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4 Things to Do (and 3 Things Not to Do) When You Have An Offer and Are Awaiting Another

meeting-1019744_640Congratulations, you’ve just received a job offer! Your hard work has paid off; the job is interesting and you liked the people you would be working with.  However, there’s a catch.  You were much more excited about another job you interviewed for, but you haven’t received that offer yet.  What should you do?

Receiving a job offer while you are expecting or hoping to receive another offer is both exciting and a little scary. Four things you should do:

  1. Thank company #1 and express excitement.   Thank them sincerely for the offer; tell them you will review the offer and let them know by a specific day (usually several days or up to a week out). Companies normally allow several days for you to review the offer and make your decision.  This buys you some time.
  2. Evaluate your status with both companies. Realistically assess your standing with company #2 and review what you know about the job. How far along are you in their process? Would you be happy with job #1 had you not known about job #2? Clearly understand your needs and criteria and how well both jobs would meet them.
  3. Contact company #2. Let them know you’ve received another offer and when you need to give your decision. Tell them they are your first choice; ask if they can let you know the status of your candidacy. They may or may not be ready or able to move up the timeline.
  4. Make a decision on offer #1. Within the agreed-upon timeline, and based on the available information, make a decision and notify company #1. You may have to decide on the merits of offer #1 alone, without knowing more about company #2.

Three things not to do:

  1. Ask company #2 for a decision if you haven’t interviewed or been contacted yet. Unless your skills are in very high demand, pressing a company for a decision before they have contacted you for an interview circumvents their timeline / process and will likely not be well-received.
  2. Ask company #1 for more/too much time to decide. This indicates to company #1 that they are not your first choice and you are not very excited about the position. This can start your tenure there on a sour note if you decide to accept their offer.
  3. Accept company #1’s offer and renege if offer #2 comes through. Not only can this damage your reputation, references and future professional relationships, it will probably render you ineligible for rehire. Companies invest significant time and money in hiring and training so this would be very costly for them.   If offer #2 is truly a dream opportunity, you can decide if it’s worth it anyway, but be sure you understand the risks first.

For more tips on negotiating job offers, check out our webinar, Negotiation at Work – Part Art, Part Science!