You’ve sent out your resume, you’ve landed several interviews and you’ve gotten an offer. Or two. Or three. Managing multiple job offers at once can be stressful. While it is an enviable position to be in, it also makes things complicated. Here are some tips for staying calm through the potentially nerve-racking decision-making process:

Get all the facts.  You’ll need full information on each offer in order to make an informed decision. Start by collecting all the relevant details (base compensation, bonus, hours requirements, benefits, etc.). Figure out what you value most – then look at each opportunity and compare your offers based on how well they align with these values.  Don’t forget the “little” things like commute, dress code, and any perks the firm or company may offer. This would be a great time to make a pros and cons list (or a table if you’re really fancy).

Express enthusiasm.  In receiving an attractive offer, the first thing to do is express excitement and appreciation without saying “yes.” Identify when the employer expects a final decision but resist the urge to accept on the spot, especially if you’re considering other offers.  Employers should not expect you to accept immediately, but they are expecting enthusiasm and likely some follow-up questions.

Manage the timing.  Waiting for another offer? This is a tricky situation! Remember that receiving the offer is only the beginning. Take the time while you are waiting for a potential second offer to review any materials that you have from the existing offer and to identify questions you have about the offer.  You can ask about benefits and ask to meet or speak with additional people.  If you are in a situation where you will need to request additional time to respond, be honest but positive. Word this ask appropriately so that it doesn’t communicate doubt or apprehension.

  • Should I mention the other position? Yes. Transparency is best. Tell the employer that you are in the process of interviewing with another company and that you would like to see this search to fruition. While this may seem risky, most employers view such a candidate favorably as they are clearly in high demand. If the employer denies your request for extra time, make your appreciation clear and resolve to get back to them by the original (or negotiated) response date.
  • Work on your second offer: If you’re tired of waiting for the second offer to come in, or are running out of time, don’t be afraid to approach that employer. Let them know that you’ve received another offer, and that you’d appreciate it if they could expedite their hiring process. Wording is key here! This situation is tough, but appropriate word choice goes a long way.

Decision time.  Once you’ve made your decision, act promptly and graciously (especially in declining an offer!).

  • Accepting the offer: Return your executed offer letter promptly! Express your appreciation and excitement. Submit materials for a background check or drug screening and be responsive to requests for additional information. Use this time of positivity and excitement to negotiate a start date that works for both you and the employer. Taking some time off so you can start fresh is a great idea.
  • Declining the offer: First, call your contact and let them know verbally. Thank them for their time and be prepared to give a reason for turning down the offer.  Try to not burn any bridges.  You never know what the future may bring – a declined offer could lead to a future client, or another job offer, down the road.

Being in the position to manage multiple offers is exciting and stressful.  Take a deep breath, enjoy being in demand, and remember to always be respectful and gracious.

Contact Denise Schwartz or Eynav Epstein at EpsteinSchwartz Legal Search to learn more, to discuss the legal market or to hear about current opportunities.

EpsteinSchwartz Legal Search is a Chicago-based boutique legal recruiting firm. EpsteinSchwartz does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation or any other protected characteristic. All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential.