Why you should pursue multiple offers, even when you don’t want the job

Multiple offers is a high class problem
Multiple job offers are a high-class problem

Why negotiating multiple job offers is a good thing

There are a couple of common themes we see over and over when we work with job seekers. Most candidates avoid putting themselves in a situation where they are comparing multiple job offers. Candidates will interview with multiple companies all the time. 

  1. When we see one small negative with the hiring company we decline further interviews.
  2. As soon as one of the company’s looks like a promising prospect, the candidate drops the remaining positions of interest.

We believe that declining further interviews is a mistake. Scratch that. These are mistakes. Why pursue a company that you are not interested in? We have three reasons.

  1. We don’t know how to appreciate, or not appreciate a job until we see the entire job offer.
  2. Anytime we have more than one company interested in presenting a job offer, we can create an auction between the two companies.
  3. Simply stated: backup plan

An offer worthy of appreciation

Until we receive the actual offer,  we don’t really know if we are interested or not. You may not appreciate an aspect or two of the job, but would you accept the job with a higher salary, more vacation time or perhaps an education allowance? We won’t know what we are missing until we are in the offer stage and start the negotiations.

Let’s say we have an offer on a position that we are interested in, but we don’t really care for it because it doesn’t come with parking. If we accept the position, we need to pay for parking in the city which could go another $300.00 a month.  That can be an annual $3,600.00 a year expense! But if you negotiate a parking allowance, the issue is solved.  Maybe you receive $1800.00 vs. the $3600.00 but could that be enough to make the job desirable. We won’t know until we ask.

Maybe the job has a longer commute than you are interested in. Asking for alternative work hours like 10-6 may make the commute easier. Maybe you ask to work from home 1-2 days a week. Neither one of these is perfect, but we won’t know until we ask and we have the most leverage when we have an offer in hand.

It’s Auction Time!

Multiple job offers is a good thing. Anytime we can leverage one offer against another offer, the candidate is in a position of power. Let’s say you received an offer of $55K a year from Company X, which you are really interested in working with. With an offer from a competing company (Company Y) for $57K, you can leverage Company Y against Company X and end up with a better package. Even though you prefer to work at the first company, you can still let the company know you have a competing offer.  The better package doesn’t have to be more salary. Maybe you will take the originally offered $55K plus a $2000 education allowance or an extra week of vacation. We won’t know until we ask, and we aren’t able to ask until we have a competing offer.

The counter-offer

“I really like this Company, and your Company is my first choice. I feel confident I can add value and will learn a lot here. As I have mentioned throughout the interview process, continuing education is important to me. I also received an offer from  Company Y, and they are giving me a $3000.00 education allowance. If Company X will match the education allowance, I will sign your offer today.”

I would suggest even if they offer you a $2500.00 education allowance you really consider this offer!

The last thing you want to do as a candidate is to assume that a job offer will only consist of salary.  We have nothing to lose asking for what is important to us. Candidates are doing the company a favor by letting them know what needs to be offered to motivate us to sign on the dotted line. The company isn’t able to offer what they are not aware of.  Just make sure to explain why that piece of the package is important.

How it works

At Career Tracker, we have our Offer Calculator tool that will help you compare and contrast multiple offers. This will help you see the real value of what you will be bringing home. This calculator starts with the state you live in, tax rates and then calculates the value of medical benefits, 401K match, time off and goes into the details. This calculator also determines the value of parking, an education allowance and equity in the company to name just a few.

The beauty of the Offer Calculator is it doesn’t just help you calculate your compensation package. The Offer Calculator lists all of the potential benefits a hiring company might offer. This gives you the candidate a checklist of benefits that you can ask for depending on the company, industry, company culture, and your seniority. (A more senior candidate can ask for more benefits than a candidate fresh out of school.)

So, next time you are thinking about dropping out of an interview process, let the company know what it will take to make an offer you would consider. Trust me, they want to hear what motivates you to sign on the line. Companies don’t want to offer you a package you aren’t interested in. If they aren’t able to make the deal happen, that is business, but at least we know we asked!

Always try to put yourself in a situation where you are considering multiple job offers.

Good Luck,

Key Takeaway: Even if you have an offer or are close to an offer, don’t give up on other opportunities.

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