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How to Choose the Best Job Offer, Part II

Last week, I showed you how to decide among multiple job offers, comparing factors like paid time off, length of commute, advancement opportunities, etc. And now that you've figured out what would be the most attractive job for you, it's time to accept one and reject the other. Here's how to do both with class.

Accepting the offerAccept the winning offer first
Assuming negotiations with each employer are done, accept the winning offer before you reject the other. Why? In case the employer of your choice retracts their offer before you get a chance to formally accept it. You'll at least have a backup plan, even if it's your second choice. But if you're not pressed for time, you can say "to hell with" both offers and keep searching for the right one.

If the offer was extended to you by phone, call the employer to accept verbally. Then, send a formal email expressing your excitement about the position and outline the agreed start date, salary, and any other benefits you may have negotiated. Remember: The job is not 100% secure until you've signed and returned the company's written offer. That should be sent to you within a few days of your verbal acceptance. Don't reject anyone until that's in your hand.

Then, reject the losing offer
Turning down an offer can be a bit stressful. You might not be joining their team, but you don't want to burn any bridges in case something doesn't work out with your new job. Whether you reject the offer by phone, email, or snail mail, follow these basic rules:
 

  1. Thank them for their time.
  2. Continue by telling them that, unfortunately, you have accepted another position and will not be joining the company. You can elaborate on the reasons if you wish, but usually a short statement is all that's necessary.
  3. Express your interest in the company and let them know you'll keep them in mind if you find yourself looking for a new opportunity the future.

Though you might be tempted to reject the losing offer first (just to get the awkwardness over with), you must be patient and have a backup plan. You shouldn't drag your feet, but don’t make a hasty decision either. And always respect any timeline they have about getting an answer from you. If you need more time, there's no harm in asking. They'll either give it to you or stay strict to their timeline, in which case you'll just have to move faster on your decision-making.

Have any experiences to share about multiple job offers you've juggled? Post them here.

Related Links

How to Choose the Best Job Offer, Part I
How to Choose the Best Job Offer, Part III

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