So, hiring managers know how to navigate competition for the best candidates, but what about the hirees? What’s to be done when you’re fortunate enough to be the rope in a multiple-company tug-of-war? First things first, pat yourself on the back – this situation is not an easy feat.
1. Don’t burn any future bridges. When a company offers you a position, it’s like the business version of “I love you.” They’ve exposed themselves, they’ve said they want you, they’re just waiting for you to say it back. Even though it might seem like the interview process, a brief professional courtship, isn’t enough to form a real attachment to this company, you owe them a prompt response. If you think you’ll be hearing back from another company in a day or two, tell this company you need more time. Anything less (not responding for a few days, for example) appears unprofessional. This industry is all about networking and you never know who might be a solid resource in the future.
2. Know what you want. If both jobs sound appealing, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Is there a commute (will you need to buy a transit pass – more $)? How long is the commute? It seems like secondary information, but the average American spends ten hours a week commuting. If travel time is something that will make you miserable, acknowledge that. As for the job, are you willing to sacrifice a more stable work environment for contract work on a big brand’s hot project, or would you rather give up a creatively stimulating position so that you have steady benefits? Know yourself, or be prepared to figure it out once it’s down to the wire.
Commuting times for the Boston area. Dark purple = 60 min. (source)
3. Don’t be afraid to leverage. You should be wary of how much information you divulge, but it can be beneficial to let a company know you either have another offer or you’re waiting to hear from another company so you can weigh your options. Be polite about it, and don’t let on that either company is your first choice. Chances are they’ll understand your need for more time. Desirable candidates are, well, desirable, and companies know it’s usually worth putting in the extra effort to nail down a new employee.
Good luck! I know you’ll make the right choice. Just play your cards right.