How to Juggle Several Job Offers At Once
June 5, 2014 6:35 AM   Subscribe

After a long, long stretch of unemployment, I landed a temp job that somehow kicked my resume into high drive. Great news! However, the amount of interest I'm getting and the urgency with which everyone seems to need to hire is really overwhelming to me right now. I'm worried that I'll get swept along into accepting a position that may not be the best choice. Please help me figure this out!

For whatever reason, my resume is suddenly earning a lot of interest. I'm very grateful to have twelve job interviews this week, but I'm completely exhausted and my brain can't really process what's happening to me right now. I had four job interviews yesterday, and each interviewer stressed that the positions needed to be filled RIGHT AWAY. I'm starting to get phone calls for second interviews, and while I know twelve job interviews ≠ twelve job offers, I think that all of the meetings have gone reasonably well so far and I might see an offer for at least one position hit my inbox as soon as next week.

None of the positions are terrible; in fact, I found that I had a great rapport with the interviewers at every one. The positions are all functionally similar in that I'd be an Executive Assistant under a CEO/President/Director with a "strong personality." (It's really unbelievable how often that euphemism comes up.) However, the pay really differs between each job; some compensate up to $20K more than others.

Since I've been unemployed for so long, compensation is really my first concern. I have credit card debt and owe my boyfriend hundreds in rent money. But I also want a pleasant office environment with, for instance, windows. The job that seems like it will come along first is one of the lower-paying jobs in a rundown office with no windows and a weird background hum that could be a broken A/C or an old PC or a portal to another, more boring dimension or something. The recruiter with whom I'm working and the interviewers have all been pushing the interviews along very quickly, and if the President likes me at our interview tomorrow, I could conceivably get a job offer next week. Another position that pays decently is in a highly corporate private equity office that isn't necessarily a fit for my personality, and they're making a decision very, very soon. Both final interviewers may hate me and I may get no offers whatsoever from any of these interviews, but I really want to be prepared. I've never been in this position before and I'm worried I'll take the first job I'm offered. The recruiter is extra pushy, and I'd really like a script for how to push back and ask for time to make a decision.

I've been out of a job for so long that I know I'm lucky there's potential for multiple job offers here, but I have my heart set on one in particular that's high-paying, creative, and would have me involved in a lot of projects; unfortunately, the interview process for that one seems a bit slower than the rest. I'd be so bummed if I got a request for a second interview with that company after I accepted a job offer with one I didn't like as much. Again, I know I may not get job offers from anyone, so I know I'm jumping the gun a little bit. But I have a ton of experience writing "thank you for the rejection" letters and no experience in negotiating multiple job interviews and offers, so any advice that could prepare me ahead of time in the off chance that this happens for me would be so appreciated.
posted by pineappleheart to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If there's a ton of places looking to hire you, then you're in a buyer's market. Be picky. Bad jobs will come around again if you're desperate.
posted by empath at 6:41 AM on June 5, 2014

It's a balancing act, for sure. I wouldn't let anybody pressure you into taking an offer RIGHT AWAY. If they want to hire you, they'll wait a little bit, and if they just want a body in the office, then you probably don't want to work there.

What I would say is that you have to weigh the very real possibility that if you turn down an offer, another might not be forthcoming. That's fine, since you have 12(!!!) interviews, you seem to be a valuable commodity. However, don't hold out for the dream job if it means turning down everything else. You can, however, leverage offers to speed up the interview process. It doesn't always work, but sometimes hiring companies are impressed with the fact that you are being offered a job elsewhere.
posted by xingcat at 6:41 AM on June 5, 2014

Response by poster: Sorry to jump in, but I realized I also wanted to ask: What do I say to recruiters who will be pushing me to take the jobs? I'm working with three separate recruiters, and I feel like if I get an offer and choose not to take it, the recruiter attached to that job will be furious with me for negating their work on it or not being appreciative of it or something, and then will blacklist or not me in the future. I know these are crazy thoughts, but does anyone have experience with this anyway?
posted by pineappleheart at 6:48 AM on June 5, 2014

Best answer: The recruiter will not remember who you are 3 months from now.
posted by empath at 6:54 AM on June 5, 2014 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I've been in a similar position before, and this was close to the script that I used.

"I need X days to think about this because I want to make sure that this job is a good fit." Reiterate that you like them, the team, or whatever.

At the same time, if you get an offer from someone you don't want as much, then also call the company that you want to work with and tell them: "I really liked your team,company, think it would be a good fit. I want to be straight forward and say that I have a job offer on the table with x days to reply. If possible, I would like to know if a decision has been made or the timeline." This sometimes speeds it up in your favor.

Also, what you could consider doing is stating (for the job you are not as happy about) "I was hoping for more/the salary is low.Let me think about it." Stay silent. Tell them you need X days to think about it - but this often drives the price up.

IF you can get a few offers at the same time, this would be more ideal because you can use one offer vs another for compensation.

I have also walked away from jobs and it has worked out. But YMMV. Good luck.

On preview: Be careful with recruiters. Do not let them know about other offers yet (just I will need time to think about it). For recruiters who I did not take the job? We still left on a friendly rapport and if I thought they were good, referred friends. I *think* they know this. Perhaps emphasize you want to stay in contact for future jobs, and if it was a good experience with the recruiter, you would like to be refer others in the future.
posted by Wolfster at 6:57 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yes! Recruiters only care about putting an ass in a seat. Don't worry about pissing them off. Be super positive and polite and non-committal. "Yes I thought that was a great place and the interview went well. Let me get back to you on Wednesday about what I think about the position over all." Bla bla bla do it NOW!!! "Yes I understand the urgency and I'd like to close on a position soon too. I'll keep you posted."

Step back and take some breaths. Go out on Saturday and clear your mind with something else.

Make your decision with a bit of heart and head - pick a place that pays well and has a comfortable environment/people.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:00 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Everyone says that they need someone urgently, so discount that. Also, any job offer will come with hoops for you to jump through, pee test, background check, etc. So...yeah, urgent means many things to many people.

I wouldn't take a job in a shitty environment. I'm with you and that's actually a really GOOD reason to not take a position. A $20,000 difference in pay might make me change my mind, but in my experience, if the firm can't spring for a decent office, they're not going to pay very well either. Say to the recruiter, "While it was a good match for the most part, I wouldn't be a good fit in that environment."

When dealing with recruiters, simply say, "Actually, I'm weighing multiple offers right now, I'll get back to you once I've winnowed them down."

You don't owe recruiters anything. Certainly be polite, but if they got you to the finish line with one of their clients, trust me, they won't NOT talk to you because you turned down one, shitty offer. Someone hireable is ALWAYS going to be welcome to a recruiter.

Also, if you call them and press them for information about your job search, they'll respond back, "They're weighing a number of candidates, once they've got their short list, I'll be back in contact."

Recruiters aren't magic job fairies. They're great to know, if they're good. But if they only have shitty jobs, who needs 'em? Also, they don't expect you to jump at every and any job they may have for you. It's okay to say, "That sounds really interesting, but it's not my wheelhouse, I'll ask around though, if I have anyone, I'll send them to you."

Don't let your desperation cloud your judgement. You've got a job that's keeping you together for now, you have the luxury of spending a few weeks to decide which offer is the best.

posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:01 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]

The recruiter will not remember who you are 3 months from now.

More like 3 days. This is these peoples' whole jobs and they close and lose many placements every day.

Also, listen to the Bunny. She is wise in these things
posted by Aizkolari at 7:35 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

> The recruiter will not remember who you are 3 months from now.

FWIW, this is probably wrong. From my experience, recruitment agencies use specialised database software whereby each candidate has a profile. Every single interaction with the candidate, including job applications, updated CVs, emails and notes from interviews, phone conversations and meetings are (supposed to be) uploaded or typed in. Declining an offer is of course absolutely fine! But candidates who, for example, play agencies off against one another or generally behave like jerkfaces will have their files annotated accordingly. If a candidate behaves very rudely, lies or embarrasses the recruiter with the customer, their file will probably be flagged as 'Do Not Use'. I have seen such notes prevent people from securing an interview for an advertised role many years later.

But I wouldn't worry about it too much! Just don't be a jerkface and you'll be fine.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 1:03 PM on June 5, 2014

if I get an offer and choose not to take it, the recruiter attached to that job will be furious with me for negating their work on it or not being appreciative of it or something, and then will blacklist or not me in the future.

As long as you act professionally throughout the process then the recruiter will not be pissed about this. That isn't how recruiting works. If you are a giant asshole to them that would be different but a recruiter doesn't get an acceptance on every offer, if you say no they will just move onto the next one.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:52 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I were you, I would keep a notebook with details about each interview. Write down your impressions of the physical space, the names of the people you met and a sentence about each one to jog your memory later. Write it all down as soon as you finish the interview.

I remember when we were shopping for rental houses and saw a dozen in a week. When we finally chose one I walked into the master bedroom thinking this was the one with the great closets but it wasn't. I had gotten the details confused. There were other great things about that house but I always regretted those stupid closets.

Keeping a notebook would have helped me keep it all straight in my mind.
posted by CathyG at 3:05 PM on June 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

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