Handling Multiple Offers

At the peak of the bubble, top candidates were receiving up to ten offers. Is that a good thing? Yes and No. Since we are again in a period of multiple opportunities, it makes sense to re-visit the issue.

Of course it is good to have multiple companies interested in you from an ego standpoint, and it doesn’t hurt the negotiation leverage either. But the problem is that if you let all those deals go to offer stage, you can only take one job and therefore; you now have nine managers that do not have a fond memory of you. There is a better way.

If handled properly, you can have ten managers think well of you rather than just the one that hired you. As we mentioned, the hiring process is just as stressful and emotional for the hiring managers as it is for you. If you can decrease the negative impact of you not taking their job, you will be perceived in a much better light. Any interaction you have with managers and interviewers will create an impression. You always want these impressions to be positive. The community in your local professional field is not that huge, so chances are you will run into some of these contacts again. If you let an offer go out from a company you knew you would not work at, you are unnecessarily creating a less than positive impression with that hiring manager. Maybe they had to go to their VP to press for a higher than typical salary level to entice you to join. Now they have egg on their face, since you turned it down anyway.

So here is the deal. It is fine to get companies to want to hire you, just don’t make them go to the trouble of putting together an offer you never intend to take. The ideal approach is to evaluate the opportunity prior to receiving an offer. Once you have decided which opportunity is the best one for you, you proceed to the offer stage with that company and professionally request that the other companies refrain from making you an offer at this stage. You don’t have to close down all the options, it is good to keep the 2nd and maybe 3rd deal live as back up until you receive the written offer. The companies that you know you would not work there, you should be professional and tell them “I appreciate your interest but I have decided not to proceed with XXX” . Now if you run into the manager of XXX a couple years down the road at a great new start up, he won’t remember you as the guy that turned him down, but rather as someone he wanted but it didn’t work out.

In summary:

multiple companies interested in hiring you. Good.        Turning down a lot of offers.     Bad

BTW: some companies make offers anyway. As long as you have asked them not to proceed to offer stage, you are off the hook. Why they do it, I don’t know, since it doesn’t work.

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