How to manage multiple job, placement or internship offers

As career consultants we are often offering guidance on how to stay resilient during your job search. How to handle rejection and how to keep yourself motivated during what can seem like endless months of applications, tests and interviews.

However for some students, there is another challenge, and that is how to handle multiple job offers, how to remain professional when turning down an employer and how to ensure you are not burning any bridges for the future.

Here are our top tips for students in this position.

What do you want?

First things first, you need to decide which job offer you want to accept. You need to consider all the factors that led you to apply in the first place. Think about the role, location, time, salary and where the opportunity might lead, then match these things to your personal skills, circumstances and values.

Some students may want to make a list of pros and cons others will go with their gut feeling for an organisation. This is ultimately your choice, and whilst you may want to sound out other people for their opinions, this is about where you will be working and your career!

Don’t spend too long deciding

Put yourself in the position of the recruiter and other applicants. Whilst you need to make a considered decision, it’s not a good idea to keep the employer hanging on endlessly. When you receive the call or emails offering you the position – thank the employer and let them know when you will respond, provide a set time frame, 24 -48 hours maximum. You can say you need to discuss the offer with your family or academic institution.

How to say no

Within the time frame outlined call the employer or recruiter and politely decline any offers you don’t want to accept. Be professional and honest. There is no need to give too much detail. It is good practise to also decline the offer in writing.

Write to the person who has made you the offer, and as with all communication make sure you use exemplary language and punctuation. This is a formal letter and should be written as such.

An example of suitable text might be:

Thank you for your offer, and the opportunity to work or your company. It has been a very hard decision but I have decided to accept another position as I feel it a closer fit to my skills and career aspirations. I would like to thank you once again for your time and offering me the opportunity.

Can I use multiple job offers to leverage a better deal for myself.

Whilst this may be a tactic used by experienced hires, it is not something we would advocate for undergraduates or recent graduates. You have applied for a position for which the terms and conditions were outlined; the expectation would be that you have entered into the recruitment process knowing this. The sheer competitiveness of internship and graduate roles means negotiation is usually a fruitless task.

What if I have a job offer but I’m still waiting to hear from a company that I really want to work for?

This situation is really difficult. You should follow the advice given earlier on asking the employer offering you a role for time to consider the offer. Then it is worth contacting the other company to find out where they are with their recruitment process and when you can expect to hear from them. It may be worth mentioning that you have an offer in hand and that they are your preferred employer; however this may not speed up or influence the process.

Ultimately you will have to make a decision. You can’t leave the employer who has made the offer hanging on indefinitely nor can you pressure the prospective employer to make a decision any faster than they want to

Consider what you want from the placement or role and decide whether at this stage you can risk giving up the offer in hand.

Once you have decided, let all parties know, the employer whose offer you are rejecting or accepting and if applicable, the employer whose recruitment process you would like to withdraw from.

In Conclusion.

Whilst holding multiple offers is an envious position to be in, it is important that you communicate clearly and effectively throughout the process. You may wish to apply to an employer you reject now in the future or you may cross paths professionally with any of the individuals you have met during the recruitment process. The way in which you approach this process will dictate how you might be viewed in any future professional transactions.

Here at City Careers we would be happy to help you work through this scenario should it arise, book in to see a careers consultant.

Neela Nawathe

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