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hTownDude's avatar

How do you juggle job offers?

Asked by hTownDude (178points) November 20th, 2009

I am graduating from college in Texas and have applied for a lot of jobs in my field. I mean a LOT of a jobs. Some of them are at great companies that probably get a lot of qualified applicants, and some of them are sub-par companies that I have applied to as a “back up”. I feel bad because I sort of regret applying to these “back-up” companies because I find myself not very excited about the work that they do at all (this is for a creative position and their creative portfolios are somewhat crappy). But a job is a job, right?

My question is: In the (unlikely scenario) that I get a job offer from one of these “back-up” companies, I’ll probably want to wait to hear back from my first-choice companies before I make any final decisions. What do I do in this situation? Do I accept the job offer, and on the off-chance that I hear back from someone better, drop the back-up and take the better company? How do I tell them in the most professional manner possible that I might need more time?

I know it’s unrealistic to expect to be stressed about choosing between job offers in an economy like this, but I would like to be prepared for all situations so that I don’t end up blowing any chances.

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12 Answers

Kraigmo's avatar

I’ve always been honest and loyal to companies that hire me, and this has been a huge lifelong mistake.

If you get a better offer than the one who hired just hired you, be rude, quit, and move on to the next one.

Employees who get ahead in business are the ones who are selfish.

I’ve never had it in me to backstab someone who hired me just because a better offer came in a few days or weeks later. I’ve been wrong in this. When I look at people who are willing to backstab companies at the drop of a hat… they are the ones who get the better jobs and higher pay.

But as a preventative measure… only apply at the places that seem perfect, at first. Wait 3 weeks, then move to a lower expectation and apply at all the backup places.

theichibun's avatar

Wait a day or so for a better offer before you answer. If nothing comes then accept the backup job. When the better job comes around, leave the bad one for the good one.

Just tell them things aren’t working out.

mowens's avatar

Agreed. I got laid off when I was 22 and fresh out of college. I learned then that companies don’t care about you. Stay in it for yourself. I have had 3 jobs since then, and with each one I have gotten a significant raise. Sometimes they counteroffer, and I say, sorry… if you thought I was worth that, I shouldn’t of had to go for another job.

galileogirl's avatar

Don’t accept the back up position and then leave them in the lurch. If you are dealimg with people you may meet in the future, you will be remembered if you screw them over.

If you receive the back-up offer and you have a connection at prime co, call them up and feel them out, tell them about the other offer and your preference. If they are good guys the will say maybe yes or definiuly no

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve been in your situation – I applied to about 300 jobs within 3 months and received many offers but obviously not all of them were a really good fit…I gave the interviews a chance anyway, being very realistic and honest with them about my strengths…the thing is you might think you know what the job will be like but you may never know what it’ll actually be like and that you may actually like it…I always applied to a broad range of jobs, because I know a lot of things interest me and I’d be good at a lot of things and I wanted to go with my gut instincts…I wanted to hold out for a high paying job that would also be challenging…the day I accepted the job, 2 other organizations called me with offers and I loved their positions too but they offered less money…so in the end I went for a job I liked with the most money and it turned out to be so much more than the job description…and I love it.

food's avatar

I think asking for two weeks to think about it is reasonable, so you should be able to at least get two weeks. You can say that it’s an important decision and that you always like to take time to accept a job offer seriously. If you’re lucky, you’ll get another offer in that period of time and be able to choose at least between two options. I’ve done that once before.

JLeslie's avatar

Two weeks seems like a long time to think about a job offer. I have never heard of an employer be willing to do that, unless you are the only one that has been qualified while they search for someone to fill the job. I am thinking a week at the most, but maybe it varies by industry?

Have you actually interviewed with these better companies, and feel there is a good chance you will get an offer?

Keep in mind within a particular industry people move around a lot usually, so if you burn too many bridges you might one day find the manager from a “back-up” company in one of the companies you want to be a part of. Still, I agree with many above that if you have to quit within a month ot two of being hired because a great offer comes along, don’t sweat it, do what is right for you.

One bit of career advice…no matter where you start, once you work for 2 or 3 years you become more valuable and can really hone in on and pursue a particular position at a particular company without having to juggle.

food's avatar

The reason I asked for two weeks was precisely because I wanted to avoid accepting a job offer and then leaving them in the lurch. Oh and some universities even have policies that supposedly punish the student somehow for accepting a job offer and then rejecting it.
The person asking the question is in college, and often job offers are planned and the companies are waiting for months anyway to get the graduate, so there is a lot of time.
So I don’t think that two weeks is generally too much. Of course it depends on the particular situation.
I think you should try to avoid the juggling and rejecting job offers you had already accepted if you can. There’s a chance that if you do that once, you might keep on doing it and build an unstable resume experience that won’t be good for your next job search. Nonetheless, if you did all that was possible, and within your reach to not do something impulsive, then I do agree with everyone else that you should what’s best for you. Just make sure you did everything within your reach (finding out about the company, the job, the industry etc.) before accepting the job.
And yes there are companies that don’t even let you wait for two days before you accept the offer… that also happened to me once.

avvooooooo's avatar

Ask them for time to consider their offer. Unless they’re really ready for you to start, they should be willing to give you a few days at least. Tell them that you applied to several places and that you’re excited about the possibility of working for their company, but there is one that might be a little more ideal that you’re waiting on. All considered, I think less than a week is as long as you can expect them to wait on you before the offer is withdrawn.

Absolutely do not agree to start a job that you’re not intending to work.

Val123's avatar

I wish I had that problem.

EmpressPixie's avatar

My school absolutely has a policy that punishes us for accepting an offer and then going back on it. No “supposed” about it. If we do it, we can never use their career services again—when you think about all the access and networking that cuts off, it’s huge.

Beyond that, ask the company how long you have to make the decision. Your school may well have rules about this—we’re not supposed to accept anyone before a certain date and they know that. This is if you don’t know when you’ll hear from the other companies. Once you have the so-so offer, you should immediately be on the phone to contacts at the yay-hooray places to feel them out and inquire about your application. If necessary, tell them that you really want to work for them, but you have another offer and can’t afford to turn someone down in this economy. That will push them into a decision—tell them your timeline too. It might be a decision you don’t like (you should accept that offer) or one you think is great (we’ll take you!), but at least you’ll know either way.

If you do have a timeline for when you’ll hear back from the yay-hooray companies, ask for that amount of time. The worst they can say is no. Well, the worst they can do with withdraw the offer, but the likely negative thing is saying no. At which point you go back to plan A.

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