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Handling Offers - Expert Advice from a VWA Recruitment Consultant

06 Mar 2024 |

By Samantha Daniels

Handling Offers

Picture the scene.

You’re waiting at the train station, deciding which train to take in order to continue your journey. You find yourself confronted with several options:

  • Train A looks sleek and exciting, is brightly coloured and looks comfortable. But the destination on the front of the train keeps changing, and you’ve heard rumours that the driver isn’t actually a qualified train driver.
  • Train B looks a little rickety, clearly has no air conditioning, and is very small. But its destination is very clear, and will take you to some very exciting places on the way there while being looked after by a very friendly train crew.
  • Train C isn’t actually there, but you’re told it’s going to be much better than all other trains in the station, you should just wait a little longer.
  • Or, perhaps there is only one train - Train D – in the station. Rather than waiting to see what other trains are available, someone is telling you to immediately board this train, and that it is your only option.

Which option should you take?

If this situation sounds familiar, you may have found yourself trying to choose between multiple offers during your job search.

Offer A is that exciting offer from a flashy organisation that gives you a big salary uplift, sparkly benefits (not just free fruit!), and a gorgeous office in the middle of London with views over the river. But – you’re not convinced by the career progression the company may be able to offer you, and upon investigating the company on Glassdoor, the leadership team doesn’t seem to have a clear vision for where the company is going, and the culture is not cohesive.

Offer B is that offer from a company that perhaps doesn’t immediately excite you as much as the first one, but that has enough pros to pique your interest. Perhaps the career progression they can offer is completely limitless, the team is very friendly and ultimately offers better long-term prospects.

Offer C is the company that drags its feet after your 7th interview, tells you an offer is in the process of being drawn up, but it needs to go through several stages of approval in the New York head office first. You’re repeatedly told the offer is coming, and it’s going to be great, but days turn to weeks and you’re still waiting to hear back. The role is great, so is the company, but you just don’t know what the package is going to look like.

Offer D is something that people in the early years of their career in particular are likely to encounter – pressure to immediately accept the first offer they receive, regardless of whether they preferred another role.

So, what’s the right answer? Which option should you choose?

Handling Offers

Manage Expectations and Timeframes

You do not have to accept an offer on the spot.

You are always, always, allowed to take time to think about an offer. The most common is to think about it overnight – to talk about it with your family / partner, to think of the pros and cons, and ensure you aren’t rushing into a decision.

Sometimes you may need a little longer to process this, particularly if you have more than one potential offer on the table, however be aware that some businesses impose a 24/48 hour window for an answer. If this is the case, be honest and open with your recruiter or point of contact – manage their expectations, explain your reasons for the delay and provide a timeline of your own.

Once you do know your decision – immediately or otherwise – tell your contact person as soon as possible. From the company’s perspective, the quicker the better, as it shows enthusiasm and allows them to begin the onboarding process – and if it’s a no, it allows them to go back to the drawing board as soon as possible too. What’s important is knowing you are making the decision that is right for you.

Know Your Options

Have an offer on the table from your second choice, but you’re still waiting to hear from your first choice?

You don’t have to settle for the second option if it isn’t what you want. You have options – to manage the expectations of the second choice by informing them of your other process which you want to see through, while informing the first choice of your other offer and asking for an update. If the first choice is excited about you, they may be able to speed up their process and make a decision on an offer as soon as possible. If they are going with another candidate, they may provide feedback sooner so as to not leaving you ‘hanging on’!

If the second option still isn’t exciting to you after your first is no longer an option, you can reject it and go back to the drawing board, especially if you are in other stages already – or, you can choose to accept it if there are still enough elements in the role to excite you.

But the important thing to remember is – you have options!

Salary and Package

Perhaps one of the most decisive factors in deciding between offers is looking at the salary offered, however it’s important to look at the total package offered and assess what this would look like in your day to day life, and which factors are particularly important to you. For some, this might mean private healthcare that offers cover for partners and families, for others it might be a gym subsidy, and for others it may be enhanced parental leave. Work out what your non negotiables are, what your bottom line is, and which areas you are willing to forgo / negotiate.

Salary is also an area which can, with certain businesses, be an area of negotiation when handling multiple offers. For example, if the aspects of one offer are better in every single area, but is coming in at £3K less than another offer, it is possible that the offer can be brought up to seal the deal. Navigate this with caution, however, and be wary of unrealistic expectations.

Future Progression

Something else to ask yourself when coming across one or multiple offers – is this your next job, or is this the next step in a career?

For some, a ‘sideways step’ can allow you to build experience in particular area or industry that you ultimately want to build a career in, or to leave a culture or business that is not the right fit. For others, it is a ‘step up’ that they are seeking – a new challenge, perhaps in a role with greater responsibility and scope. Assess what your priorities are at this step of your career, and which option(s) are the best for you to achieve this.

This is something that you can build an impression of at interview stages – asking about the potential routes for progression and using LinkedIn to look at employees’ career pathways within the company.

Be aware, however, that some companies will be wary of candidates who seek immediate progression especially if there are limited options for this within the company. This can be particularly common in small companies who seek candidates with Reception / FOH experience, as many of these candidates ultimately want to become EAs.

Your Impression of the Organisation

The impression the company has left you with during the interview process can often give you a good idea about what their culture is like. Have they been open and communicative throughout – coming back with feedback and arranging next steps quickly? Have you been able to meet multiple key people as part of the interview process, and been able to ask all the questions that you had?

Build as clear a picture as you possibly can during the whole interview process to see if the team and culture feels right, and is a fit for you!

Go Through the Right Recruitment Consultancy

Remember that the right recruitment consultancy can help you navigate all of the above, by managing client expectations, negotiating on your behalf and providing updates every step of the way! VWA are a team of collaborative recruitment experts who can provide support and guidance throughout your search. Why not get in touch today?

If you have any questions about our services or anything covered in this article, or would like to make an enquiry, please reach out to recruit@vwa.com.

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