I recently received a question about the timing of job offers. What if you receive an offer but there is another position in the works that you would prefer? How does one handle that?
When You Receive the Offer
Say thank you very much. Let them know you are interested but would like to give the decision careful consideration and you want an opportunity to review the benefits materials in detail. Buy yourself at least 24 hours but don’t expect them to grant you too much time. Think about the pros and cons of the opportunity on the table and carefully review the offer letter and benefits materials.
Contacting the Other Company
If you are fairly far along in the process with the other company, call your contact. Explain that you have another offer on the table but that their opportunity would be much more appealing to you. Ask when they expect to make a decision. If asked, let them know your deadline. They may or may not be able to meet your timeframe. Companies all work on different schedules with different priorities and approval processes. It is unreasonable to expect that offers are all on the table at the same time.
Consider Your Alternatives
Can you live with the decision of turning down the first opportunity even if the second one does not come through as you had hoped? What are the down sides to declining the first position? Consider the pros and cons of each alternative.
Making Decisions with Imperfect Information
More often than not, you have to make a decision with imperfect or incomplete information. This is a valuable life skill and a critical skill for success in business. At some point you have to take a leap of faith. After your careful analysis of the pros and cons, you need to trust your gut and make a decision. If you accept the first position, make the most of it. Don’t second guess yourself if the second offer does come through. Thank them and ask if you can stay in touch for future opportunities. Once a decision is made, accept it and move on.