Dear Matt: I received a job offer over the phone on a Wednesday. However, I have two other opportunities I’m waiting to hear back about and could get an offer any day. What is proper etiquette for handling all of this?
Matt says: In times like this I turn to Eagan-based career coach Catherine Byers Breet (Arbez.com), whose experience and expertise makes her one of my favorite go-to sources in the Twin Cities.
“Professional etiquette states you should respond to the job offer within one to two days,” says Byers Breet. “If you don’t say yes right away the offer gets stale, the excitement wears off and everyone knows you are hoping or waiting for another company to offer you a job.”
The first thing to do is concentrate on the job offer you have. You don’t know if you will receive an offer from the other jobs, so take care of this first and ask for a written job offer.
“You should never accept an offer until you see it in writing,” says Byers Breet.
Give a verbal soft answer — something like: “I’m very excited about this opportunity with you. When can I expect to see the written offer, so I can evaluate it effectively and give you a formal response?”
Then evaluate the written offer. Did they provide full details about benefits, compensation and other key items? If you have any concerns push for more time. Say: “I am very excited about the offer, but I do have a few questions. May we please schedule a phone call, or a face-to-face visit to discuss?”
Next, call the other companies you already interviewed with and politely ask when they expect to make a decision. Tell them you are very interested in their firm, but have an offer in hand and the first company wants an answer in the next day or two.
What if there is no way to stall giving the first firm an answer?
If that’s the case, consider saying: “I’m very excited about the chance to work with you. Your offer is generous, the opportunity is exciting, and it’s right in line with what I am looking for. However, it’s really important for me to show up with 100 percent of my attention and enthusiasm in place for you. I have one other company coming in with an offer this week. Would you be willing to wait until Monday for an answer?”
Some companies will pull an offer back, and extend it to someone else if they sense that they are not your top choice.
“Companies want the right long–term fit as badly as you do,” says Byers Breet. “If they feel like they are your second choice, they would rather hire someone else who has them as their top choice.” □
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