How to Tell a Potential Employer You Have Another Job Offer

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on email

Searching for a job is a delicate process. So what should you do if you have two job offers at the same time?

Madelyn Mackie, CCMC, NCOPE

Madelyn Mackie

Certified Career Management Coach | Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert

It all depends on where you are in the interview process.

If you have just made it to the screening stage with the recruiter and have not met with the hiring manager, there is a good chance that you will not be able to “rush” the organization to a hiring decision. It is simply too early in the hiring process.

If that is the case, a simple email to the recruiter stating the following:

I know that it is early in your process, but I wanted to let you know that I have received another job offer and must make a decision soon. If you feel the organization is still interested in my application, please let me know as soon as possible and we can discuss how best to move forward.

If you have met with the hiring manager and feel good about the role and your candidacy, and you prefer one company over the other, the reach out to the hiring manager immediately. I recommend using this template:

Dear John,

As you know, I am currently in an active job search. and have been interviewing with several organizations, including yours.

Yesterday, I have received an offer for a position, but have not responded, as I wanted to speak with you first. Your company is my #1 choice and I am excited about {insert something about the role that interests you and how you plan to use your skills to help them achieve success}.

I wanted to let you know the situation and see if you have any time to discuss the matter and your timeline for filling the current opening.

Brittany Salsman

Brittany Salsman

Founder & Owner, Life Lived by Design

A job search can be exhausting, so when you finally get an offer, it is a relief. You’ve likely interviewed with multiple companies throughout the search process, so it’s important to inform the other hiring managers of your offer.

How you go about informing them depends upon how interested you are in the opportunity they are offering.

If you are certain you are going to accept the offer you received and you would not accept an offer from any other potential employer, it’s time to gracefully bow out from future interviews. If there is another position for which you have interviewed that you are more interested in, you can leverage this offer with that employer. There are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate this negotiation:

Buy yourself some time.

When you receive an offer, express gratitude and request time to consider the offer – after all, you want to be sure you are making the best decision. Always ask for more time than you think you will need, so you have wiggle room if they are on a tighter schedule.

Related: The Best Time to Schedule a Job Interview

Get the hiring manager on the phone.

While your initial communication may be an email, the goal is to get the Hiring Manager at the other company on the phone. The purpose is to not only to have a stronger impact on your position but also to expedite the negotiation process rather than going back and forth via email.

Related: 25 Great Phone Interview Tips

Share only what is necessary.

You do not need to share the details of who offered you a position, what the position is, or any details of the compensation plan. You simply need to share that you have received another offer, but are more interested in their opportunity.

Get clarity from your potential employer.

Once you are on the phone, your main goal is to get as much information as possible about where they are in their selection process and potentially influence how quickly they move through it. Secondarily, you want to emphasize your high level of interest in their opportunity.

To get the conversation started, use this email template as a guide.

Hello [Hiring Manager],

As you know, I am very interested in the [job title] position you have available at [company name]. I am reaching out because I recently received an offer from another company; however, [company name] would be my first preference because [insert what you are excited about].

Are you free this afternoon or tomorrow to jump on the phone to discuss where you are in your hiring process so I may make a fully informed decision?

I look forward to hearing from you!

Best,

[Your Full Name]

Unless the Hiring Manager is willing to expedite their process or if they are close to an offer themselves, you will likely still have to make a tough decision. It will be a more informed decision though, which should give you confidence moving forward.

Martyn Bassett

Martyn Bassett

CEO & Founder, Martyn Bassett Associates

Be prompt, professional, and courteous.

Don’t try to play one organization off of another—simply raise the issue as a potential scheduling/timing issue. If the potential employer is really interested, they will do what they can to fast track your candidacy.

Here is a sample email that you can send:

I’m really excited to be under consideration for your role, and look forward to the final steps and ideally receiving an offer.

I wanted to let you know that I’m also interviewing with another organization(s) and have received an offer from them.

They are looking for a reply as soon as possible, so I wanted to know what your timing looks like, and what additional steps need to occur to get to the offer stage?

Matt Edstrom

Matt Edstrom

CMO, GoodLife Home Loans

Don’t make any moves without a written offer.

Before even bringing the second job offer up to a potential employer, one must be certain that the offer is official. It cannot be decreed official until the offer is presented to one in writing. A verbal offer can feel great, but should not be thought of as official because extenuating circumstances can always shift things in a moments notice.

In order to not shoot oneself in the foot by pre-maturely bringing up an offer as a means of leverage with the other company, waiting for the offer in writing is the best way to avoid that scenario.

Do not fret if there isn’t a written offer on the table yet because depending on the circumstances, one might be able to reach out to HR/Recruiting regarding the verbal offer and implore them to sit down with you to review the offer in writing including things such as benefits, pay, etc.

Honesty is respected.

Attempting to hide an offer from other potential employers is a common practice but can backfire and make prospective employees look dishonest. There is a very strong chance that either potential employer will ask about any other offers on the table. It is perfectly fine to be honest with them regarding your job hunting process and what you have in terms of potential offers.

So long as one expresses honestly and gratitude for the opportunity, it’s not likely that the employer’s decision will be swayed based off simply having other offers on the table.

This all depends on the urgency of the hiring company’s needs in terms of how quickly they are looking to bring someone else on the team, but asking for an extra day or two isn’t typically frowned upon if there are other legitimate offers to consider.

Gratitude goes a long way.

No matter what approach is taken to inform potential employers of other offers, expressing sincere gratitude, paired with a good interview will leave you in good graces with whoever interviewed you.

This is beneficial because if a candidate ultimately takes the “other” offer on the table, they could find themselves unhappy in the other role and be out hunting for a job sooner than they had anticipated. If the employer that was initially turned down by the applicant left on good terms with the team that interviewed them, then perhaps when another fitting role opens up, they will still consider them.

Courtesy can be an invaluable tool when it comes to not only applying for jobs, but also for networking in any professional setting.

Deborah Sweeney

Deborah Sweeney

CEO, MyCorporation

Don’t burn any bridges. Respond with a reason and show gratitude.

When job hunting, you may receive multiple offers from different employers. If you encounter this situation, then you’ll need to know how to professionally and respectfully reject a job offer.

The worst thing you can do is not respond, be dishonest, or compare them to the organization you’re actually going to work for.

If you want to avoid burning any bridges with the company write an email to the employer as soon as possible that let the company know that you are not wishing to proceed with them.

Next, say thank you and show gratitude for their time and interest in you. Finally, provide a reason, but leave out all the details.

This method of rejection doesn’t burn any bridges and keeps the opportunity for employment open in the future. You never know what’s in line for you and you may not be able to take the job right now, but you may reapply to the same company in the later on.

Gina Curtis, SHRM-CP, aPHR

Executive Recruiting Manager, JMJ Phillip Group | Executive Trainer & Coach, Employment BOOST

Be upfront and honest with your potential employer.

If you are in the final stages of the interview process with multiple companies, you may be placed in a situation where you receive another job offer while you are still interviewing at another company.

Express that you do have a pending job offer, but are still interested in the opportunity and inquire about the possibilities of an accelerated hiring process. Most companies would prefer to know your situation, instead of missing out or feeling like have been lied to.

Melissa McClung

Melissa McClung

Professional Career Advisor | Speaker | Owner, LBD Careers, LLC

Know what offer you would prefer to take, the one that is the better fit for you and the life you want to live.

I always recommend that my clients are the most transparent with their preferred employer but only when it’s reasonable to expect that an offer might be forthcoming. Email or phone the hiring manager and explain that you have another job offer and when you need to give them an answer.

Reiterate your interest in your preferred position but explain that you are considering the other offer as a backup. Then be very direct and ask “Is it possible you would be able to give me a favorable response to my application before I need to get back to the other hiring manager?” If they say no, or are uncertain, then I would accept the other position as long as it too is a good fit for you!

Related: What to Put for Desired Salary on a Job Application 

Joe Flanagan

Joe Flanagan

Lead Project Engineer | Hiring Manager, Tacuna Systems

Request for a little time to weigh options.

Since you are still a potential employee of company A, it means you are yet to officially accept their offer. If you are required to respond promptly to the offer but you receive another offer from company B, you can request for a little time to consider company A’s offer property. You can then use this time to review both offers and decided on which is best for you.

Communicate and provide an explanation in writing.

In the case where company B’s offer is better than company A’s, you should politely communicate in writing, explaining the new offer to them. This way, company A may either up their offer to match B’s or withdraw their offer. By doing this, you can end your relationship with company A on a cordial note.

Jessica Salter

Jessica Salter

HR Adviser & Talent Manager, Best Response Media

If you are in the lucky position to have a job offer and still attend other interviews, the last thing you want to do is make a potential employer feel that you are selling yourself to the highest bidder.

Research has shown that people want more from an employer than salary and benefits, so it’s worth asking about other important things such as career progression and flexible working opportunities.

You should really only attend another interview if you are genuinely torn between two job opportunities and don’t take it for granted that you will actually land the second job.

Be transparent with your situation.

Always try your best at an interview and make an excellent first impression- after all, you never know what the future has in store. It’s good to be completely transparent about your situation, so there are no nasty surprises further down the line. It would be advisable to wait until after the first interview to tell them about your job offer.

This will help them speed along the recruitment process if they are serious about bringing you on board. After all, you don’t want to keep your other offer waiting too long because this can also damage your relationship and jeopardize your job offer.

Emilia Mucha

Emilia Mucha

Career Expert, Resume Lab

When several employers throw job offers at your feet like rose petals, it’s everything but easy. Should you tell a potential employer you received a competing offer, or not really? And if you should, how to do that without dropping the ball?

You must tell the employer that you’ve gotten an offer from another company.

Why? First, it’ll automatically make you a more desirable candidate. Second, it’ll speed up the recruitment process dramatically, and third, you might get a juicier offer.

Here’s how to tell an employer you have another job offer via email:

“I’ve really enjoyed interviewing with XYZ but I’d like to be upfront with you. I just received a written offer from another company. That said, I’d welcome a chance to help XYZ boost its major KPIs, but my timeline is much shorter now. Do you think we could figure something out here?”

If you put it like that, employers will stick to your application like superglue.

Martin Luenendonk

Martin Luenendonk

Top Business Growth Expert | Co-Founder & CEO, Cleverism

Be honest with your potential employer.

Getting multiple job offers implies that you are a competent candidate, and multiple companies are interested in working with you. But when you get a job offer from another company, you first need to convince your employer about quitting the current job. It is sometimes not easy; you need to take some steps before getting another job.

Keep in mind that a verbal offer is not an official job offer. Make sure that the job offer should be in written form not only salary but also other benefits. Contact with the hiring manager or recruiter about the written proposal of the job.

Be honest and tell your employer that you have received another job offer that you’d like to consider.

Speak in clear and definitive language. Don’t put pressure and force him to get a resignation letter. Try to convince him in a relaxed and calm way and tell him about the benefits of the next job. Also, explain to him how you make your future better and secure by joining that job and how fruitful it would be for your career.

If you are a hardworking employee, then a company never leave you easily, they may be trying to convince you not to leave your current job and they might offer you more benefits or kind of some promotion. In this situation, a softer strategy may be better and you need to try to convince him that how their job offer is aligned to your skills and you could be the right candidate for that position.

If you successfully convince the employer than take some proper time to join your next job and give the report of your work which you are doing. Share some memories and experience with your employer and ensure him that you will be in contact with him in the future.

Reuben Yonatan

Reuben-Yonatan

Founder & CEO, GetVOIP

Call a potential employer directly.

Depending on how far you’ve gotten into the process, you should almost certainly call a potential employer directly.

If you haven’t yet had an interview, a simple email will suffice. However, if you have shaken someone’s hand, sat across them, and spoken with them at length about the company, the role, and your personal desires, you owe it to them to follow up directly. If a phone call makes you uneasy, you could also consider writing a letter – but, a simple email wouldn’t be enough in my book.

Your professional network is something to be respected and nurtured, not neglected when the next shiny object comes along.

Keep in mind that you may one day wish to work at this company again. Treat your recruiters as human beings who have invested time and energy into you by doing the same to them, and you’ll find that their door remains open to you in the future.

Ollie Smith

Ollie Smith

CEO, Energy Seek

As a potential hire, you would always ensure that your offers are in writing and clear. It is wise to remember that a verbal offer is not an official offer and only those in writing can be used to negotiate with another company.

You should carefully time when you will inform a company about other offers.

This should be carried out at the earliest possible opportunity with the potential hire being as honest and open about the other offers as possible, saving a potential employer time and enabling them to strengthen an existing offer.

I would strongly advise never accepting an offer you may back out of. You should extend the timeline instead. By accepting an offer and then withdrawing will cost the company valuable resources, and may earn you blacklisting from future opportunities.

Sacha Ferrandi

sacha-ferrandi

Founder and Principal, Texas Hard Money and Source Capital Funding

When searching for jobs and going to countless interviews, you may find yourself in a situation where you are offered multiple offers and have to decide which is the best fit for you. You know you want to accept the offer of one position, but now you’re left dealing with turning down one of the offers. Here’s how to respectfully turn down a job offer:

Start with a thank you.

Interviewing candidates is pretty time consuming for employers, from reading through resumes, conducting interviews and narrowing down the candidates. Chances are if they offered you the position, they spent a little more time evaluating you and your ability to be a potential employee.

Though you may feel bad turning down the position, it’s all a part of the process and the employer will understand. Give a brief statement thanking them for their time and their consideration.

It could sound something like, “I really appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to meet with me for an interview and considering me for this position.. I really enjoyed learning about the company and getting a better feel for this role.”

Give a reason why you’re not accepting the offer.

Out of respect for the employer, you want to give a brief reason for why you are turning down the offer. You don’t need to be super specific, but you should provide a respectful and brief statement letting them know you have decided to take on another role.

It could sound something like, “After much thought, I have decided that this position is not the best fit for me. I have made the decision to pursue a different role that I feel better suits my interests and offers me more opportunities.”

Related: How to Politely Decline a Job Interview (15 Great Tips and Sample Letters)

Closeout and wish them all the best.

Thank the employer again for their time and consideration in you. Wish them all the best in all their future endeavors. If they’re in the same industry as you and you felt a connection to them, ask to keep in touch. This can help you both build your professional network.

It can even be something simple such as, “It was a pleasure getting to know you and I hope to cross paths with you in the future. I wish you the best in all your future endeavors.”

Brian Ma

Brian Ma

Broker, Flushing Real Estate Group

Be honest, forthright, and professional.

If you are currently employed and is planning to leave for a better option from another company, my advice is, to be honest, forthright, and professional by scheduling a meeting to discuss with the business principals or your direct supervisor.

It is vitally important to tell no one you are leaving your job before you tell your supervisor. I cannot stress how many times as a supervisor I have heard beforehand of a person possibly departing our organization through the inter-office chatter before said person communicates the news personally themselves.

It is not only bad form to have communications about an imminent job departure circulating as mere gossip but it engenders an awkwardness to the ultimate communication that is unnecessary.

Bob Prather

Bob Prather

General Manager in the Accounting & Finance Division, Lucas Group

When a candidate accepts an offer, I believe that they should enter into that business relationship with the full intent of giving their all.

If you aren’t able to give 100% to your new employer, you need to make them aware before you proceed. Your career and life are your responsibility and another offer is not likely to follow soon. So, if you aren’t able to give 100% because of “buyer’s remorse” for the second position, you should not go forward with it.

Deal with it up front.

If you are working through a search consultant/recruiter, they will likely ask numerous questions to make sure that you have thought about all the angles. However, at the end of the day, no one wants a new hire relationship to fall apart after they have spent the time, energy and money into getting that new hire up to speed. It is better to deal with it up front. This is where the recruiter can relay the information back to the client, however reluctantly, and work with them to find a new candidate.

Do not ‘ghost’ them.

If you are not working with a recruiter, then it is your responsibility to be upfront with the company’s hiring manager. Be honest and let them know that you appreciate the opportunity but are likely not able to give it your all, so you believe it is in everyone’s best interest for you to pursue the other opportunity. Yes, they will likely be disappointed but DO NOT ghost them. While this has become a more popular response for social media and texting in personal relationships, a true professional would never rely on such a tactic.

Honesty, professionalism and the ability to have a candid conversation are key in a situation like this.

Be aware that there is a pretty good chance that you have burned that bridge and going back to them later is almost certainly not an option. So, think long and hard about making this decision before you do it.

Kris Hughes

Kris Hughes

Senior Content Marketing Manager, ProjectManager

Provide the non-offering employer all of the details.

How you approach a potential employer depends on how you’re ranking the employers that you’re actively considering.

If the employer that has already provided you an offer is offering the job you want most, it’s as simple as telling the other interested employer you have an offer on the table that’s expiring in a certain amount of time, and providing the non-offering employer all of the details of the offer so they know what they’re up against, and what type of offer they will need to provide to be competitive.

Doing so will force that employer to either offer you to stay in the mix or back away if they cannot make an offer before the expiration time of the offer you already have on the table.

If the employer that has not offered you is the one for whom you want to work, it’s a little different. You still should let them know of the offer you have on the table, but with less detail.

It’s important to let them know the offer you have on the table is expiring, but not as important to provide exhaustive detail about the offer you have on the table. In fact, you want to hold that information close, as the company that has not offered you yet may feel overly pressured if you provide too much – especially given they’re who you want to work for, anyhow!