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The Dilemma of Two Job Offers – A Parable

Posted by John Nixon

A friend of mine recently entered the market for a new job. The good news is that he was gainfully employed. The bad news was that he had become dissatisfied with the direction that his company was headed. That new direction affected his lifestyle, finances, and offered a limited career path if he stayed with this organization.

So he jumped into the job market doing all the right things to set his search in motion.  He began by being in touch with close connections to discretely inform folks that he was in the market for a new position.  He researched job boards to get a feel for who was hiring and what types of positions were available.  Then he put some polish on his resume and began uploading it to job sites.

After a few weeks, he was contacted by three different organizations that were impressed with his skills and experience and who requested he come in for an interview. He began the interviewing process and did his due diligence by researching the companies that showed interest, as well as the individuals he interviewed with.

Before too long he was presented with strong offers from two extremely well-known leaders in the tech industry.

He was at a fork in the road. Two good offers, two growing companies, two opportunities for solid career growth. What to do? He called me and we talked through it.

“Tell me about the compensation,” I said.

He relayed that both offers included a minimum of 20% more in salary than he was currently making and other pieces of the compensation package were fairly equal to each other. So far, both good.

“Tell me about the position that you have been offered with each company,” I said.

He told me that the Company A had given him a very detailed description of his responsibilities along with solid information on other areas of the organization where he would be interfacing.

Company B had taken him through a rigorous interview process with multiple people over a full day. However at the end of the day he still did not have a clear picture of what his duties would be. He had asked many questions but the detailed parameters of the position were difficult to pin down.

So I asked him, “If compensation is the same, which opportunity will give you the motivation to get up and go to work every morning?”

The answer was simple and he knew it. His reluctance to walk away from Company B stemmed from not knowing the upside potential since he wasn’t sure of his day-to-day role. But the bottom line was he was frustrated with the lack of clarity and saw this as a red flag.

With his decision made he asked, ‘How do I tell the other company ‘thanks, but no thanks’?”  I suggested he take a position of gratitude and explain truthfully why he would not be accepting their offer.

Good words to use: “I want to thank you and all the impressive people that I met during my interview experience with your organization. Your offer is very compelling and I have considered it quite carefully. However, I have received another offer from a company where I feel I will be better suited at this point in my career. I want you to know that my choice was difficult but in the end I feel it is best for me and my family. It is with gratitude that I must respectfully decline your generous offer. I have no doubt that your organization will continue to flourish and I will watch your growth with great interest. Thank you again for your interest in me.”

This path allows for him to decline with grace and let the firm know that they are dealing with a professional. If for some reason the position with Company A does not work out, he can return to that fork in the road on good terms with Company B and request reconsideration.

The moral of this story? May you all be presented with the dilemma of two good offers in your job search and may you all respond with grace and professionalism.

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 02, 2018 1:00 pm

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