After a long period when financial professionals were lucky not to lose their jobs let alone find a new one, multiple job offers are starting to resurface.
While it isn't commonplace for a job seeker to get offers from more than one employer, savvy financial professionals know offers beget offers. Having multiple job offers makes you a more desirable candidate and can motivate a prospective employer that is interested to deliver an offer sooner rather than later, career experts say.
"You become more attractive because you have the potential to disappear" by taking another job, observes Roy Cohen, a New York-based career counselor and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide.
When soliciting and juggling multiple job offers, make sure you keep prospective employers and recruiters you're talking to in the loop. Be transparent, direct, and truthful about the progress you make in obtaining offers elsewhere.
One career coach and trainer says 5 to 10 percent of her financial services clients are obtaining more than one job offer these days. "Right now, I have one person interviewing at five companies for a job with a salary of $250,000," says Connie Thanasoulis-Carrachio, co-founder of SixFigureStart.
Recruiters, of course, are less pleased by the possibility of candidates getting more than one offer. Their clients, the prospective employers, want to know if a serious competitor is vying for a potential employee. "We're wasting a lot of time and effort if (another firm) is planning to hire that person in two weeks," says Alan Geller, managing director of AG Barrington, a New York-based search firm focused on the financial sector.
There are no simple tricks or shortcuts for obtaining and exploiting job offers from multiple employers. However, experts offer these tips for managing the process and avoiding pitfalls:
Communicate Openly and Often
If one company moves forward with an offer, Thanasoulis-Carrachio says the job seeker should go to the other company and say, "Look, I think I'm getting an offer, how far are we?"
"If someone (a recruiter or a prospective employer) leaves you a voicemail, get back in an hour or two," she says. If a company asks you for a reference or a writing sample, provide it quickly.
The amount of communication should vary with the stage of the interview process. In "round one," Geller says firms he recruits for would assume the potential employee is interviewing "everywhere." But in "round two," when a candidate would be meeting with a hiring manager and key decision maker and is invited to further meetings, "they would want to know if that person is interviewing elsewhere," he says.
You can't wait for people to contact you, says Thanasoulis-Carrachio. If there is a pause in the communication, call the employer and ask if anything has changed and if so, what can you do to address it.
When an offer arrives or appears imminent, she says the right way to communicate it to another prospective employer goes something like this: "I expect to get two offers this week, but you are my No. 1 choice. If given an offer at this company, I would accept. Do you think we'll be at that stage soon?" The wrong way is to present the other employer's offer as an ultimatum, where your message seems to say, "Make me an offer, or I'm gone."
Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, likewise advises job seekers pursuing multiple offers to tell a favored potential employer they are the preferred choice. "Enthusiasm is a big key, and after that humility is big," Oliver remarks.
It's important to maintain cordial relations with every prospective employer you've interviewed with, says Cohen. You never know if the job you eventually accept will work out. So avoid alienating anyone and always behave in a professional manner.
Be prepared to respond to any job offer in less than a week - perhaps in two or three days. When telling other prospects about the offer, experts differ on whether it's wise to disclose the employer's name.
Use the Hiring Process to Build Your Professional Network
If your first-choice employer doesn't come through with an offer, Oliver recommends keeping in touch with the person there who you had the most or highest-quality contact with. "Figure out a way to drop your contact person a note once every few months or make it into a friendship" by going to a game or meeting for a drink, she says.