Job searches are tough—and we often feel lucky to land a single job offer, let alone multiple offers. But it happens. And when it does, it can be overwhelming, confusing, and stressful. This guide is here to walk you through what to do when not one but many companies make you an offer you may not want to refuse, from how to weigh each option to how to explain the situation to a recruiter and how to turn down the one offer (or offers) you don’t want.
How to Weigh Multiple Job Offers
When you receive multiple job offers—or believe that you will receive multiple offers—it’s important to tell any potential employer or recruiter you need time to consider their offer. And now, with that time bought, you can weigh each individual offer against one another.
You must be thorough: Start by researching the companies and compiling the information you find about their pay, benefits, company culture, location, flexibility, job responsibilities, and anything else you believe to be important into a document that makes it easy to weigh the companies against each other. Ask: Does one stand out? You may have your answer.
If it’s still not clear, consider your own career goals: What do you want to be doing not only now but in the future? Can one company help you meet your goals more than the other?
And if you find you have more questions than answers, don’t be afraid to reach back out to company employees and recruiters to get the information you need to make a decision.
If all else fails, trust your instincts. If you feel much more confident about one company or job than the other—but can’t put your finger on why—it’s OK to simply go with your gut.
Talking to Recruiters About Multiple Offers
Should you ever reveal you’ve been offered multiple jobs? That’s a tricky question indeed.
There are at least two situations you might reveal to a recruiter or potential employer that you have another option on the table. One is if the company you really want to work for has yet to make an offer. By telling the recruiter you’ve already received an offer from another company, he or she may push his or her hiring manager to make a decision and an offer.
In this situation, you might say something like, “I’m so excited we’ve gotten this far in the interview process, and I’m confident I can make a strong contribution to the team. But, I do want to let you know that another company has offered me a job. I would truly rather work for you, but the other company has asked I make a decision by X date. Is there any chance you might arrive at a decision about my candidacy by or before that date? I’d appreciate it.”
The second reason you might reveal you’ve received another offer is as a tactic during a salary or benefits negotiation. If the other company’s offer gave better benefits or more pay, you can ask the company you’d like to work for to match (or beat) it in its own offer.
Try something like, “I want to be transparent in that I’ve been offered another job. This job with your company is my top pick, and I am so very excited about this opportunity. But the other company’s offer includes X pay/benefit. So, is there any wiggle room in your offer to match that pay/vacation time/other added benefit? If so, I would really appreciate it.”
But both these tactics come with some risk: You could certainly offend a recruiter or their company, who could decide to not give you an offer—or even rescind the one they gave.
However, if you’re polite and respectful in your approach, a recruiter could value your honesty—and a company may even view you more favorably because you’re in demand.
How to Negotiate the Salary
As we mentioned above, you may decide to use your other offer or offers to negotiate your salary and benefits. However, there are other tried-and-true ways to get a better salary.
First things first: In order to negotiate your salary, you have to know your worth. You can use Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool, which gives you a personalized estimated market value, what others in your field are being paid, and available job listings. Once you have a ballpark for your market worth, you’ll be able to compare it with what the average salary for the position (or positions) for which you’re vying, using the research in the negotiation.
Consider other benefits you can negotiate, too, in addition to your salary, such as vacation time, PTO, bonuses, and more. These things can add a lot of value to your ultimate offer.
Then, be sure to practice your negotiation at least once—if not twice—before you do it for real. Find someone to listen to your proposal for a salary increase, so that you can feel the cadence of your speaking points out loud in a conversational setting. Much of a successful negotiation boils down to feeling comfortable and practiced—and, of course, confident.
How to Decline a Job Offer
You can’t accept all the jobs you’ve been offered. So, how do you say no to the other ones?
Most people choose to turn down a job offer over email, which in most cases is perfectly fine. But, if you really want to go the extra mile, try calling the company. While it’s not for everybody, a phone call offers a more personal touch—and it can also help you avoid the unfortunate miscommunications that sometimes arise from written messages. Also, putting in a little extra effort shows respect for the amount of time and resources the company took in interviewing you. Calling shows you care and are thankful and grateful for their time.
You may be hesitant to explain why you’re turning the job down, but doing so will keep the company from wondering what went wrong, and may even help them improve their hiring process moving forward. Be careful with what exactly you share, though. Something too blunt, such as, “The hiring manager was a jerk,” won’t go over well. However, saying, “I really connected with the team at the other company I was interviewed with” is acceptable.
Now that you’ve worked through multiple job offers, here are some additional resources to help you navigate a new job.