How to Negotiate Multiple Job Offers Without Losing Your Mind

Your resume and cover letter are on point and you’ve built a fantastic network. It comes as no surprise, then, that you not only have a job offer, but that you also have more than one. It’s an awesome feeling, but it can be scary to make a decision. How do you know you’ll love working somewhere without actually doing it? Here’s how to handle multiple job offers and come out on top. 

When you get an offer, make sure that it is in writing. An email will suffice. It should include information on how much you’ll be paid, what types of benefits the workplace offers and any other terms of employment. 
Express enthusiasm for the job without saying yes immediately. 

“I’m so excited to receive an offer. When do you need to know my official decision?” 

That question buys you some time, especially if you’re interviewing at more than one place. If you are waiting to hear back from another potential employer when you receive an offer, you can certainly reach out and explain your situation. Note that you’re interested in potentially working for that employer, but that you’ve received another offer and have until a specified date to accept. Then ask what their timeline looks like for making a decision. 

If this question leads to a second offer, you have some decision-making to do. Compare and contrast your potential employers with a pros and cons list. Feel free to weigh your pros and cons: One job may have a long list of pros, but you may put way more importance on being able to bring your dog to work than on free snacks. If you have questions, feel free to ask either employer. Gather as much information as you need to make this decision. 

Once you’ve made that list, reach out to each employer to ask for more. Use the other as leverage. 

“I have another offer for a bit more money,” you can say. “I prefer your organization, but if you could increase the salary just a bit, it would make my decision a lot easier.”

This part can be scary, but it’s important to remember that the worst these people can do is say no. Once you have circled back with each potential employer, recreate your pros and cons list with the new terms of employment. Take some time to think through the benefits of each, and then make your choice. 

Let the potential employer you choose know that you’ve accepted. You can do so over the phone or via email. When you do so, reiterate the terms of the offer you agreed upon previously. Make sure you determine a start date that works for both sides. Consider taking a week or two between jobs if it fits in your budget, and always try to give your current company two weeks notice. 

For the potential employer that you’re rejecting, be clear that you appreciate the opportunity to work for them and that you want to stay in touch in the future. Be kind and be brief in your rejection. You can do so over email, but it is more courteous to give them a call.

You can use the same process to negotiate for a raise at your current job. However, you need to be willing to walk away from your current employer if need be. 

- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #36

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