How to Handle Multiple Job Offers

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Here's a great problem to have, especially these days – more than one job offer. As great as this sounds, it’s important to handle the negotiations carefully, and they can be a tightrope walk.

The position you take needs to be determined by more than money. Consider the tenor of the interview and subsequent phone conversations with the prospective employer. The interview process at large banks, investment firms and even smaller private equity ventures often require more than one meeting.

Along the way, a candidate can get a general sense of the interviewer’s desire to hire quickly. But try not to get too specific in your demands, if you can, says Pennell Locey, vice president of Keystone Associates, a career transitions firm. And while there are no hard and fast rules to appropriately dealing with two or more job offers, the process, while a difficult one to manage, is certainly an enviable position to be in today.

Don’t Play Games

There is “an etiquette to job negotiations,” Locey tells eFinancialCareers. First and foremost, don’t string your prospective employer along. It’s best not to be difficult when you’re in the midst of negotiations.

“It’s fine to say that you have another offer on the table and that you don’t want to hurry the process,” she adds. That may buy you time to consider the multiple offers on the table. You may want to tell your prospective employer that they are your number one choice. But resist the temptation to fake a competing offer.

Use Finesse

If possible, interviewees should avoid the specifics about money. Make sure you come prepared to talk about salary, if backed into a corner. Do your homework on the firm and the role, and try not to lowball yourself. If you feel it’s appropriate to mention the other offer, avoid the details. Mention the importance of the base, for instance, and that the other position does have a higher base.

“It’s considered bad form to get into the specifics,” says Locey. “Try to stick to generalities and salary ranges.” The three essential salary numbers are the current salary, the minimum required to make the move, and the ideal amount to make the move. Take a look at the entire package, including bonus and benefits.

Learn to Negotiate

For most employees, a job move requires more than a small boost in salary. Job duties and job location are also big factors to consider. Don’t forget to consider the hours and travel expected of you. It might be wise to say you have multiple interviews going. Most employers will want a heads up.

“You can say I am interviewing elsewhere, but I would love to be at your firm,” Locey notes. “Some people think it could hurt the negotiation, but honesty is important.”

Know the Role

Success in a job comes from targeting the appropriate employer and role, says Jesse Ryan, managing director of Accounting Principals, a finance and accounting staffing firm.

“We encourage candidates to know the most important criteria in their next role for the short and long-term, whether that’s within their own organization or at another firm,” he adds. It helps when deciding which role to take. Ryan also notes to consider growth potential in the position. “You need to be happy down the road, for your sake and for the sake of the company.”

Make sure the goals of the company are in alignment with what you are looking to do. Finally, he concludes make sure you understand your motivation for making a move, as it will help you to pick the right offer.

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