will not tell you who else they’ve interviewed. You might even find it is useful to reveal this to an employer in explaining your difficulty. But the other employer will not like to hear on the grapevine that you are talking about an offer than has not yet been accepted.